Carbon Dioxide Physiological Forcing Dominates Projected Eastern Amazonian Drying

T. B. Richardson, P. M. Forster, T. Andrews, O. Boucher, G. Faluvegi, D. Fläschner, M. Kasoar, A. Kirkevåg, J. F. Lamarque, G. Myhre, D. Olivié, B. H. Samset, D. Shawki, D. Shindell, T. Takemura, A. Voulgarakis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Future projections of east Amazonian precipitation indicate drying, but they are uncertain and poorly understood. In this study we analyze the Amazonian precipitation response to individual atmospheric forcings using a number of global climate models. Black carbon is found to drive reduced precipitation over the Amazon due to temperature-driven circulation changes, but the magnitude is uncertain. CO2 drives reductions in precipitation concentrated in the east, mainly due to a robustly negative, but highly variable in magnitude, fast response. We find that the physiological effect of CO2 on plant stomata is the dominant driver of the fast response due to reduced latent heating and also contributes to the large model spread. Using a simple model, we show that CO2 physiological effects dominate future multimodel mean precipitation projections over the Amazon. However, in individual models temperature-driven changes can be large, but due to little agreement, they largely cancel out in the model mean.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2815-2825
Number of pages11
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number6
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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