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Sunday, 20 November 2016
The effects of future nationwide forest transition to discharge in the 21st century with regard to general circulation model climate change scenarios
Published Date August 2016, Vol.149:288–296,doi:10.1016/j.envres.2016.01.024
Goro Mouri a,,
Katsuhiro Nakano b
Ikutaro Tsuyama c
Nobuyuki Tanaka c
aEarth Observation Data Integration & Fusion Research Initiative (EDITORIA), The University of Tokyo, Be505, 4-6-1 Komaba, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 153-8505, Japan
bDepartment of Plant Ecology, Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute, Matsunosato 1, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8687, Japan
cHokkaido Research Centre, Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute, 7 Hitsujigaoka, Toyohira-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan
Received 26 February 2015. Revised 7 January 2016. Accepted 18 January 2016. Available online 3 February 2016.
Forest disturbance (or land-cover change) and climatic variability are commonly recognised as two major drivers interactively influencing hydrology in forested watersheds. Future climate changes and corresponding changes in forest type and distribution are expected to generate changes in rainfall runoff that pose a threat to river catchments. It is therefore important to understand how future climate changes will effect average rainfall distribution and temperature and what effect this will have upon forest types across Japan. Recent deforestation of the present-day coniferous forest and expected increases in evergreen forest are shown to influence runoff processes and, therefore, to influence future runoff conditions. We strongly recommend that variations in forest type be considered in future plans to ameliorate projected climate changes. This will help to improve water retention and storage capacities, enhance the flood protection function of forests, and improve human health. We qualitatively assessed future changes in runoff including the effects of variation in forest type across Japan. Four general circulation models (GCMs) were selected from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) ensemble to provide the driving fields: the Model for Interdisciplinary Research on Climate (MIROC), the Meteorological Research Institute Atmospheric General Circulation Model (MRI-GCM), the Hadley Centre Global Environment Model (HadGEM), and the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) climate model. The simulations consisted of an ensemble including multiple physics configurations and different reference concentration pathways (RCP2.6, 4.5, and 8.5), the results of which have produced monthly data sets for the whole of Japan. The impacts of future climate changes on forest type in Japan are based on the balance amongst changes in rainfall distribution, temperature and hydrological factors. Methods for assessing the impact of such changes include the Catchment Simulator modelling frameworks based on the Minimal Advanced Treatments of Surface Interaction and Runoff (MATSIRO) model, which was expanded to estimate discharge by incorporating the effects of forest-type transition across the whole of Japan. The results indicated that, by the 2090s, annual runoff will increase above present-day values. Increases in annual variation in runoff by the 2090s was predicted to be around 14.1% when using the MRI-GCM data and 44.4% when using the HadGEM data. Analysis by long-term projection showed the largest increases in runoff in the 2090s were related to the type of forest, such as evergreen. Increased runoff can have negative effects on both society and the environment, including increased flooding events, worsened water quality, habitat destruction and changes to the forest moisture-retaining function. Prediction of the impacts of future climate change on water generation is crucial for effective environmental planning and management.