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Biome-level vegetation response to future global change: implications for future flood risk

Video: Vegetation responses to climate change: Implications for future flood risk


Key Objectives Funding

Investigate how plant functional traits and leaf anatomy can be used to improve global climate models to predict future flood risk and to  reconstruct past climatic events.

Compile a global database of stomatal responses to a 40-60 ppm rise in [CO2] over the past circa 40 years.

Investigate how changes in  stomatal structural traits influence stomatal conductance.



SFI logo
Personnel Collaborators
Wuu Kuang Soh
Michelle Murray

Dr Tracy Lawson, University of Essex
Professor Bob Spicer, Open University
Dr Ian Wright, Macquarie University
Dr Rodrigo Caballero, Stockholm University

Predicting the likely impacts of future climate change is a major scientific and political challenge. Of particular importance is the ability to accurately forecast future changes in global runoff and flood risk in order to develop appropriate adaptation strategies.

This project will investigate whether future changes in plant physiology, driven by rising levels of carbon dioxide, will enhance global runoff and flooding risk. We will achieve this overarching objective by investigating if forest transpiration (water loss) has decreased over the past 20+ years of CO2 rise from 22 geographically widespread sites representing all nine of the world biomes/climate zones. Decreased transpiration leads to less water being recycled by vegetation, less held in soils, more runoffand greater flooding risk. Our global database of forest transpiration change will be incorporated into a next-generation global climate model to assess the impact of future vegetation responses on future runoff / flood risk.







UCD Plant Palaeoecology and Palaeobiology Group Updated: July 2013
Professor J.C. McElwain