New paper in Nature Geosciences on changes in atmospheric VPD

Together with Kerstin Treydte from WSL we published a tree ring / oxygen isotope study in Nature Geosciences early this year. The study reconstructs changes in the atmospheric vapor pressure deficit over the past 400 years in Europe. We report that VPD in Europe has been increasing since several decades and is currently higher than at any point in time during the last 400 years. This finding has important implications for understanding the fate of plants and in in particular forests in the context of climate change as VPD is a key driver of plant and ecosystem evapotransporatuon. At higher VPD, as reported in our paper, plants will transpire more water so that soils dry out faster, which increases the risk of drought stress experienced by the vegetation.