Skip to Main Content
Changing forest water yields in response to climate warming: results from long-term experimental watershed sites across North AmericaAuthor(s): Irena F. Creed; Adam T. Spargo; Julia A. Jones; Jim M. Buttle; Mary B. Adams; Fred D. Beall; Eric G. Booth; John L. Campbell; Dave Clow; Kelly Elder; Mark B. Green; Nancy B. Grimm; Chelcy Miniat; Patricia Ramlal; Amartya Saha; Stephen Sebestyen; Dave Spittlehouse; Shannon Sterling; Mark W. Williams; Rita Winkler; Huaxia Yao
Source: Global Change Biology. 20(10): 3191-3208.
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Northern Research Station
View PDF (554.0 KB)
DescriptionClimate warming is projected to affect forest water yields but the effects are expected to vary.We investigated how forest type and age affect water yield resilience to climate warming. To answer this question, we examined the variability in historical water yields at long-term experimental catchments across Canada and the United States over 5-year cool and warm periods. Using the theoretical framework of the Budyko curve, we calculated the effects of climate warming on the annual partitioning of precipitation (P) into evapotranspiration (ET) and water yield. Deviation (d) was defined as a catchment's change in actual ET divided by P [AET/P; evaporative index (EI)] coincident with a shift from a cool to a warm period - a positive d indicates an upward shift in EI and smaller than expected water yields, and a negative d indicates a downward shift in EI and larger than expected water yields. Elasticity was defined as the ratio of interannual variation in potential ET divided by P (PET/P; dryness index) to interannual variation in the EI - high elasticity indicates low d despite large range in drying index (i.e., resilient water yields), low elasticity indicates high d despite small range in drying index (i.e., nonresilient water yields). Although the data needed to fully evaluate ecosystems based on these metrics are limited, wewere able to identify some characteristics of response among forest types. Alpine sites showed the greatest sensitivity to climate warming with any warming leading to increased water yields. Conifer forests included catchments with lowest elasticity and stable to larger water yields. Deciduous forests included catchments with intermediate elasticity and stable to smaller water yields. Mixed coniferous/deciduous forests included catchments with highest elasticity and stable water yields. Forest type appeared to influence the resilience of catchment water yields to climate warming, with conifer and deciduous catchments more susceptible to climate warming than the more diverse mixed forest catchments.
- Check the Northern Research Station web site to request a printed copy of this publication.
- Our on-line publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat.
- During the capture process some typographical errors may occur.
- Please contact Sharon Hobrla, email@example.com if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.
- We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
- This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
CitationCreed, Irena F.; Spargo, Adam T.; Jones, Julia A.; Buttle, Jim M.; Adams, Mary B.; Beall, Fred D.; Booth, Eric G.; Campbell, John L.; Clow, Dave; Elder, Kelly; Green, Mark B.; Grimm, Nancy B.; Miniat, Chelcy; Ramlal, Patricia; Saha, Amartya; Sebestyen, Stephen; Spittlehouse, Dave; Sterling, Shannon; Williams, Mark W.; Winkler, Rita; Yao, Huaxia. 2014. Changing forest water yields in response to climate warming: results from long-term experimental watershed sites across North America. Global Change Biology. 20(10): 3191-3208.
KeywordsBudyko curve, catchments, climate change, elasticity, evapotranspiration, forest, precipitation, resilience, water yield
- Long-term variability in the water budget and its controls in an oak-dominated temperate forest
- On the difference in the net ecosystem exchange of CO2 between deciduous and evergreen forests in the southeastern United States
- Drought and thinning have limited impacts on evapotranspiration in a managed pine plantation on the southeastern United States coastal plain
XML: View XML