Precipitation controls Sahel greening trend

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Abstract

The Sahel region has been identified as a "hot spot'' of global environmental change, but understanding of the roles of different climatic and anthropogenic forcing factors driving change in the region is incomplete. We show that a process-based ecosystem model driven by climatic and atmospheric CO2 data alone closely reproduces the satellite-observed greening trend of the Sahel vegetation and its interannual variability between 1982 and 1998. Changes in precipitation were identified as the primary driver of the aggregated simulated vegetation changes. According to the model, the increasing carbon uptake through vegetation was associated with an increasing relative carbon sink; but integrated over the whole period, the Sahel was predicted to be a net source of carbon.

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  • Physical Geography
Original languageEnglish
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume32
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 2005
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes