Ecosystem functioning is enveloped by hydrometeorological variability

Christoforos Pappas, Miguel D. Mahecha, David C. Frank, Flurin Babst, Demetris Koutsoyiannis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations

Abstract

Terrestrial ecosystem processes, and the associated vegetation carbon dynamics, respond differently to hydrometeorological variability across timescales, and so does our scientific understanding of the underlying mechanisms. Long-term variability of the terrestrial carbon cycle is not yet well constrained and the resulting climate-biosphere feedbacks are highly uncertain. Here we present a comprehensive overview of hydrometeorological and ecosystem variability from hourly to decadal timescales integrating multiple in situ and remote-sensing datasets characterizing extra-tropical forest sites. We find that ecosystem variability at all sites is confined within a hydrometeorological envelope across sites and timescales. Furthermore, ecosystem variability demonstrates long-term persistence, highlighting ecological memory and slow ecosystem recovery rates after disturbances. However, simulation results with state-of-the-art process-based models do not reflect this long-term persistent behaviour in ecosystem functioning. Accordingly, we develop a cross-time-scale stochastic framework that captures hydrometeorological and ecosystem variability. Our analysis offers a perspective for terrestrial ecosystem modelling and paves the way for new model-data integration opportunities in Earth system sciences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1263-1270
Number of pages8
JournalNature Ecology and Evolution
Volume1
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology

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