ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202305.1928.v1
Subject: Environmental And Earth Sciences, Environmental Science Keywords: Deforestation; Land-use change; Surface albedo; Diurnal thermal range; Temperate region; México.
Online: 26 May 2023 (11:04:10 CEST)
Deforestation is an important environmental problem in México and a key promoter of regional climate change through modifying the surface albedo. The objective of this research was to characterize the impact of deforestation and land use changes on surface albedo (α) and climate patterns in the Municipality of Tapalpa, Jalisco, México between the years 2014 and 2021. The main land cover types are coniferous forests (CF), oak and gallery woodlands (OGW), and annual agriculture (AA); which represent more than 88% of the regional territory (1066.03 km2). We used 2014 and 2021 Landsat 8 OLI images with topographic and atmospheric correction, in order to develop an inventory of albedo values for each land cover type in both time scenarios. Albedo images were generated by using the equation proposed by Liang in 2001, which is based on the reflectance of the bands 2, 3, 4, 5, and 7. Differences in albedo values were calculated between the years 2014 and 2021, and those differences were correlated with variations in climate parameters, for which we used climate data derived from the WRF model. In addition, the different land use changes found were classified in terms of triggers for increasing or decreasing surface albedo. Results showed that between 2014 and 2021, at least 38 events of land use change or deforestation occurred, with albedo increments between 1 and 11%, which triggered an average increment of 0.57% of the regional surface albedo in comparison to 2014 scenario. From 2014 to 2021, the albedo for CF, OGW, and AA, increased significantly (p<0.001; Mann-Whitney U Test) by 79, 12, and 9%, respectively. In addition, the regional albedo increment was found to be significant and negatively correlated (p<0.01 Spearman’s coefficient) with relative humidity (RH), maximum temperature (Tmax), minimum temperature (Tmin), and diurnal thermal range (DTR). The decrease in the regional values of relative humidity in 2021, occurred even when in that year the annual precipitation levels were higher than those of 2014, hence, reinforcing the fact of a possible climatic effect of the regional albedo changes. Conversion of CF and OGW into AA, perennial agriculture (PA), or grassland (GR) always yielded an albedo increment, whilst the conversion of AA to irrigation agriculture or PA triggered a decrease in albedo, and finally, the pass from GR or AA to protected agriculture caused albedo increase or decrease, depending on the greenhouse covers materials. Reducing deforestation of CF and OGW, conversion of AA or GR into PA, and selecting adequate greenhouse covers could help to mitigate regional climate change.