Consequences of more extreme precipitation regimes for terrestrial ecosystems

Alan K. Knapp, Claus Beier, David D. Briske, Aimée T. Classen, Luo Yiqi, Markus Reichstein, Melinda D. Smith, Stanley D. Smith, Jesse E. Bell, Philip A. Fay, Jana L. Heisler, Steven Leavitt, Rebecca Sherry, Benjamin Smith, Ensheng Weng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

597 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Amplification of the hydrological cycle as a consequence of global warming is forecast to lead to more extreme intra-annual precipitation regimes characterized by larger rainfall events and longer intervals between events. We present a conceptual framework, based on past investigations and ecological theory, for predicting the consequences of this underappreciated aspect of climate change. We consider a broad range of terrestrial ecosystems that vary in their overall water balance. More extreme rainfall regimes are expected to increase the duration and severity of soil water stress in mesic ecosystems as intervals between rainfall events increase. In contrast, xeric ecosystems may exhibit the opposite response to extreme events. Larger but less frequent rainfall events may result in proportional reductions in evaporative losses in xeric systems, and thus may lead to greater soil water availability. Hydric (wetland) ecosystems are predicted to experience reduced periods of anoxia in response to prolonged intervals between rainfall events. Understanding these contingent effects of ecosystem water balance is necessary for predicting how more extreme precipitation regimes will modify ecosystem processes and alter interactions with related global change drivers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)811-821
Number of pages11
JournalBioScience
Volume58
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2008

Fingerprint

Ecosystem
rain
ecosystems
water balance
Water
Soil
hydrologic cycle
plant available water
Global Warming
global change
Wetlands
Climate Change
global warming
hypoxia
Dehydration
wetlands
water stress
terrestrial ecosystems
soil water
climate change

Keywords

  • Climate change
  • Drought
  • Ecosystems
  • Precipitation
  • Soil water

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

Cite this

Knapp, A. K., Beier, C., Briske, D. D., Classen, A. T., Yiqi, L., Reichstein, M., ... Weng, E. (2008). Consequences of more extreme precipitation regimes for terrestrial ecosystems. BioScience, 58(9), 811-821. https://doi.org/10.1641/B580908

Consequences of more extreme precipitation regimes for terrestrial ecosystems. / Knapp, Alan K.; Beier, Claus; Briske, David D.; Classen, Aimée T.; Yiqi, Luo; Reichstein, Markus; Smith, Melinda D.; Smith, Stanley D.; Bell, Jesse E.; Fay, Philip A.; Heisler, Jana L.; Leavitt, Steven; Sherry, Rebecca; Smith, Benjamin; Weng, Ensheng.

In: BioScience, Vol. 58, No. 9, 10.2008, p. 811-821.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Knapp, AK, Beier, C, Briske, DD, Classen, AT, Yiqi, L, Reichstein, M, Smith, MD, Smith, SD, Bell, JE, Fay, PA, Heisler, JL, Leavitt, S, Sherry, R, Smith, B & Weng, E 2008, 'Consequences of more extreme precipitation regimes for terrestrial ecosystems', BioScience, vol. 58, no. 9, pp. 811-821. https://doi.org/10.1641/B580908
Knapp AK, Beier C, Briske DD, Classen AT, Yiqi L, Reichstein M et al. Consequences of more extreme precipitation regimes for terrestrial ecosystems. BioScience. 2008 Oct;58(9):811-821. https://doi.org/10.1641/B580908
Knapp, Alan K. ; Beier, Claus ; Briske, David D. ; Classen, Aimée T. ; Yiqi, Luo ; Reichstein, Markus ; Smith, Melinda D. ; Smith, Stanley D. ; Bell, Jesse E. ; Fay, Philip A. ; Heisler, Jana L. ; Leavitt, Steven ; Sherry, Rebecca ; Smith, Benjamin ; Weng, Ensheng. / Consequences of more extreme precipitation regimes for terrestrial ecosystems. In: BioScience. 2008 ; Vol. 58, No. 9. pp. 811-821.
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