A stochastic model for water-vegetation systems and the effect of decreasing precipitation on semi-arid environments

  • Received: 16 June 2017 Accepted: 16 March 2018 Published: 01 October 2018
  • MSC : Primary: 92B05; Secondary: 60K30

  • Current climate change trends are affecting the magnitude and recurrence of extreme weather events. In particular, several semi-arid regions around the planet are confronting more intense and prolonged lack of precipitation, slowly transforming part of these regions into deserts in some cases. Although it is documented that a decreasing tendency in precipitation might induce earlier disappearance of vegetation, quantifying the relationship between decrease of precipitation and vegetation endurance remains a challenging task due to the inherent complexities involved in distinct scenarios. In this paper we present a model for precipitation-vegetation dynamics in semi-arid landscapes that can be used to explore numerically the impact of decreasing precipitation trends on appearance of desertification events. The model, a stochastic differential equation approximation derived from a Markov jump process, is used to generate extensive simulations that suggest a relationship between precipitation reduction and the desertification process, which might take several years in some instances.

    Citation: Shannon Dixon, Nancy Huntly, Priscilla E. Greenwood, Luis F. Gordillo. A stochastic model for water-vegetation systems and the effect of decreasing precipitation on semi-arid environments[J]. Mathematical Biosciences and Engineering, 2018, 15(5): 1155-1164. doi: 10.3934/mbe.2018052

    Related Papers:

  • Current climate change trends are affecting the magnitude and recurrence of extreme weather events. In particular, several semi-arid regions around the planet are confronting more intense and prolonged lack of precipitation, slowly transforming part of these regions into deserts in some cases. Although it is documented that a decreasing tendency in precipitation might induce earlier disappearance of vegetation, quantifying the relationship between decrease of precipitation and vegetation endurance remains a challenging task due to the inherent complexities involved in distinct scenarios. In this paper we present a model for precipitation-vegetation dynamics in semi-arid landscapes that can be used to explore numerically the impact of decreasing precipitation trends on appearance of desertification events. The model, a stochastic differential equation approximation derived from a Markov jump process, is used to generate extensive simulations that suggest a relationship between precipitation reduction and the desertification process, which might take several years in some instances.


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