Why is Drought Important?
Drought has had major impacts on tropical forests over the last two decades and is expected to occur more frequently and with greater intensity in the coming decades. Intense drought can affect carbon uptake and release, increase tree mortality and alter water and energy exchange with the atmosphere. However, current Earth system model representation of forest response to drought is underdeveloped and poorly tested pantropically.
Key aspects of drought impacts that are high priority for research include the mechanisms by which variation in local to regional soil hydrology affect plant hydraulics and forest water and carbon fluxes, and the influence of hydrology on tree stress and mortality. NGEE-Tropics is advancing understanding and models of forest response to drought across diverse tropical forests to improve projections of pantropical forest carbon balance.
NGEE-Tropics is advancing understanding and model representation of forest response to droughts across diverse tropical forests to improve projections of pantropical forest carbon balance.
In Phase 1 of NGEE-Tropics, we address DROUGHT by:
- Developing an advanced hydrodynamic version of the NGEE-Tropics ACME-FATES model that represents physical mechanisms of water limitation on forest gas exchange
- Developing pantropical datasets of plant hydraulic traits and testing the hydrodynamic NGEE-Tropics ACME-FATES model simulation of drought impacts on forest fluxes
- Developing pantropical model benchmarks and testing the NGEE-Tropics ACME-FATES model simulations of gas exchange, tree growth, and tree mortality in response to drought
- Developing a pantropical estimate of tree types and regions vulnerable to drought stress and mortality