Plant available water limitation on plant growth

Aug 4, 2010 (Last modified Oct 27, 2010)
Dataset was used in a scientifically peer-reviewed publication
Recommended by Dominique Bachelet
This map is one of the layers used to recreate Figure 2 in Churkina and Running (1998) in Data Basin (file title: Climate controls on plant growth). Each pixel (0.5 degree x 0.5 degree) on the map represents a value derived from a specific function of the water balance coefficient (Figure 1 in Churkina and Running 1998).

Excerpt from Churkina and Running 1998:

To estimate the amount of available water [to plant growth], Churkina and Running calculated a water balance coefficient (WBC) as a difference between mean annual precipitation and potential evapotranspiration where potential evapotranspiration was a function of mean temperature and net solar radiation (Priestley and Taylor 1972). WBC computation was based on global means of annual precipitation, solar radiation, and temperature from the CLIMATE database.

This water balance computation has the advantage of being independent of any models and can be derived purely from climate data. To develop the relationship between NPP limitation and WBCs, Churkina and Running followed a logic similar to the one suggested by Stephenson (1990). Churkina and Running suggested that vegetation productivity of areas with extremely negative WBCs was limited by moisture availability, and this limitation declined as WBCs approached zero. Sites with positive WBCs were not moisture limited or were limited very slightly. The function describing the dependence of the degree of the water limitation on NPP clearly delineated sites with available water deficiencies versus excesses.
Data Provided By:
Galina Churkina and Steve W. Running (1998)
Content date:

Churkina G and Runnning SW, 1998, Contrasting environmental controls on the estimated productivity of different biomes, Ecosystems 1: 206-215

Larger Works:

Running SW, Hunt ERJ. 1993. Generalization of a forest ecosystem process model for other biomes, Biome-BGC, and an application for global-scale models. In: Ehleringer JR, Field CB, editors. Scaling physiological processes: leaf to globe. San Diego: Academic. p141–158.

Stephenson NL. 1990. Climatic control of vegetation distribution: the role of the water balance. Am Nat 135:649–70

Waring RH, Schlesinger WH. 1985. Forest ecosystems. London: Academic
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0.5 degree latitude and longitude
Contact Organization:
Numerical terradynamic simulation group, College of Forestry, University of Montana
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Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
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