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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2010

Potential climate change impacts on the probability of wind damage in a south Swedish forest

Blennow, Kristina; Andersson, Mikael; Bergh, Johan; Sallnäs, Ola; Olofsson, Erika

Abstract

We estimated how the possible changes in wind climate and state of the forest due to climate change may affect the probability of exceeding critical wind speeds expected to cause wind damage within a forest management unit located in Southern Sweden. The topography of the management unit was relatively gentle and the forests were dominated by Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.). We incorporated a model relating the site index (SI) to the site productivity into the forest projection model FTM. Using estimated changes in the net primary production (NPP) due to climate change and assuming a relative change in NPP equal to a relative change in the site productivity, we simulated possible future states of the forest under gradual adjustment of SI in response to climate change. We estimated changes in NPP by combining the boreal-adapted BIOMASS model with four regional climate change scenarios calculated using the RCAO model for the period 2071-2100 and two control period scenarios for the period 1961-1990. The modified WINDA model was used to calculate the probability of wind damage for individual forest stands in simulated future states of the forest. The climate change scenarios used represent non-extreme projections on a 100-year time scale in terms of global mean warming. A 15-40% increase in NPP was estimated to result from climate change until the period 2071-2100. Increasing sensitivity of the forest to wind was indicated when the management rules of today were applied. A greater proportion of the calculated change in probability of wind damage was due to changes in wind climate than to changes in the sensitivity of the forest to wind. While regional climate scenarios based on the HadAM3H general circulation model (GCM) indicated no change (SRES A2 emission scenario) or a slightly reduced (SRES B2 emission scenario) probability of wind damage, scenarios based on the ECHAM4/OPYC3 GCM indicated increased probability of wind damage. The assessment should, however, be reviewed as the simulation of forest growth under climate change as well as climate change scenarios are refined.

Published in

Climatic Change
2010, Volume: 99, number: 1-2, pages: 261-278
Publisher: SPRINGER