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  1. Abstract. Desert dust is an important atmospheric aerosol that affects the Earth's climate, biogeochemistry, and air quality. However, current Earth system models (ESMs) struggle to accurately capture the impact of dust on the Earth's climate and ecosystems, in part because these models lack several essential aeolian processes that couple dust with climate and land surface processes. In this study, we address this issue by implementing several new parameterizations of aeolian processes detailed in our companion paper in the Community Earth System Model version 2 (CESM2). These processes include (1) incorporating a simplified soil particle size representation to calculate the dust emission threshold friction velocity, (2) accounting for the drag partition effect of rocks and vegetation in reducing wind stress on erodible soils, (3) accounting for the intermittency of dust emissions due to unresolved turbulent wind fluctuations, and (4) correcting the spatial variability of simulated dust emissions from native to higher spatial resolutions on spatiotemporal dust variability. Our results show that the modified dust emission scheme significantly reduces the model bias against observations compared with the default scheme and improves the correlation against observations of multiple key dust variables such as dust aerosol optical depth (DAOD), surface particulate matter (PM) concentration, and deposition flux. Our scheme's dust also correlates strongly with various meteorological and land surface variables, implying higher sensitivity of dust to future climate change than other schemes' dust. These findings highlight the importance of including additional aeolian processes for improving the performance of ESM aerosol simulations and potentially enhancing model assessments of how dust impacts climate and ecosystem changes.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 22, 2025
  2. Accurate representation of permafrost carbon emissions is crucial for climate projections, yet current Earth system models inadequately represent permafrost carbon. Sustained funding opportunities are needed from government and private sectors for prioritized model development. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 1, 2025
  3. Abstract

    We use six Earth system models (ESMs) run under SSP3-7.0, a scenario characterized by a relatively large land use change (LUC) over the 21st century, and under a variant of the same scenario where a significantly different pattern of LUC, taken from SSP1-2.6, was used, all else being equal. Our goal is to identify changes in climate extremes between the two scenarios that are statistically significant and robust across the ESMs. The motivation for this study is to test a long-held assumption of the shared socio-economic pathway-representative concentration pathway (SSP-RCP) scenario framework: that the signal from LUC can be safely disregarded when pairing different SSPs to the compatible RCPs, where compatibility only considers global radiative forcing, predominantly determined by well-mixed greenhouse gasses emissions. We analyze extremes of daily minimum and maximum temperatures and precipitation, after fitting non-stationary generalized extreme value distributions in a way that borrows strength along the length of the simulation (2015–2100) and across initial condition ensembles. We consider changes in the 20 year return levels (RL20s) of these metrics by 2100, and focus on eight locations where LUC is large within each scenario, and strongly differs between scenarios, averaging the RL20s over a neighborhood characterized by the same LUC to enhance the signal to noise. We find that precipitation extremes do not show significant differences attributable to LUC differences. For temperature extremes (cold and hot) results are mixed, with some location-index combination showing significant results for some of the ESMs but not all, and not many coherent changes appearing for indices across regions, or regions across indices. These ESMs are representative of what is typically adopted as the source of climate information for impact studies, when the SSP-RCP framework is put to use. Overall, our analysis suggests that the hypothesis to pair SSPs to RCPs in a flexible fashion is overall defensible. However, the appearance of some coherence in a few locations and for some indices invites further investigation.

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  4. Key Points A new semi‐analytical spin‐up (SASU) framework combines the default accelerated spin‐up method and matrix analytical algorithm SASU accelerates CLIM5 spin‐up by tens of times, becoming the fastest method to our knowledge SASU is applicable to most biogeochemical models and enables computationally costly study, for example, sensitivity analysis 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2024
  5. Abstract In this study, we investigate the air temperature response to land-use and land-cover change (LULCC; cropland expansion and deforestation) using subgrid land model output generated by a set of CMIP6 model simulations. Our study is motivated by the fact that ongoing land-use activities are occurring at local scales, typically significantly smaller than the resolvable scale of a grid cell in Earth system models. It aims to explore the potential for a multimodel approach to better characterize LULCC local climatic effects. On an annual scale, the CMIP6 models are in general agreement that croplands are warmer than primary and secondary land (psl; mainly forests, grasslands, and bare ground) in the tropics and cooler in the mid–high latitudes, except for one model. The transition from warming to cooling occurs at approximately 40°N. Although the surface heating potential, which combines albedo and latent heat flux effects, can explain reasonably well the zonal mean latitudinal subgrid temperature variations between crop and psl tiles in the historical simulations, it does not provide a good prediction on subgrid temperature for other land tile configurations (crop vs forest; grass vs forest) under Shared Socioeconomic Pathway 5–8.5 (SSP5–8.5) forcing scenarios. A subset of simulations with the CESM2 model reveals that latitudinal subgrid temperature variation is positively related to variation in net surface shortwave radiation and negatively related to variation in the surface energy redistribution factor, with a dominant role from the latter south of 30°N. We suggest that this emergent relationship can be used to benchmark the performance of land surface parameterizations and for prediction of local temperature response to LULCC. 
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  6. Abstract. We quantify future changes in wildfire burned area and carbon emissions inthe 21st century under four Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs) scenariosand two SSP5-8.5-based solar geoengineering scenarios with a target surfacetemperature defined by SSP2-4.5 – solar irradiance reduction (G6solar) andstratospheric sulfate aerosol injections (G6sulfur) – and explore themechanisms that drive solar geoengineering impacts on fires. This study isbased on fully coupled climate–chemistry simulations with simulatedoccurrence of fires (burned area and carbon emissions) using the WholeAtmosphere Community Climate Model version 6 (WACCM6) as the atmosphericcomponent of the Community Earth System Model version 2 (CESM2). Globally,total wildfire burned area is projected to increase over the 21st centuryunder scenarios without geoengineering and decrease under the twogeoengineering scenarios. By the end of the century, the two geoengineeringscenarios have lower burned area and fire carbon emissions than not onlytheir base-climate scenario SSP5-8.5 but also the targeted-climate scenarioSSP2-4.5. Geoengineering reduces wildfire occurrence by decreasing surfacetemperature and wind speed and increasing relative humidity and soil water,with the exception of boreal regions where geoengineering increases theoccurrence of wildfires due to a decrease in relative humidity and soilwater compared with the present day. This leads to a global reduction in burnedarea and fire carbon emissions by the end of the century relative to theirbase-climate scenario SSP5-8.5. However, geoengineering also yieldsreductions in precipitation compared with a warming climate, which offsetssome of the fire reduction. Overall, the impacts of the different drivingfactors are larger on burned area than fire carbon emissions. In general,the stratospheric sulfate aerosol approach has a stronger fire-reducingeffect than the solar irradiance reduction approach.

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  7. Abstract

    Biophysical effects from deforestation have the potential to amplify carbon losses but are often neglected in carbon accounting systems. Here we use both Earth system model simulations and satellite–derived estimates of aboveground biomass to assess losses of vegetation carbon caused by the influence of tropical deforestation on regional climate across different continents. In the Amazon, warming and drying arising from deforestation result in an additional 5.1 ± 3.7% loss of aboveground biomass. Biophysical effects also amplify carbon losses in the Congo (3.8 ± 2.5%) but do not lead to significant additional carbon losses in tropical Asia due to its high levels of annual mean precipitation. These findings indicate that tropical forests may be undervalued in carbon accounting systems that neglect climate feedbacks from surface biophysical changes and that the positive carbon–climate feedback from deforestation-driven climate change is higher than the feedback originating from fossil fuel emissions.

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  8. Rapid Arctic environmental change affects the entire Earth system as thawing permafrost ecosystems release greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. Understanding how much permafrost carbon will be released, over what time frame, and what the relative emissions of carbon dioxide and methane will be is key for understanding the impact on global climate. In addition, the response of vegetation in a warming climate has the potential to offset at least some of the accelerating feedback to the climate from permafrost carbon. Temperature, organic carbon, and ground ice are key regulators for determining the impact of permafrost ecosystems on the global carbon cycle. Together, these encompass services of permafrost relevant to global society as well as to the people living in the region and help to determine the landscape-level response of this region to a changing climate. 
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  9. 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 model 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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