Publication Details

Category Text Publication
Reference Category Journals
DOI 10.1093/nsr/nwad049
Licence creative commons licence
Title (Primary) Global variations in critical drought thresholds that impact vegetation
Author Li, X.; Piao, S.; Huntingford, C.; Peñuelas, J.; Yang, H.; Xu, H.; Chen, A.; Friedlingstein, P.; Keenan, T.F.; Sitch, S.; Wang, X.; Zscheischler, J. ORCID logo ; Mahecha, M.D.
Source Titel National Science Review
Year 2023
Department CHS; RS
Volume 10
Issue 5
Page From nwad049
Language englisch
Topic T5 Future Landscapes
Data and Software links
Keywords drought threshold; inflection points; vegetation response; soil moisture; drought impacts
Abstract Identifying the thresholds of drought that, if crossed, suppress vegetation functioning is vital for accurate quantification of how land ecosystems respond to climate variability and change. We present a globally applicable framework to identify drought thresholds for vegetation responses to different levels of known soil-moisture deficits using four remotely sensed vegetation proxies spanning 2001–2018. The thresholds identified represent critical inflection points for changing vegetation responses from highly resistant to highly vulnerable in response to drought stress, and as a warning signal for substantial vegetation impacts. Drought thresholds varied geographically, with much lower percentiles of soil-moisture anomalies in vegetated areas covered by more forests, corresponding to a comparably stronger capacity to mitigate soil water deficit stress in forested ecosystems. Generally, those lower thresholds are detected in more humid climates. State-of-the-art land models, however, overestimated thresholds of soil moisture (i.e. overestimating drought impacts), especially in more humid areas with higher forest covers and arid areas with few forest covers. Based on climate model projections, we predict that the risk of vegetation damage will increase by the end of the twenty-first century in some hotspots like East Asia, Europe, Amazon, southern Australia and eastern and southern Africa. Our data-based results will inform projections on future drought impacts on terrestrial ecosystems and provide an effective tool for drought management.
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Li, X., Piao, S., Huntingford, C., Peñuelas, J., Yang, H., Xu, H., Chen, A., Friedlingstein, P., Keenan, T.F., Sitch, S., Wang, X., Zscheischler, J., Mahecha, M.D. (2023):
Global variations in critical drought thresholds that impact vegetation
Natl. Sci. Rev. 10 (5), nwad049 10.1093/nsr/nwad049