Articles | Volume 7, issue 2
Earth Syst. Dynam., 7, 525–533, 2016
Earth Syst. Dynam., 7, 525–533, 2016

Research article 28 Jun 2016

Research article | 28 Jun 2016

Spatial and temporal variations in plant water-use efficiency inferred from tree-ring, eddy covariance and atmospheric observations

Stefan C. Dekker et al.

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Cited articles

Ainsworth, E. A. and Rogers, A.: The response of photosynthesis and stomatal conductance to rising [CO2]: mechanisms and environmental interactions, Plant Cell Environ., 30, 258–270, 2007.
Baldocchi, D. D.: Breathing of the terrestrial biosphere: lessons learned from a global network of carbon dioxide flux measurement systems, Aust. J. Bot., 56, 1–26, 2008.
Berry, J., Beerling, D. J., and Franks, P. J.: Stomata: key players in the earth system, past and present, Curr. Opin. Plant Biol., 13, 233–240, 2010.
Betts, R. A., Boucher, O., Collins, M., Cox, P. M., Falloon, P. D., Gedney, N., Hemming, D. L., Huntingford, C., Jones, C. D., Sexton, D. M. H., and Webb, M. J.: Projected increase in continental runoff due to plant responses to increasing carbon dioxide, Nature, 448, 1037-U5, 2007.
de Boer, H. J., Lammertsma, E. I., Wagner-Cremer, F., Dilcher, D. L., Wassen, M. J., and Dekker, S. C.: Climate forcing due to optimization of maximal leaf conductance in subtropical vegetation under rising CO2, P. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 108, 4041–4046, 2011.
Short summary
Our analysis allows us to infer maps of changing plant water-use efficiency (WUE) for 1901–2010, using atmospheric observations of temperature, humidity and CO2. Our estimated increase in global WUE is consistent with the tree-ring and eddy covariance data, but much larger than the historical WUE increases simulated by Earth System Models (ESMs). We therefore conclude that the effects of increasing CO2 on plant WUE are significantly underestimated in the latest climate projections.
Final-revised paper