EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Observed and simulated local climate responses to tropical deforestation

Callum Smith1, Jessica Baker1, Eddy Robertson2, Robin Chadwick2,3, Douglas Kelley4, Arthur Argles2, Caio Coelho5, Dayana Castilho5, Paulo Kubota5, Isabella Talamoni5, and Dominick Spracklen1
Callum Smith et al.
  • 1University of Leeds, ICAS, Earth and Environment, Leeds, United Kingdom of Great Britain – England, Scotland, Wales (
  • 2Met Office Hadley Centre, Exeter, UK
  • 3Global Systems Institute, Department of Mathematics, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK
  • 4UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Wallingford, UK
  • 5Centro de Previsão de Tempo e Estudos Climáticos (CPTEC), Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais (INPE), Cachoeira Paulista, Brazil

Tropical deforestation causes local and regional changes in climate through complex biophysical and biogeochemical processes. These processes must be accurately represented in Earth System models for reliable predictions of how future land-use change will impact climate. The impacts of tropical deforestation in the sixth Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP6) group of models have yet to be fully assessed and evaluated. Here, we use satellite observations to evaluate the local land-surface temperature and precipitation responses to tropical forest loss within CMIP6 simulations analysed at consistent spatial scales. Remote sensed observations show consistent local warming and drying responses to tropical forest loss across all analysed scales from 25 to 200 km. The multi-model mean broadly agrees with observations, although some models simulate increased rainfall and local cooling due to tropical deforestation, opposite to the observed response. We explore potential reasons for this discrepancy within the models. This work provides key insights for specific model improvement in relation to real-world observations. 

How to cite: Smith, C., Baker, J., Robertson, E., Chadwick, R., Kelley, D., Argles, A., Coelho, C., Castilho, D., Kubota, P., Talamoni, I., and Spracklen, D.: Observed and simulated local climate responses to tropical deforestation, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-5938,, 2023.