Sciusco, P., J. Chen, V. Giannico, M. Abraha, C. Lei, G. Shirkey, J. Yuan, and G. P. Robertson. 2022. Albedo-induced global warming impact at multiple temporal scales within an upper Midwest USA watershed. Land 11:283.
Land surface albedo is a significant regulator of climate. Changes in land use worldwide have greatly reshaped landscapes in the recent decades. Deforestation, agricultural development, and urban expansion alter land surface albedo, each with unique influences on shortwave radiative forcing and global warming impact (GWI). Here, we characterize the changes in landscape albedo-induced GWI (GWIΔα) at multiple temporal scales, with a special focus on the seasonal and monthly GWIΔα over a 19-year period for different land cover types in five ecoregions within a watershed in the upper Midwest USA. The results show that land cover changes from the original forest exhibited a net cooling effect, with contributions of annual GWIΔα varying by cover type and ecoregion. Seasonal and monthly variations of the GWIΔα showed unique trends over the 19-year period and contributed differently to the total GWIΔα. Cropland contributed most to cooling the local climate, with seasonal and monthly offsets of 18% and 83%, respectively, of the annual greenhouse gas emissions of maize fields in the same area. Urban areas exhibited both cooling and warming effects. Cropland and urban areas showed significantly different seasonal GWIΔα at some ecoregions. The landscape composition of the five ecoregions could cause different net landscape GWIΔα.
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