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Recent decline in the global land evapotranspiration trend due to limited moisture supply

Jung M., Reichstein M., Ciais P., Seneviratne S.I., Sheffield J., Goulden M.L., Cescatti A., Bonan G., Chen J., De Jeu R., Dolman A.J., Eugster W., Gerten D., Gianelle D., Gobron N., Heinke J., Kimball J., Law B., Montagnani L., Mu Q., Mueller B., Oleson K., Papale D., Richardson A.D., Roupsard O., Running S., Tomelleri E., Viovy N., Weber U., Williams C., Wood E., Zaehle S., Zhang K.. 2010. Nature, 461 (7318) : p. 951-954.

More than half of the solar energy absorbed by land surfaces is currently used to evaporate water1. Climate change is expected to intensify the hydrological cycle2 and to alter evapotranspiration,with implications for ecosystem services and feedback to regional and global climate. Evapotranspiration changes may already be under way, but direct observational constraints are lacking at the global scale. Until such evidence is available, changes in the water cycle on land-a key diagnostic criterion of the effects of climate change and variability-remain uncertain. Here we provide a data-driven estimate of global land evapotranspiration from 1982 to 2008, compiled using a global monitoring network3, meteorological and remotesensing observations, and a machine-learning algorithm4. In addition, we have assessed evapotranspiration variations over the same time period using an ensemble of process-based land-surfacemodels. Our results suggest that global annual evapotranspiration increased on average by 7.161.0millimetres per year per decade from1982 to 1997. After that, coincident with the lastmajor El Nin¿o event in 1998, the global evapotranspiration increase seems to have ceased until 2008. This change was driven primarily by moisture limitation in the SouthernHemisphere, particularlyAfrica andAustralia. In these regions, microwave satellite observations indicate that soilmoisture decreased from 1998 to 2008. Hence, increasing soil-moisture limitations on evapotranspiration largely explain the recent decline of the global land-evapotranspiration trend. Whether the changing behaviour of evapotranspiration is representative of natural climate variability or reflects a more permanent reorganization of the land water cycle is a key question for earth system science. (Résumé d'auteur)

Mots-clés : télédétection; satellite météorologique; précipitation; effet de serre; teneur en eau du sol; cycle hydrologique; climatologie; changement climatique; Évapotranspiration; afrique; australie; monde

Thématique : Météorologie et climatologie; Physiologie et biochimie végétales

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