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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 972672, 20 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1100/2012/972672
Research Article

Climate Impacts of Deforestation/Land-Use Changes in Central South America in the PRECIS Regional Climate Model: Mean Precipitation and Temperature Response to Present and Future Deforestation Scenarios

1Equipo Interdisciplinario para el Estudio de Procesos Atmosféricos en el Cambio Global, PEPACG, Facultad de Ciencias Fisicomatemáticas e Ingeniería, Pontificia Universidad Católica Argentina, C1107AFF Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires, Argentina
2Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas, CONICET, C1033AAJ Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires, Argentina
3Servicio Meteorológico Nacional (SMN), C1002 Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires, Argentina

Received 12 October 2011; Accepted 29 December 2011

Academic Editor: Jimin Sun

Copyright © 2012 Pablo O. Canziani and Gerardo Carbajal Benitez. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Deforestation/land-use changes are major drivers of regional climate change in central South America, impacting upon Amazonia and Gran Chaco ecoregions. Most experimental and modeling studies have focused on the resulting perturbations within Amazonia. Using the Regional Climate Model PRECIS, driven by ERA-40 reanalysis and ECHAM4 Baseline model for the period 1961–2000 (40-year runs), potential effects of deforestation/land-use changes in these and other neighboring ecoregions are evaluated. Current 2002 and estimated 2030 land-use scenarios are used to assess PRECIS's response during 1960–2000. ERA-40 and ECHAM4 Baseline driven runs yield similar results. Precipitation changes for 2002 and 2030 land-use scenarios, while significant within deforested areas, do not result in significant regional changes. For temperature significant changes are found within deforested areas and beyond, with major temperature enhancements during winter and spring. Given the current climate, primary effects of deforestation/land-use changes remain mostly confined to the tropical latitudes of Gran Chaco, and Amazonia.