Quantifying biophysical effects of land use on climate: moving beyond carbon capture by Gregory Duveiller (Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry)


June 26, 2023



Ocean room B002

The role of land use change on global climate has generally been linked to biogeochemistry, as terrestrial ecosystems are the most uncertain part of the global carbon budget. Land restoration and afforestation to sequester carbon has also received much attention recently as possible natural-based solutions to global warming. Yet, changing our use of the land has consequences beyond carbon. When we manage landscapes, be it by planting crops or cutting down forests, we are typically changing the properties of the land surface. We are often changing the type and density of leaves covering the surface, and by doing so, we are changing land-atmosphere interactions in terms of carbon, water and energy fluxes. Satellite Earth Observation (EO) reserves much potential to better understand these biophysical effects of land use change on climate. Here, I will present a series of data-driven studies that illustrate this point, including: (1) the effect of vegetation change on the energy balance and its implication for the variability of surface temperature during extremes; (2) the potential effect of forest cover to increase low-level cloud formation; and (3) the substantial local cooling effect that can be attained by using cover crops in winter, especially with highly reflective chlorophyll deficient mutants.