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      Effects of Climatic Factors and Ecosystem Responses on the Inter-Annual Variability of Evapotranspiration in a Coniferous Plantation in Subtropical China


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          Because evapotranspiration (ET) is the second largest component of the water cycle and a critical process in terrestrial ecosystems, understanding the inter-annual variability of ET is important in the context of global climate change. Eight years of continuous eddy covariance measurements (2003–2010) in a subtropical coniferous plantation were used to investigate the impacts of climatic factors and ecosystem responses on the inter-annual variability of ET. The mean and standard deviation of annual ET for 2003–2010 were 786.9 and 103.4 mm (with a coefficient of variation of 13.1%), respectively. The inter-annual variability of ET was largely created in three periods: March, May–June, and October, which are the transition periods between seasons. A set of look-up table approaches were used to separate the sources of inter-annual variability of ET. The annual ETs were calculated by assuming that (a) both the climate and ecosystem responses among years are variable (V cli-eco), (b) the climate is variable but the ecosystem responses are constant (V cli), and (c) the climate is constant but ecosystem responses are variable (V eco). The ETs that were calculated under the above assumptions suggested that the inter-annual variability of ET was dominated by ecosystem responses and that there was a negative interaction between the effects of climate and ecosystem responses. These results suggested that for long-term predictions of water and energy balance in global climate change projections, the ecosystem responses must be taken into account to better constrain the uncertainties associated with estimation.

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            Influence of Land-Surface Evapotranspiration on the Earth's Climate.

            Calculations with a numerical model of the atmosphere show that the global fields of rainfall, temperature, and motion strongly depend on the land- surface evapotranspiration. This confirms the long-held idea that the surface vegetation, which produces the evapotransporation, is an important factor in the earth's climate.
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              Water-use efficiency of forest ecosystems in eastern China and its relations to climatic variables.

              Carbon (C) and water cycles of terrestrial ecosystems are two coupled ecological processes controlled partly by stomatal behavior. Water-use efficiency (WUE) reflects the coupling relationship to some extent. At stand and ecosystem levels, the variability of WUE results from the trade-off between water loss and C gain in the process of plant photosynthetic C assimilation. Continuous observations of C, water, and energy fluxes were made at three selected forest sites of ChinaFLUX with eddy covariance systems from 2003 to 2005. WUE at different temporal scales were defined and calculated with different C and water flux components. Variations in WUE were found among three sites. Average annual WUE was 9.43 mg CO(2) g(-1) H(2)O at Changbaishan temperate broad-leaved Korean pine mixed forest, 9.27 mg CO(2) g(-1) H(2)O at Qianyanzhou subtropical coniferous plantation, and 6.90 mg CO(2) g(-1) H(2)O at Dinghushan subtropical evergreen broad-leaved forest. It was also found that temperate and subtropical forest ecosystems had different relationships between gross primary productivity (GPP) and evapotranspiration (ET). Variations in WUE indicated the difference in the coupling between C and water cycles. The asynchronous response of GPP and ET to climatic variables determined the coupling and decoupling between C and water cycles for the two regional forest ecosystems.

                Author and article information

                Role: Editor
                PLoS One
                PLoS ONE
                PLoS ONE
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, USA )
                22 January 2014
                : 9
                : 1
                : e85593
                [1 ]Qianyanzhou Ecological Station, Key Laboratory of Ecosystem Network Observation and Modeling, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
                [2 ]University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
                [3 ]State Key Laboratory of Hydraulics and Mountain River Engineering, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China
                [4 ]Department of Geography, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois, United States of America
                [5 ]Tianjin Key Laboratory of Water Resources and Environment, Tianjin Normal University, Tianjin, China
                Tennessee State University
                Author notes

                Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

                Conceived and designed the experiments: MJX XFW HMW. Performed the experiments: MJX HMW WJZ XQD YDW XLF YFL. Analyzed the data: MJX HMW XFW. Contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools: YFL XMS GRY. Wrote the paper: MJX HMW JS.


                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

                : 16 July 2013
                : 29 November 2013
                Page count
                Pages: 13
                This work was funded by the National Key Basic Research Special Foundation Project (2010CB833501), Major Program of National Natural Science Foundation of China (31290221), National Natural Science Foundation of China (31070559, 31210103920) and the National Key Basic Research Program of China (2012CB416903). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
                Research Article
                Ecosystem Functioning
                Global Change Ecology
                Terrestrial Ecology
                Plant Science
                Plant Ecology
                Plant-Environment Interactions
                Earth Sciences
                Atmospheric Science
                Climate Change



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