Skip to main content
ARS Home » Midwest Area » Ames, Iowa » National Laboratory for Agriculture and The Environment » Soil, Water & Air Resources Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #327695

Title: Grand challenges in understanding the interplay of climate and land changes

item LIU, SHUGUANG - Us Geological Society
item BOND-LAMBERTY, BEN - Global Change Research Institute
item BOYSEN, LENA - Potsdam Institute
item FORD, JAMES - McGill University - Canada
item FOX, ANDREW - Neon, Inc
item GALLO, KEVIN - National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
item Hatfield, Jerry
item HENEBRY, GEOFFREY - South Dakota State University
item LIU, ZHIHUA - South Dakota State University
item LOVELAND, THOMAS - Us Geological Survey (USGS)
item NORBY, RICHARD - Oak Ridge National Laboratory
item SOHL, TERRY - Us Geological Survey (USGS)
item STEINER, ALLISON - University Of Michigan
item HUNTINGTON, THOMAS - Us Geological Survey (USGS)
item YUAN, WENPING - Beijing Normal University
item ZHANG, ZHAO - Beijing Normal University
item ZHAO, SHUQING - Peking University

Submitted to: Earth Interactions
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/2/2016
Publication Date: 3/28/2017
Citation: Liu, S., Bond-Lamberty, B., Boysen, L.R., Ford, J.D., Fox, A., Gallo, K., Hatfield, J.L., Henebry, G.M., Liu, Z., Loveland, T.R., Norby, R.J., Sohl, T., Steiner, A., Huntington, T.G., Yuan, W., Zhang, Z., Zhao, S. 2017. Grand challenges in understanding the interplay of climate and land changes. Earth Interactions. 21(2):1-43. doi: 10.1175/EI-D-16-0012.1.

Interpretive Summary: Climate change occurs over both land and water surfaces relative to the changing atmosphere and the linkage between these surfaces governs the potential impact of a changing temperature and precipitation regime. We conducted a review of these interactions to determine where the knowledge gaps exist and to provide guidance for future understanding to develop improved adaptation strategies. The linkage between the land and the atmosphere governs the dynamics of plant and urban communities to cope with the changing climate. A critical component in this dynamic is the water cycle because it is the resource needed across all sectors of the ecosystem. The challenges we face are complex and interrelated and will require a multidisciplinary approach over extended periods of time and space to address these issues. This effort is directed toward scientists and policymakers to make them aware of these challenges.

Technical Abstract: Half of the Earth’s land surface has been altered by human activities, creating various consequences on the climate and weather systems at local to global scales, which in turn affects a myriad of land surface processes and our adaptation behaviors. After reviewing the status and major knowledge gaps regarding the interactions of land and atmospheric changes, we present eleven grand challenge areas for scientific research and adaptation communities in the coming decade: (1) collective and separate impacts of major land changes and the interactions with non-land-change factors such as atmospheric CO2 increase, (2) carbon and other biogeochemical cycles, (3) climatically relevant biospheric emissions such as aerosols, (4) water cycle, (5) agriculture, (6) urbanization, (7) gradual acclimation of plants, communities, and ecosystems to climate and environmental changes, (8) plant migration, (9) land use projections, (10) reduction of uncertainties in models and data, and finally (11) adaptation strategies. To deal with complex multi-facet interrelated perturbations and feedbacks between land and climate changes, we must create and maintain a close cross-disciplinary coordination between measurements and process representation in models. Along with major scientific research thrusts, adaptation assessments should be strengthened to identify, evaluate, and prioritize adaptation opportunities, identify barriers that need to be overcome, and examine how adaptation decision making processes work in specific contexts.