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Climate Sensitivity Controls Uncertainty in Future Terrestrial Carbon Sink

Schurgers, Guy LU ; Ahlström, Anders LU ; Arneth, Almut LU ; Pugh, Thomas A.M. and Smith, Benjamin LU (2018) In Geophysical Research Letters
Abstract

For the 21st century, carbon cycle models typically project an increase of terrestrial carbon with increasing atmospheric CO2 and a decrease with the accompanying climate change. However, these estimates are poorly constrained, primarily because they typically rely on a limited number of emission and climate scenarios. Here we explore a wide range of combinations of CO2 rise and climate change and assess their likelihood with the climate change responses obtained from climate models. Our results demonstrate that the terrestrial carbon uptake depends critically on the climate sensitivity of individual climate models, representing a large uncertainty of model estimates. In our simulations, the terrestrial biosphere... (More)

For the 21st century, carbon cycle models typically project an increase of terrestrial carbon with increasing atmospheric CO2 and a decrease with the accompanying climate change. However, these estimates are poorly constrained, primarily because they typically rely on a limited number of emission and climate scenarios. Here we explore a wide range of combinations of CO2 rise and climate change and assess their likelihood with the climate change responses obtained from climate models. Our results demonstrate that the terrestrial carbon uptake depends critically on the climate sensitivity of individual climate models, representing a large uncertainty of model estimates. In our simulations, the terrestrial biosphere is unlikely to become a strong source of carbon with any likely combination of CO2 and climate change in the absence of land use change, but the fraction of the emissions taken up by the terrestrial biosphere will decrease drastically with higher emissions.

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Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
epub
subject
keywords
Carbon cycle, Climate change, Climate sensitivity, Ecosystem modeling, Land carbon sink
in
Geophysical Research Letters
publisher
American Geophysical Union
external identifiers
  • scopus:85046629072
ISSN
0094-8276
DOI
10.1029/2018GL077528
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
7ed4ac39-7e92-4769-9a35-4225a315b51f
date added to LUP
2018-05-25 15:00:39
date last changed
2018-11-21 21:40:01
@article{7ed4ac39-7e92-4769-9a35-4225a315b51f,
  abstract     = {<p>For the 21st century, carbon cycle models typically project an increase of terrestrial carbon with increasing atmospheric CO<sub>2</sub> and a decrease with the accompanying climate change. However, these estimates are poorly constrained, primarily because they typically rely on a limited number of emission and climate scenarios. Here we explore a wide range of combinations of CO<sub>2</sub> rise and climate change and assess their likelihood with the climate change responses obtained from climate models. Our results demonstrate that the terrestrial carbon uptake depends critically on the climate sensitivity of individual climate models, representing a large uncertainty of model estimates. In our simulations, the terrestrial biosphere is unlikely to become a strong source of carbon with any likely combination of CO<sub>2</sub> and climate change in the absence of land use change, but the fraction of the emissions taken up by the terrestrial biosphere will decrease drastically with higher emissions.</p>},
  author       = {Schurgers, Guy and Ahlström, Anders and Arneth, Almut and Pugh, Thomas A.M. and Smith, Benjamin},
  issn         = {0094-8276},
  keyword      = {Carbon cycle,Climate change,Climate sensitivity,Ecosystem modeling,Land carbon sink},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {04},
  publisher    = {American Geophysical Union},
  series       = {Geophysical Research Letters},
  title        = {Climate Sensitivity Controls Uncertainty in Future Terrestrial Carbon Sink},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2018GL077528},
  year         = {2018},
}