Towards a green water planetary boundary
Green water - soil moisture, evaporation, and precipitation over land - is fundamental to safeguard Earth system functioning. Nonlinear green-water driven changes in climate, ecosystems, biogeochemistry, and hydrology are becoming increasingly evident and widespread.
Yet, considerations of continental to planetary scale green-water dynamics are yet to be assessed and incorporated in management and governance. Here, we propose a green water planetary boundary (PB) - as part of the planetary boundary framework that demarcates a global safe-operating space for humanity - for assessing green-water related changes that can affect the capacity of the Earth system to remain in Holocene-like conditions.
We consider green-water related processes associated with all scales: spatially distributed units, regions or biomes, and the Earth system as a whole. The proposed green water PB variable is selected through expert elicitation based on a set of transparent evaluation criteria that consider both scientific and governability aspects.
Finally, we clarify the appropriate use of a green water PB, outline remaining challenges, and propose a research agenda for future navigation and quantitative assessments of the biophysical Earth system scale boundaries of green water changes.&lt;/p&gt;
Research news | 2023-10-03
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