Global albedo change and radiative cooling from anthropogenic land cover change, 1700 to 2005 based on MODIS, land use harmonization, radiative kernels, and reanalysis
Widespread anthropogenic land cover change over the last five centuries has influenced the global climate system through both biogeochemical and biophysical processes. Models indicate that warming from carbon emissions associated with land cover conversion has been partially offset by cooling from elevated albedo, but considerable uncertainty remains partly because of uncertainty in model treatments of albedo. This study incorporates a new spatially and temporally explicit, land cover specific albedo product derived from Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer with a historical land use data set (Land Use Harmonization product) to provide more precise, observationally derived estimates of albedo impacts from anthropogenic land cover change with a complete range of data set specific uncertainty. The mean annual global albedo increase due to land cover change during 1700-2005 was estimated as 0.00106 ± 0.00008 (mean ± standard deviation), mainly driven by snow exposure due to land cover transitions from natural vegetation to agriculture. This translates to a top-of-atmosphere radiative cooling of -0.15 ± 0.1 W m-2 (mean ± standard deviation). Our estimate was in the middle of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fifth Assessment Report range of -0.05 to -0.25 W m-2 and incorporates variability in albedo within land cover classes. Key Points Large regional variations in albedo and radiative forcing due to land changeAnnual global albedo increase due to land change during 1700-2005 of 0.00106This translates to a top-of-atmosphere radiative cooling of -0.15 W m-2
Geophysical Research Letters
Ghimire, Bardan; Williams, Christopher A.; Masek, Jeffrey; Gao, Feng; Wang, Zhuosen; Schaaf, Crystal; and He, Tao, "Global albedo change and radiative cooling from anthropogenic land cover change, 1700 to 2005 based on MODIS, land use harmonization, radiative kernels, and reanalysis" (2014). Geography. 890.