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Land Use Change over the Amazon Forest and Its Impact on the Local Climate

 One of the most important anthropogenic influences on climate is land use change (LUC). In particular, the Amazon (AMZ) basin is a highly vulnerable area to climate change due to substantial modifications of the hydroclimatology of the region expected as a result of LUC. However, both the magnitude of these changes and the physical process underlying this scenario are still uncertain. This work aims to analyze the simulated Amazon deforestation and its impacts on local mean climate. We used the Common Land Model (CLM) version 4.5 coupled with the Regional Climate Model (RegCM4) over the Coordinated Regional Climate Downscaling Experiment (CORDEX) South America domain. We performed one simulation with the RegCM4 default land cover map (CTRL) and one simulation under a scenario of deforestation (LUC), i.e., replacing broadleaf evergreen trees with C3 grass over the Amazon basin. Both simulations were driven by ERA Interim reanalysis from 1979 to 2009. The climate change signal due to AMZ deforestation was evaluated by comparing the climatology of CTRL with LUC. Concerning the temperature, the deforested areas are about ◦C warmer compared to the CTRL experiment, which contributes to decrease the surface pressure. Higher air temperature is associated with a decrease of the latent heat flux and an increase of the sensible heat flux over the deforested areas. AMZ deforestation induces a dipole pattern response in the precipitation over the region: a reduction over the west (about 7.9%) and an increase over the east (about 8.3%). Analyzing the water balance in the atmospheric column over the AMZ basin, the results show that under the deforestation scenario the land surface processes play an important role and drive the precipitation in the western AMZ; on the other hand, on the east side, the large scale circulation drives the precipitation change signal. Dipole patterns over scenarios of deforestation in the Amazon was also found by other authors, but the precipitation decrease on the west side was never fully explained. Using budget equations, this work highlights the physical processes that control the climate in the Amazon basin under a deforestation scenario.

LLOPART, MARTA; REBOITA, MICHELLE ; COPPOLA, ERIKA ; GIORGI, FILIPPO ; DA ROCHA, ROSMERI ; DE SOUZA, DIEGO . Land Use Change over the Amazon Forest and Its Impact on the Local Climate. Water, v. 10, p. 149, 2018.