Importance of carbon-nitrogen interactions and ozone on ecosystem hydrology during the 21st century
by Felzer, B.S., T.W. Cronin, J.M. Melillo, D.W. Kicklighter and C.A. Schlosser
Journal of Geophysical Research, 114: G01020, 2009
The effects of various aspects of global change (e.g., climate change, changes in the chemistry of the atmosphere, such as CO2 and O3, and land-use change) on the hydrologic cycle are becoming an important research area. For example, with respect to increases in atmospheric CO2, recent work supports the contention that there will be reduced evapotranspiration and therefore increased water availability in a CO2-rich world. Our new research on this topic suggests that various aspects of global change combine to affect hydrology in terrestrial ecosystems, and that it is particularly important to include carbon-nitrogen interactions in these studies. We have developed a new version of the Terrestrial Ecosystems Model (TEM) to examine the effects of carbon-nitrogen interactions on the water cycle. This new version includes explicit modeling of the stomatal exchange of CO2 and water, as well as a new approach to carbon and nitrogen allocation in plants. Using this new version of TEM, we have performed a range of site-level and regional experiments across the eastern United States. For example, using data from Harvard Forest, MA, a predominantly deciduous mixed forest, we ran two transient simulations from 1700 to 2100, with and without considering nitrogen limitations on plant productivity. In both of these simulations, we allowed CO2 to double by 2100, but maintained present-day climate. In these two experiments, we found that runoff increased through the 21st century in response to elevated atmospheric CO2. Without nitrogen limitation on plant productivity, the increase in runoff was 12%. However, with nitrogen limitation on plant productivity, the increase in runoff nearly doubled to 21%. This difference in runoff response was the result of a stronger transpiration reduction associated with a smaller increase in photosynthesis in the nitrogen limitation case. In this resentation we will discuss a set of site-level and regional experiments that explore the effects of carbon-nitrogen interactions on the water cycle in the context of different combinations of global changes including climate changes, changes in nitrogen deposition, and changes in tropospheric ozone. Since the carbon and water cycles are tightly coupled, future considerations of ecohydrology must take into account carbon-nitrogen interactions and other multiple stresses that strongly influence the carbon cycle.
© 2009 by the American Geophysical Union