Influence of bias-correction on simulated landcover changes

Vegetation responses to climate change will provide feedbacks that could amplify or moderate regional temperature and precipitation changes. However, systematic biases in the simulation of regional climate across general circulation models (GCMs) may lead to consistent misrepresentation of vegetation changes and associated ecological processes. This study uses Köppen classification driven by simulated climate with and without bias correction. Our results indicate that because climate biases lead to inaccuracies in land cover, corrected and uncorrected analyses result in distinct land cover changes in regions (the tropics and high-latitude Northern Hemisphere) that have strong climate feedbacks, even though the climate change is identical. While a more realistic biosphere may ameliorate some model biases, our results illustrate the potential for existing errors to influence feedbacks and suggest that, as models become more complex, nuanced understanding of bias propagation will be critical in assessing the uncertainty of projections and common downscaling techniques.


McAfee S.A., J.L. Russell, and R.S. Webb. 2012. Influence of bias-correction on simulated landcover changes. Geophysical Research Letters. 39(16): DOI: