Carbon Cycle Extremes in the 22nd and 23rd Century and Attribution to Climate Drivers

Friday, December 15, 2017 - 13:55
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Terrestrial ecosystems are affected by climate extremes such as droughts and heatwaves which have a potential to modify carbon budgets. Previous studies have found the impact of negative extremes in gross primary production (GPP) and net ecosystem production (NEP) to be diminishing towards the end of the 21st century relative to the overall increase in global carbon uptake. A few studies have estimated that the land use changes (e.g. from forest to croplands) would cause more cumulative carbon loss between 1850 and 2300 than due to climate change caused by anthropogenic forcing over the same interval. However, not many studies have looked at the impact of carbon cycle extremes beyond 21st century especially under with and without LULCC scenarios.

This study aims to analyze spatiotemporal extreme events in GPP and NEP using the model CESM1-BGC and understand the climate drivers they can be attributed to. Using the Community Earth System Model (CESM1-BGC), we investigated the impact of climate extremes on the terrestrial ecosystem using simulations forced by Representative Concentration Pathway 8.5 with and without land-use and land-cover change (LULCC). To capture non-linear feedbacks in the global carbon cycle, both these simulations were extended to the year 2300. It is important to understand the impacts of climate extremes on the carbon cycle for quantifying carbon-cycle climate feedback and estimating future atmospheric CO2 levels and temperature increases. The results of this study would help improve our understanding of carbon cycle extremes and inform future mitigation policy.

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