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Soil plots in a reactivated wetland (summer 2008-09).
Conceptual model of climate driven presses and pulses in the MDV ecosystem. Influences of presses (grey line) are a linear function of duration and magnitude whereas pulses (events represented as variability in the black line) influence climate disproportionally to their duration. Pulses and presses can elicit non-linear responses from ecosystems depending upon initial conditions and nature (sign, magnitude, duration) of the changes. For example, in the MDVs a long-term cooling press limited meltwater generation and streamflow, decreasing productivity in lake and soil biota over a decadal time scale. In contrast, the warm windy summers of 2001-02 and 2008-09 enhanced hydrological connectivity, offsetting previous changes from a decade of cooling. Climate models predict that the role of pulses in driving the behavior of the MDV ecosystem will increase in the immediate future.