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Climate fluctuations are an environmental stress that must be factored into our designs for water resources, power, and other societal and environmental concerns. Under California's Mediterranean setting, winter and summer climate fluctuations both have important consequences. Winter climatic conditions determine the rates of water delivery to the state, and summer conditions determine most dem...
We compared the water balance among the earth's major terrestrial ecosystems. Potential evapotranspiration, actual evapotranspiration (AET) and deficit were derived for each month and year from 19-25-yr climate records at ninety-four sites around the world representing eleven biomes. For each variable, we determined mean annual values. Our focus, however, was to examine temporal variation in AET, which previously has been correlated with large-scale patterns of ecosystem structure and function. Standard deviation of annual AET, an absolute measure of interannual variability, was highest for grasslands and lowest for tundra and taiga. Coefficient of variation of annual AET, a relative measure of variability, was...