How uncertainties in future climate change predictions translate into future terrestrial carbon fluxes

Année de publication



Global Change Biology 11 959 970 6


We forced a global terrestrial carbon cycle model by climate fields of 14 ocean and atmosphere general circulation models (OAGCMs) to simulate the response of terrestrial carbon pools and fluxes to climate change over the next century. These models participated in the second phase of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP2), where a 1% per year increase of atmospheric CO2 was prescribed. We obtain a reduction in net land uptake because of climate change ranging between 1.4 and 5.7 Gt C yr−1 at the time of atmospheric CO2 doubling. Such a reduction in terrestrial carbon sinks is largely dominated by the response of tropical ecosystems, where soil water stress occurs. The uncertainty in the simulated land carbon cycle response is the consequence of discrepancies in land temperature and precipitation changes simulated by the OAGCMs. We use a statistical approach to assess the coherence of the land carbon fluxes response to climate change. The biospheric carbon fluxes and pools changes have a coherent response in the tropics, in the Mediterranean region and in high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere. This is because of a good coherence of soil water content change in the first two regions and of temperature change in the high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere. Then we evaluate the carbon uptake uncertainties to the assumptions on plant productivity sensitivity to atmospheric CO2 and on decomposition rate sensitivity to temperature. We show that these uncertainties are on the same order of magnitude than the uncertainty because of climate change. Finally, we find that the OAGCMs having the largest climate sensitivities to CO2 are the ones with the largest soil drying in the tropics, and therefore with the largest reduction of carbon uptake.

Type de publication
  • journal
Type de document
  • article
Classification - Inist-CNRS
  • 1 - sciences appliquees, technologies et medecines
  • 2 - sciences biologiques et medicales
  • 3 - sciences biologiques fondamentales et appliquees. psychologie
Classification - Scopus
  • 1 - Physical Sciences
  • 2 - Environmental Science
  • 3 - General Environmental Science
  • 3 - Ecology
  • 3 - Environmental Chemistry
  • 3 - Global and Planetary Change
Classification - Science Metrix
  • 1 - natural sciences
  • 2 - biology
  • 3 - ecology
Classification - Clarivate Analytics (Subject Category)
  • 1 - science
  • 2 - environmental sciences
  • 2 - ecology
  • 2 - biodiversity conservation
Termes extraits

climate change; oagcm; ecosystem; dnep; global change biology; ukmo; ipsl; scenario; uxes; blackwell publishing; dnpp; cmip2; simulation; friedlingstein; fertclim; interexperiment; cccma; interannual; fert; berthelot; bmrc; tropics; general circulation model; internal variability; climate dynamics; global; variance; carbon uptake; land uptake; climate sensitivity; global biogeochemical cycles; fert simulations; carbon sensitivity; northern hemisphere; total interexperiment variance; surface temperature; model intercomparison project; soil carbon pools; model variance; soil moisture; different climate scenarios; soil respiration; temperature increase; climate scenarios; carbon model; carbon cycle models; climate change impact; latent heat; interannual variability; soil water content; echam3 gfdl giss; northern latitudes; carbon cycle model; decomposition rate; climate models; carbon quantities; common behavior; bmrc cccma ccsr cerfacs csiro; different scenarios; carbon storage; future climate change; climate model; terrestrial carbon uptake; primary productivity; land temperature; climate; variability; uptake; model errors; heterotrophic respiration; warmest model; thornthwaite formulation; time series; potential evapotranspiration; optimum temperature; standard deviation; relative change; temperature dependency; carbon models; primary production; input climate scenarios; global signal; fertclim simulation; soil carbon; future climate; cmip2 experiments; squared change; land carbon uptake; vegetation models; carbon cycle; largest reduction; ncar ukmo experiment; forest ecosystem; climate scenario; decomposition rates; soil carbon pools change; decomposition rates change; largest soil; high latitudes; pools changes; different settings; tropical ecosystems; biotic growth factor; terrestrial carbon; initial state; possible explanation; terrestrial carbon pools; sensible heat; ndvi data; positive feedback; geophysical research letters; global response; future climate change predictions; geophysical research; control climate; climate studies; terrestrial

Entité nommée
Entité nommée - Emplacement géographique
  • Paris
  • Toulouse
  • France
Entité nommée - Organisme
  • Industrial Research Organisation, Australia Department of Energy Parallel Climate Model, USA Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Germany Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, USA Goddard Institute for Space Sciences, USA Institute for Atmospheric Physics, China Institut Pierre Simon Laplace, France Meteorological Research Institute, Japan National Center for Atmospheric Research, USA United Kingdom Meteorological Of
  • IPCC
  • France Commonwealth Scienti
  • Blackwell Publishing Ltd
  • UKMO Bureau of Meteorological Research, Australia Climate Center, Canada Center for Climate System Research, Japan
Entité nommée - Personne
Pierre-Simon Laplace; H. Le Treut; Edouard Belin
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