Stormy Weather

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Science  13 Dec 2002:
Vol. 298, Issue 5601, pp. 2087
DOI: 10.1126/science.298.5601.2087g

Global climate models have predicted a shift toward more extreme precipitation patterns. In an effort to understand how increased storm variability would affect a grassland ecosystem, Knapp et al. (p. 2202) performed a 4-year field study in which they experimentally manipulated the variability in growing season rainfall without altering total precipitation. More extreme storm patterns led to enhanced plant species diversity but increased water stress in the dominant plant forms and affected overall carbon cycling by reducing productivity and soil CO2 flux.

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