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  1. Abstract

    Global estimates of the land carbon sink are often based on simulations by terrestrial biosphere models (TBMs). The use of a large number of models that differ in their underlying hypotheses, structure and parameters is one way to assess the uncertainty in the historical land carbon sink. Here we show that the atmospheric forcing datasets used to drive these TBMs represent a significant source of uncertainty that is currently not systematically accounted for in land carbon cycle evaluations. We present results from three TBMs each forced with three different historical atmospheric forcing reconstructions over the period 1850–2015. We perform an analysis of variance to quantify the relative uncertainty in carbon fluxes arising from the models themselves, atmospheric forcing, and model-forcing interactions. We find that atmospheric forcing in this set of simulations plays a dominant role on uncertainties in global gross primary productivity (GPP) (75% of variability) and autotrophic respiration (90%), and a significant but reduced role on net primary productivity and heterotrophic respiration (30%). Atmospheric forcing is the dominant driver (52%) of variability for the net ecosystem exchange flux, defined as the difference between GPP and respiration (both autotrophic and heterotrophic respiration). In contrast, for wildfire-driven carbon emissions modelmore »uncertainties dominate and, as a result, model uncertainties dominate for net ecosystem productivity. At regional scales, the contribution of atmospheric forcing to uncertainty shows a very heterogeneous pattern and is smaller on average than at the global scale. We find that this difference in the relative importance of forcing uncertainty between global and regional scales is related to large differences in regional model flux estimates, which partially offset each other when integrated globally, while the flux differences driven by forcing are mainly consistent across the world and therefore add up to a larger fractional contribution to global uncertainty.

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  2. Abstract. Large changes in the Arctic carbon balance are expectedas warming linked to climate change threatens to destabilize ancientpermafrost carbon stocks. The eddy covariance (EC) method is an establishedtechnique to quantify net losses and gains of carbon between the biosphereand atmosphere at high spatiotemporal resolution. Over the past decades, agrowing network of terrestrial EC tower sites has been established acrossthe Arctic, but a comprehensive assessment of the network'srepresentativeness within the heterogeneous Arctic region is still lacking.This creates additional uncertainties when integrating flux data acrosssites, for example when upscaling fluxes to constrain pan-Arctic carbonbudgets and changes therein. This study provides an inventory of Arctic (here > = 60∘ N)EC sites, which has also been made available online(, last access: 25 January 2022). Our database currentlycomprises 120 EC sites, but only 83 are listed as active, and just 25 ofthese active sites remain operational throughout the winter. To map therepresentativeness of this EC network, we evaluated the similarity betweenenvironmental conditions observed at the tower locations and those withinthe larger Arctic study domain based on 18 bioclimatic and edaphicvariables. This allows us to assess a general level of similarity betweenecosystem conditions within the domain, while not necessarily reflectingchanges in greenhouse gas flux rates directly. We define two metrics basedonmore »this representativeness score: one that measures whether a location isrepresented by an EC tower with similar characteristics (ER1) and a secondfor which we assess if a minimum level of representation for statisticallyrigorous extrapolation is met (ER4). We find that while half of the domainis represented by at least one tower, only a third has enough towers insimilar locations to allow reliable extrapolation. When we consider methanemeasurements or year-round (including wintertime) measurements, the valuesdrop to about 1/5 and 1/10 of the domain, respectively. With themajority of sites located in Fennoscandia and Alaska, these regions wereassigned the highest level of network representativeness, while large partsof Siberia and patches of Canada were classified as underrepresented.Across the Arctic, mountainous regions were particularly poorly representedby the current EC observation network. We tested three different strategies to identify new site locations orupgrades of existing sites that optimally enhance the representativeness ofthe current EC network. While 15 new sites can improve therepresentativeness of the pan-Arctic network by 20 %, upgrading as fewas 10 existing sites to capture methane fluxes or remain active duringwintertime can improve their respective ER1 network coverage by 28 % to 33 %. This targeted network improvement could be shown to be clearlysuperior to an unguided selection of new sites, therefore leading tosubstantial improvements in network coverage based on relatively smallinvestments.« less
  3. Abstract Background

    Countries have long been making efforts by reducing greenhouse-gas emissions to mitigate climate change. In the agreements of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, involved countries have committed to reduction targets. However, carbon (C) sink and its involving processes by natural ecosystems remain difficult to quantify.


    Using a transient traceability framework, we estimated country-level land C sink and its causing components by 2050 simulated by 12 Earth System Models involved in the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) under RCP8.5.


    The top 20 countries with highest C sink have the potential to sequester 62 Pg C in total, among which, Russia, Canada, USA, China, and Brazil sequester the most. This C sink consists of four components: production-driven change, turnover-driven change, change in instantaneous C storage potential, and interaction between production-driven change and turnover-driven change. The four components account for 49.5%, 28.1%, 14.5%, and 7.9% of the land C sink, respectively.


    The model-based estimates highlight that land C sink potentially offsets a substantial proportion of greenhouse-gas emissions, especially for countries where net primary production (NPP) likely increases substantially and inherent residence time elongates.

  4. As the effects of anthropogenic climate change become more severe, several approaches for deliberate climate intervention to reduce or stabilize Earth’s surface temperature have been proposed. Solar radiation modification (SRM) is one potential approach to partially counteract anthropogenic warming by reflecting a small proportion of the incoming solar radiation to increase Earth’s albedo. While climate science research has focused on the predicted climate effects of SRM, almost no studies have investigated the impacts that SRM would have on ecological systems. The impacts and risks posed by SRM would vary by implementation scenario, anthropogenic climate effects, geographic region, and by ecosystem, community, population, and organism. Complex interactions among Earth’s climate system and living systems would further affect SRM impacts and risks. We focus here on stratospheric aerosol intervention (SAI), a well-studied and relatively feasible SRM scheme that is likely to have a large impact on Earth’s surface temperature. We outline current gaps in knowledge about both helpful and harmful predicted effects of SAI on ecological systems. Desired ecological outcomes might also inform development of future SAI implementation scenarios. In addition to filling these knowledge gaps, increased collaboration between ecologists and climate scientists would identify a common set of SAI research goalsmore »and improve the communication about potential SAI impacts and risks with the public. Without this collaboration, forecasts of SAI impacts will overlook potential effects on biodiversity and ecosystem services for humanity.« less
  5. Large stocks of soil organic carbon (SOC) have accumulated in the Northern Hemisphere permafrost region, but their current amounts and future fate remain uncertain. By analyzing dataset combining >2700 soil profiles with environmental variables in a geospatial framework, we generated spatially explicit estimates of permafrost-region SOC stocks, quantified spatial heterogeneity, and identified key environmental predictors. We estimated that 1014 − 175 + 194 Pg C are stored in the top 3 m of permafrost region soils. The greatest uncertainties occurred in circumpolar toe-slope positions and in flat areas of the Tibetan region. We found that soil wetness index and elevation are the dominant topographic controllers and surface air temperature (circumpolar region) and precipitation (Tibetan region) are significant climatic controllers of SOC stocks. Our results provide first high-resolution geospatial assessment of permafrost region SOC stocks and their relationships with environmental factors, which are crucial for modeling the response of permafrost affected soils to changing climate.