Discrepant responses between evapotranspiration- and transpiration-based ecosystem water use efficiency to interannual precipitation fluctuations
- Publication Type:
- Journal Article
- Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 2021, 303
- Issue Date:
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Climate change intensifies precipitation fluctuation and increases drought frequency around the globe. Water use efficiency (WUE) has proven to be a crucial metric to quantify the trade-off linking global carbon and water cycles in many aspects of terrestrial ecosystem function. Investigating the response of ecosystem WUE to multiannual precipitation fluctuations has major implications for our understanding of ecosystem carbon and water dynamics. However, the impacts of water availability variation on evapotranspiration- and transpiration-based ecosystem WUE and their mechanisms are poorly understood due to limited observations. We investigated ecosystem WUE in response to interannual precipitation fluctuations in order to reveal the regularity underlying WUE changes under different levels of water stress. We optimized the parameters of two remote sensing models (PT-JPL and PM) based on different biophysical processes using the differential-evolution Markov Chain (DE-MC) method. We investigated ecosystem WUEET (GPP/ET) and WUET (GPP/T) in response to interannual precipitation fluctuations at 73 sites. We found ecosystem WUET appears to decline during drought years and to increase in wet years contrasting with WUEET, which was mostly attributable to differing sensitivities of GPP, ET and T to multiannual precipitation fluctuations. The vegetation generally consumes more T to improve ecosystem GPP during dry years, meanwhile, no apparent change in WUEET during dry years because of the trade of between GPP/T and T/ET. The replenishment of soil moisture to ecosystem transpiration is higher than we thought during dry years. This was masked in analysis that considered the responses of GPP and T to annual precipitation changes separately, but was revealed by the changes in ecosystem WUET. This research advances our understanding of the consequences of water fluctuation on ecosystem carbon and water exchange.
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