Simulated and observed preindustrial to modern vegetation and climate changes

Michael Notaro*, Zhengyu Liu, Robert Gallimore, Stephen J. Vavrus, John E. Kutzbach, I. Colin Prentice, Robert L. Jacob

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Rising levels of carbon dioxide since the preindustrial era have likely contributed to an observed warming of the global surface, and observations show global greening and an expansion of boreal forests. This study reproduces observed climate and vegetation trends associated with rising CO2 using a fully coupled atmosphere-ocean-land surface GCM with dynamic vegetation and decomposes the effects into physiological and radiative components. The simulated warming trend, strongest at high latitudes, was dominated by the radiative effect, although the physiological effect of CO2 on vegetation (CO2 fertilization) contributed to significant wintertime warming over northern Europe and central and eastern Asia. The net global greening of the model was primarily due to the physiological effect of increasing CO2, while the radiative and physiological effects combined to produce a poleward expansion of the boreal forests. Observed and simulated trends in tree ring width are consistent with the enhancement of vegetation growth by the physiological effect of rising CO2.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3650-3671
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Climate
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2005
Externally publishedYes


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