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.