Aridland: The response and resistance of global tropical drylands to increasing aridity

Increasing aridity caused by global climate change is likely to alter the structure and dynamics of ecosystems in general and drylands in particular. Being naturally limited in water and natural resources; and mainly located in developing countries, drylands are especially vulnerable to the potential adverse consequences of this ongoing aridification. Yet, knowledge about responses of drylands and various ecosystem variables to increasing aridity and ecosystem-climate sensitivity (i.e. vegetation resistance) are largely unknown.

AridLand will use a multi-scale and data-rich approach based on remote sensing data and technologies as well as observational data to generating such knowledge. Starting from a broad-scale perspective to characterize where and how different ecosystem variables change in relation to changes in aridity, will enable the mapping of hotspots of changes. Relevant variables include amongst others: vegetation cover, productivity, functioning, composition, biomass, precipitation, temperature, and soil quality – represented by a variety of remotely sensed data and products (e.g. Copernicus Global Land Service, VOD, CCI soil moisture and cloud). Diving deeper into the identified hotspots, AridLand will link specific vegetation characteristics in these areas to a potential vegetation resistance capacity to an increase in aridity and related disturbances.

Such new insights will be especially valuable to support climate adaptation and mitigation strategies as well as the implementation of sustainable land management for the benefit of securing future livelihood systems in drylands.

Research Fellow: Christin Abel

Host Institution: University of Copenhagen