Carbon residence time dominates uncertainty in terrestrial vegetation responses to future climate and atmospheric CO2
Rademacher, Tim T
Clark, Douglas B
Falloon, Pete D
Lomas, Mark R
Woodward, F Ian
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS)
MetadataShow full item record
Friend, A., Lucht, W., Rademacher, T. T., Keribin, R., Betts, R., Patricia, C., Ciais, P., et al. (2014). Carbon residence time dominates uncertainty in terrestrial vegetation responses to future climate and atmospheric CO2. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), 111 3280-3285. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1222477110
Future climate change and increasing atmospheric CO2 are expected to cause major changes in vegetation structure and function over large fractions of the global land surface. Seven global vegetation models are used to analyze possible responses to future climate simulated by a range of general circulation models run under all four representative concentration pathway scenarios of changing concentrations of greenhouse gases. All 110 simulations predict an increase in global vegetation carbon to 2100, but with substantial variation between vegetation models. For example, at 4 °C of global land surface warming (510–758 ppm of CO2), vegetation carbon increases by 52–477 Pg C (224 Pg C mean), mainly due to CO2 fertilization of photosynthesis. Simulations agree on large regional increases across much of the boreal forest, western Amazonia, central Africa, western China, and southeast Asia, with reductions across southwestern North America, central South America, southern Mediterranean areas, southwestern Africa, and southwestern Australia. Four vegetation models display discontinuities across 4 °C of warming, indicating global thresholds in the balance of positive and negative influences on productivity and biomass. In contrast to previous global vegetation model studies, we emphasize the importance of uncertainties in projected changes in carbon residence times. We find, when all seven models are considered for one representative concentration pathway × general circulation model combination, such uncertainties explain 30% more variation in modeled vegetation carbon change than responses of net primary productivity alone, increasing to 151% for non-HYBRID4 models. A change in research priorities away from production and toward structural dynamics and demographic processes is recommended.
Terrestrial ecosystems, Climate change, CO2, Residence time, NPP
The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7 2007-2013) under Grant 238366. R.B., R.K., R.D., A.W., and P.D.F. were supported by the Joint Department of Energy and Climate Change/Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Met Office Hadley Centre Climate Programme (GA01101). A.I. and K.N. were supported by the Environment Research and Technology Development Fund (S-10) of the Ministry of the Environment, Japan. We acknowledge the World Climate Research Programme’s Working Group on Coupled Modelling, which is responsible for the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP), and we thank the climate modeling groups responsible for the GFDL-ESM2M, HadGEM2-ES, IPSL-CM5A-LR, MIROC-ESM-CHEM, and NorESM1-M models for producing and making available their model output. For CMIP, the US Department of Energy’s Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison provides coordinating support and led development of software infrastructure in partnership with the Global Organization for Earth System Science Portals. This work has been conducted under the framework of the Inter-Sectoral Impact Model Intercomparison Project (ISI-MIP). The ISI-MIP Fast Track project was funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) with project funding Reference 01LS1201A.
European Commission (238366)
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1222477110
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/253509