Biological and Environmental Research - Earth and Environmental System Sciences
Earth and Environmental System Modeling

Exploring Land Use and Land Cover Change and Feedbacks in the Global Change Assessment Model

Tuesday, December 12, 2017 - 08:00
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Land Use and Land Cover Change (LULCC) is a major driver of global and regional environmental change. Projections of land use change are thus an essential component in Integrated Assessment Models (IAMs) to study feedbacks between transformation of energy systems and land productivity under the context of climate change. However, the spatial scale of IAMs, e.g., the Global Change Assessment Model (GCAM), is typically larger than the scale of terrestrial processes in the human-Earth system, LULCC downscaling therefore becomes a critical linkage among these multi-scale and multi-sector processes. Parametric uncertainties in LULCC downscaling algorithms, however, have been under explored, especially in the context of how such uncertainties could propagate to affect energy systems in a changing climate. In this study, we use a LULCC downscaling model, Demeter, to downscale GCAM-based future land use scenarios into fine spatial scales, and explore the sensitivity of downscaled land allocations to key parameters. Land productivity estimates (e.g., biomass production and crop yield) based on the downscaled LULCC scenarios are then fed to GCAM to evaluate how energy systems might change due to altered water and carbon cycle dynamics and their interactions with the human system, , which would in turn affect future land use projections. We demonstrate that uncertainties in LULCC downscaling can result in significant differences in simulated scenarios, indicating the importance of quantifying parametric uncertainties in LULCC downscaling models for integrated assessment studies.

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