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Selection: with tag carbon-cycle [50 articles] 


Warning signs for stabilizing global CO 2 emissions

Environmental Research Letters, Vol. 12, No. 11. (01 November 2017), 110202,


Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from fossil fuels and industry comprise ~90% of all CO2 emissions from human activities. For the last three years, such emissions were stable, despite continuing growth in the global economy. Many positive trends contributed to this unique hiatus, including reduced coal use in China and elsewhere, continuing gains in energy efficiency, and a boom in low-carbon renewables such as wind and solar. However, the temporary hiatus appears to have ended in 2017. For 2017, we project emissions ...


Global carbon budget 2017

Earth System Science Data Discussions (13 November 2017), pp. 1-79,


Accurate assessment of anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and their redistribution among the atmosphere, ocean, and terrestrial biosphere – the "global carbon budget" – is important to better understand the global carbon cycle, support the development of climate policies, and project future climate change. Here we describe data sets and methodology to quantify the five major components of the global carbon budget and their uncertainties. CO2 emissions from fossil fuels and industry (EFF) are based on energy statistics and cement production ...


Towards real-time verification of CO2 emissions

Nature Climate Change (13 November 2017),


The Paris Agreement has increased the incentive to verify reported anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions with independent Earth system observations. Reliable verification requires a step change in our understanding of carbon cycle variability. [\n] Emissions of CO2 from fossil fuels and industry did not change from 2014 to 2016, yet there was a record increase in CO2 concentration in the atmosphere. This apparent inconsistency is explained by the response of the natural carbon cycle to the 2015–2016 El Niño event, but it raises ...


Spreading like wildfire

Nature Climate Change, Vol. 7, No. 11. (November 2017), pp. 755-755,


The 2017 wildfire season has seen unusually high fire levels in many parts of the world, with extensive and severe fires occurring in Chile, the Mediterranean, Russia, the US, Canada and even Greenland. Is this a sign of things to come? [Excerpt] During January and February, Chile experienced what their president Michelle Bachelet called “The greatest forest disaster in our history”. The nation was not adequately equipped to tackle these fires, leading the government to enact a state of emergency and accept ...


Natural climate solutions

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (16 October 2017), 201710465,


[Significance] Most nations recently agreed to hold global average temperature rise to well below 2 °C. We examine how much climate mitigation nature can contribute to this goal with a comprehensive analysis of “natural climate solutions” (NCS): 20 conservation, restoration, and/or improved land management actions that increase carbon storage and/or avoid greenhouse gas emissions across global forests, wetlands, grasslands, and agricultural lands. We show that NCS can provide over one-third of the cost-effective climate mitigation needed between now and 2030 to stabilize ...


How temporal patterns in rainfall determine the geomorphology and carbon fluxes of tropical peatlands

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 114, No. 26. (27 June 2017), pp. E5187-E5196,


[Significance] A dataset from one of the last protected tropical peat swamps in Southeast Asia reveals how fluctuations in rainfall on yearly and shorter timescales affect the growth and subsidence of tropical peatlands over thousands of years. The pattern of rainfall and the permeability of the peat together determine a particular curvature of the peat surface that defines the amount of naturally sequestered carbon stored in the peatland over time. This principle can be used to calculate the long-term carbon dioxide emissions ...


Analysis of daily, monthly, and annual burned area using the fourth-generation global fire emissions database (GFED4)

Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences, Vol. 118, No. 1. (2013), pp. 317-328,


We describe the fourth generation of the Global Fire Emissions Database (GFED4) burned area data set, which provides global monthly burned area at 0.25°  spatial resolution from mid-1995 through the present and daily burned area for the time series extending back to August 2000. We produced the full data set by combining 500 m MODIS burned area maps with active fire data from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) Visible and Infrared Scanner (VIRS) and the Along-Track Scanning Radiometer (ATSR) family of ...


Wildland fire emissions, carbon, and climate: science overview and knowledge needs

Forest Ecology and Management, Vol. 317 (April 2014), pp. 1-8,


[Highlights] [::] Wildland fires have influenced the global carbon cycle for ∼420 million years. [::] Fire moves carbon among terrestrial and atmospheric pools. [::] Fires emit carbon dioxide (CO2), black carbon and other aerosols. [::] Climate change alters fire regimes, potentially increasing wildfire emissions. [::] The global carbon cycle accounting should include wildland fire emissions. [Abstract] Wildland fires have influenced the global carbon cycle for ∼420 million years of Earth history, interacting with climate to define vegetation characteristics and distributions, trigger abrupt ecosystem shifts, and move carbon among ...


Positive biodiversity-productivity relationship predominant in global forests

Science, Vol. 354, No. 6309. (14 October 2016), aaf8957,


[Abstract] The biodiversity-productivity relationship (BPR) is foundational to our understanding of the global extinction crisis and its impacts on ecosystem functioning. Understanding BPR is critical for the accurate valuation and effective conservation of biodiversity. Using ground-sourced data from 777,126 permanent plots, spanning 44 countries and most terrestrial biomes, we reveal a globally consistent positive concave-down BPR, showing that continued biodiversity loss would result in an accelerating decline in forest productivity worldwide. The value of biodiversity in maintaining commercial forest productivity alone—US$166 billion ...


Fire history and the global carbon budget: a 1°x 1° fire history reconstruction for the 20th century

Global Change Biology, Vol. 11, No. 3. (March 2005), pp. 398-420,


A yearly global fire history is a prerequisite for quantifying the contribution of previous fires to the past and present global carbon budget. Vegetation fires can have both direct (combustion) and long-term indirect effects on the carbon cycle. Every fire influences the ecosystem carbon budget for many years, as a consequence of internal reorganization, decomposition of dead biomass, and regrowth. We used a two-step process to estimate these effects. First we synthesized the available data available for the 1980s or 1990s ...


Drought sensitivity of the Amazon rainforest

Science, Vol. 323, No. 5919. (06 March 2009), pp. 1344-1347,


Amazon forests are a key but poorly understood component of the global carbon cycle. If, as anticipated, they dry this century, they might accelerate climate change through carbon losses and changed surface energy balances. We used records from multiple long-term monitoring plots across Amazonia to assess forest responses to the intense 2005 drought, a possible analog of future events. Affected forest lost biomass, reversing a large long-term carbon sink, with the greatest impacts observed where the dry season was unusually intense. ...


Waste not, want not, emit less

Science, Vol. 352, No. 6284. (21 April 2016), pp. 408-409,


[Summary] Ensuring a sufficient supply of quality food for a growing human population is a major challenge, aggravated by climate change and already-strained natural resources. Food security requires production of some food surpluses to safeguard against unpredictable fluctuations (1). However, when food is wasted, not only has carbon been emitted to no avail, but disposal and decomposition in landfills create additional environmental impacts. Decreasing the current high scale of food waste is thus crucial for achieving resource-efficient, sustainable food systems (2). But, ...


Consistent land- and atmosphere-based U.S. carbon sink estimates

Science, Vol. 292, No. 5525. (2001), pp. 2316-2320,


For the period 1980-89, we estimate a carbon sink in the coterminous United States between 0.30 and 0.58 petagrams of carbon per year (petagrams of carbon = 1015 grams of carbon). The net carbon flux from the atmosphere to the land was higher, 0.37 to 0.71 petagrams of carbon per year, because a net flux of 0.07 to 0.13 petagrams of carbon per year was exported by rivers and commerce and returned to the atmosphere elsewhere. These land-based estimates are larger ...


Offset of the potential carbon sink from boreal forestation by decreases in surface albedo

Nature, Vol. 408, No. 6809. (9 November 2000), pp. 187-190,


Carbon uptake by forestation is one method proposed1 to reduce net carbon dioxide emissions to the atmosphere and so limit the radiative forcing of climate change2. But the overall impact of forestation on climate will also depend on other effects associated with the creation of new forests. In particular, the albedo of a forested landscape is generally lower than that of cultivated land, especially when snow is lying3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and decreasing albedo exerts a positive radiative ...


The decadal state of the terrestrial carbon cycle: global retrievals of terrestrial carbon allocation, pools, and residence times

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 113, No. 5. (02 February 2016), pp. 1285-1290,


[Significance] Quantitative knowledge of terrestrial carbon pathways and processes is fundamental for understanding the biosphere’s response to a changing climate. Carbon allocation, stocks, and residence times together define the dynamic state of the terrestrial carbon cycle. These quantities are difficult to measure and remain poorly quantified on a global scale. Here, we retrieve global 1° × 1° carbon state and process variables by combining a carbon balance model with satellite observations of biomass and leaf area (where and when available) and global ...

Visual summary

  • Figure:
  • Source:
  • Caption: Retrievals of C residence time (RT) in live biomass and dead organic C pools; residence times are retrieved at 1° × 1° using a Bayesian MDF approach (Fig. 1). Brown denotes ecosystems with high residence times for all C pools, green denotes ecosystems with long live biomass C residence times, and orange denotes ecosystems with low live

Carbon and nitrogen in forest floor and mineral soil under six common European tree species

Forest Ecology and Management, Vol. 255, No. 1. (February 2008), pp. 35-48,


The knowledge of tree species effects on soil C and N pools is scarce, particularly for European deciduous tree species. We studied forest floor and mineral soil carbon and nitrogen under six common European tree species in a common garden design replicated at six sites in Denmark. Three decades after planting the six tree species had different profiles in terms of litterfall, forest floor and mineral soil C and N attributes. Three groups were identified: (1) ash, maple and lime, (2) ...


BVOCs: plant defense against climate warming?

Trends in Plant Science, Vol. 8, No. 3. (16 June 2015), pp. 105-109,


Plants emit a substantial amount of biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOCs) into the atmosphere. These BVOCs represent a large carbon loss and can be up to ∼10% of that fixed by photosynthesis under stressful conditions and up to 100 g C m−2 per year in some tropical ecosystems. Among a variety of proven and unproven BVOC functions in plants and roles in atmospheric processes, recent data intriguingly link emission of these compounds to climate. Ongoing research demonstrates that BVOCs could protect ...


Boreal forests, aerosols and the impacts on clouds and climate

Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, Vol. 366, No. 1885. (28 December 2008), pp. 4613-4626,


Previous studies have concluded that boreal forests warm the climate because the cooling from storage of carbon in vegetation and soils is cancelled out by the warming due to the absorption of the Sun's heat by the dark forest canopy. However, these studies ignored the impacts of forests on atmospheric aerosol. We use a global atmospheric model to show that, through emission of organic vapours and the resulting condensational growth of newly formed particles, boreal forests double regional cloud condensation nuclei ...


Drought-Induced Reduction in Global Terrestrial Net Primary Production from 2000 Through 2009

Science, Vol. 329, No. 5994. (20 August 2010), pp. 940-943,


Terrestrial net primary production (NPP) quantifies the amount of atmospheric carbon fixed by plants and accumulated as biomass. Previous studies have shown that climate constraints were relaxing with increasing temperature and solar radiation, allowing an upward trend in NPP from 1982 through 1999. The past decade (2000 to 2009) has been the warmest since instrumental measurements began, which could imply continued increases in NPP; however, our estimates suggest a reduction in the global NPP of 0.55 petagrams of carbon. Large-scale droughts ...


Sustainability: five steps for managing Europe's forests

Nature, Vol. 519, No. 7544. (25 March 2015), pp. 407-409,


[Excerpt] Europe's varied climates support some of the most biodiverse woodlands on Earth. More than 40% of the continent's land area is wooded. In the north, evergreen forests host Norway spruces and Scandinavian pines; around the Mediterranean, tough-leaved trees such as the holm oak and Aleppo pine withstand heat and drought. Dense beech and oak forests blanket Eastern Europe, and thin strands of dwarf pine mark the Alpine timberline. [\n] Woodlands in Europe have been harvested for timber for thousands of years, ...


Permafrost carbon−climate feedback is sensitive to deep soil carbon decomposability but not deep soil nitrogen dynamics

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 112, No. 12. (24 March 2015), pp. 3752-3757,


[Significance] As the climate warms, the carbon balance of arctic ecosystems will respond in two opposing ways: Plants will grow faster, leading to a carbon sink, while thawing permafrost will lead to decomposition and loss of soil carbon. However, thawing permafrost also releases nitrogen that fertilizes plant growth, offsetting some carbon losses. The balance of these processes determines whether these ecosystems will act as a stabilizing or destabilizing feedback to climate change. We show that this balance is determined by the rate ...


Forest carbon sinks in the Northern Hemisphere

Ecological Applications, Vol. 12, No. 3. (June 2002), pp. 891-899,[0891:fcsitn];2


There is general agreement that terrestrial systems in the Northern Hemisphere provide a significant sink for atmospheric CO2; however, estimates of the magnitude and distribution of this sink vary greatly. National forest inventories provide strong, measurement-based constraints on the magnitude of net forest carbon uptake. We brought together forest sector C budgets for Canada, the United States, Europe, Russia, and China that were derived from forest inventory information, allometric relationships, and supplementary data sets and models. Together, these suggest that northern ...


Using and improving the social cost of carbon

Science, Vol. 346, No. 6214. (05 December 2014), pp. 1189-1190,


The social cost of carbon (SCC) is a crucial tool for economic analysis of climate policies. The SCC estimates the dollar value of reduced climate change damages associated with a one-metric-ton reduction in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Although the conceptual basis, challenges, and merits of the SCC are well established, its use in government cost-benefit analysis (CBA) is relatively new. In light of challenges in constructing the SCC, its newness in government regulation, and the importance of updating, we propose an ...


Path independence of climate and carbon cycle response over a broad range of cumulative carbon emissions

Earth System Dynamics, Vol. 5, No. 2. (24 November 2014), pp. 409-422,


Recent studies have identified an approximately proportional relationship between global warming and cumulative carbon emissions, yet the robustness of this relationship has not been tested over a broad range of cumulative emissions and emission rates. This study explores the path dependence of the climate and carbon cycle response using an Earth system model of intermediate complexity forced with 24 idealized emissions scenarios across five cumulative emission groups (1275–5275 Gt C) with varying rates of emission. We find the century-scale climate and ...


Targeted carbon conservation at national scales with high-resolution monitoring

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 111, No. 47. (25 November 2014), pp. E5016-E5022,


[Significance] Land use is a principal driver of carbon emissions, either directly through land change processes such as deforestation or indirectly via transportation and industries supporting natural resource use. To minimize the effects of land use on the climate system, natural ecosystems are needed to offset gross emissions through carbon sequestration. Managing this critically important service must be achieved tactically if it is to be cost-effective. We have developed a high-resolution carbon mapping approach that can identify biogeographically explicit targets for carbon ...


Goodbye to carbon neutral: Getting biomass footprints right

Environmental Impact Assessment Review, Vol. 29, No. 3. (April 2009), pp. 165-168,


Most guidance for carbon footprinting, and most published carbon footprints or LCAs, presume that biomass heating fuels are carbon neutral. However, it is recognised increasingly that this is incorrect: biomass fuels are not always carbon neutral. Indeed, they can in some cases be far more carbon positive than fossil fuels. This flaw in carbon footprinting guidance and practice can be remedied. In carbon footprints (not just of biomass or heating fuels, but all carbon footprints), rather than applying sequestration credits and ...


Forest transitions: towards a global understanding of land use change

Global Environmental Change, Vol. 15, No. 1. (April 2005), pp. 23-31,


Places experience forest transitions when declines in forest cover cease and recoveries in forest cover begin. Forest transitions have occurred in two, sometimes overlapping circumstances. In some places economic development has created enough non-farm jobs to pull farmers off of the land, thereby inducing the spontaneous regeneration of forests in old fields. In other places a scarcity of forest products has prompted governments and landowners to plant trees in some fields. The transitions do little to conserve biodiversity, but they do ...


Evidence for environmentally enhanced forest growth

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 111, No. 26. (01 July 2014), pp. 9527-9532,


[Significance] Northern forests have sequestered a substantial amount of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere during the past several decades. This large carbon (C) sink usually is considered to be driven by tree regrowth after stand-replacing disturbance and growth enhancement due to environmental changes, but the relative contribution between these two processes remains unclear. In this study, we evaluate the contribution of growth enhancement induced by environmental changes to biomass C sink in Japan’s forests and demonstrate that this growth enhancement accounts ...


Antarctic sea ice control on ocean circulation in present and glacial climates

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 111, No. 24. (17 June 2014), pp. 8753-8758,


[Significance] The ocean’s role in regulating atmospheric carbon dioxide on glacial–interglacial timescales remains an unresolved issue in paleoclimatology. Many apparently independent changes in ocean physics, chemistry, and biology need to be invoked to explain the full signal. Recent understanding of the deep ocean circulation and stratification is used to demonstrate that the major changes invoked in ocean physics are dynamically linked. In particular, the expansion of permanent sea ice in the Southern Hemisphere results in a volume increase of Antarctic-origin abyssal ...


Greater ecosystem carbon in the Mojave Desert after ten years exposure to elevated CO2

Nature Clim. Change, Vol. 4, No. 5. (6 May 2014), pp. 394-397,


Carbon dioxide is the main greenhouse gas inducing climate change. Increased global CO2 emissions, estimated at 8.4 Pg C yr−1 at present, have accelerated from 1% yr−1 during 1990–1999 to 2.5% yr−1 during 2000–2009 (ref. 1). The carbon balance of terrestrial ecosystems is the greatest unknown in the global C budget because the actual magnitude, location and causes of terrestrial sinks are uncertain2; estimates of terrestrial C uptake, therefore, are often based on the residuals between direct measurements of the atmospheric ...


Climate control of terrestrial carbon exchange across biomes and continents

Environmental Research Letters, Vol. 5, No. 3. (01 July 2010), 034007,
by Chuixiang Yi, Daniel Ricciuto, Runze Li, John Wolbeck, Xiyan Xu, Mats Nilsson, Luis Aires, John D. Albertson, Christof Ammann, M. Altaf Arain, Alessandro C. de Araujo, Marc Aubinet, Mika Aurela, Zoltán Barcza, Alan Barr, Paul Berbigier, Jason Beringer, Christian Bernhofer, Andrew T. Black, Paul V. Bolstad, Fred C. Bosveld, Mark S. J. Broadmeadow, Nina Buchmann, Sean P. Burns, Pierre Cellier, Jingming Chen, Jiquan Chen, Philippe Ciais, Robert Clement, Bruce D. Cook, Peter S. Curtis, D. Bryan Dail, Ebba Dellwik, Nicolas Delpierre, Ankur R. Desai, Sabina Dore, Danilo Dragoni, Bert G. Drake, Eric Dufrêne, Allison Dunn, Jan Elbers, Werner Eugster, Matthias Falk, Christian Feigenwinter, Lawrence B. Flanagan, Thomas Foken, John Frank, Juerg Fuhrer, Damiano Gianelle, Allen Goldstein, Mike Goulden, Andre Granier, Thomas Grünwald, Lianhong Gu, Haiqiang Guo, Albin Hammerle, Shijie Han, Niall P. Hanan, László Haszpra, Bernard Heinesch, Carole Helfter, Dimmie Hendriks, Lindsay B. Hutley, Andreas Ibrom, Cor Jacobs, Torbjörn Johansson, Marjan Jongen, Gabriel Katul, Gerard Kiely, Katja Klumpp, Alexander Knohl, Thomas Kolb, Werner L. Kutsch, Peter Lafleur, Tuomas Laurila, Ray Leuning, Anders Lindroth, Heping Liu, Benjamin Loubet, Giovanni Manca, Michal Marek, Hank A. Margolis, Timothy A. Martin, William J. Massman, Roser Matamala, Giorgio Matteucci, Harry McCaughey, Lutz Merbold, Tilden Meyers, Mirco Migliavacca, Franco Miglietta, Laurent Misson, Meelis Mölder, John Moncrieff, Russell K. Monson, Leonardo Montagnani, Mario Montes-Helu, Eddy Moors, Christine Moureaux, Mukufute M. Mukelabai, J. William Munger, May Myklebust, Zoltán Nagy, Asko Noormets, Walter Oechel, Ram Oren, Stephen G. Pallardy, Kyaw Tha Paw, João S. Pereira, Kim Pilegaard, Krisztina Pintér, Casimiro Pio, Gabriel Pita, Thomas L. Powell, Serge Rambal, James T. Randerson, Celso von Randow, Corinna Rebmann, Janne Rinne, Federica Rossi, Nigel Roulet, Ronald J. Ryel, Jorgen Sagerfors, Nobuko Saigusa, María J. Sanz, Giuseppe-Scarascia Mugnozza, Hans P. Schmid, Guenther Seufert, Mario Siqueira, Jean-François Soussana, Gregory Starr, Mark A. Sutton, John Tenhunen, Zoltán Tuba, Juha-Pekka Tuovinen, Riccardo Valentini, Christoph S. Vogel, Jingxin Wang, Shaoqiang Wang, Weiguo Wang, Lisa R. Welp, Xuefa Wen, Sonia Wharton, Matthew Wilkinson, Christopher A. Williams, Georg Wohlfahrt, Susumu Yamamoto, Guirui Yu, Roberto Zampedri, Bin Zhao, Xinquan Zhao


Understanding the relationships between climate and carbon exchange by terrestrial ecosystems is critical to predict future levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide because of the potential accelerating effects of positive climate–carbon cycle feedbacks. However, directly observed relationships between climate and terrestrial CO 2 exchange with the atmosphere across biomes and continents are lacking. Here we present data describing the relationships between net ecosystem exchange of carbon (NEE) and climate factors as measured using the eddy covariance method at 125 unique sites ...


(INRMM-MiD internal record) List of keywords of the INRMM meta-information database - part 6

(February 2014)
Keywords: canopy-density   canopy-irradiance   canopy-opening   capnodis-miliaris   caragana-arborescens   carapa-guianensis   carbohydrates   carbon   carbon-cycle   carbon-dioxide-removal   carbon-emission   carbon-isotope-discrimination   carbon-mitigation   carbon-sequestration   carbon-stock   cardiaspina-fiscella   cardiovascular-benefit   carica-papaya   carnegiea-gigantea   carnivores   carpathian-region   carpinus-betulus   carpinus-cordata   carpinus-orientalis   carpinus-spp   cart   carya-illinoensis   carya-laciniosa   carya-ovata   carya-spp   carya-tomentosa   cascade-of-failures   cassia-fistula   castanea-crenata   castanea-dentata   castanea-mollissima   castanea-sativa   castanea-spp   castanopsis-eyrei   castanopsis-spp   casuarina-equisetifolia   catalonia   catalpa-ovata   catalpa-speciosa   catalpa-spp   catchment-scale   categorical-variables   cathaya-spp   cattle   caucasus   causal-networks   cavitation   ceanothus-thyrsiflorus   cecidomyiidae   cecropia-peltata   cedar-decline   cedrela-fissilis   cedrela-odorata   cedrus-atlantica   cedrus-brevifolia   cedrus-libani   ceiba-chodatii   ceiba-pentandra   cell-structure   cellular-automata   cellulose   celtis-australis   celtis-occidentalis   celtis-reticulata   celtis-spp   central-america   central-asia   central-china   central-europe   central-hardwood-forest   central-mediterranean   cerambycidae   ceratitis-cosyra   ceratocystis-coerulescens   ceratocystis-laricicola   ceratocystis-platani   ceratocystis-polonica   ceratocystis-spp   ceratonia-siliqua   ceratonia-spp   cercidium-microphyllum   cercis-siliquastrum   cercis-spp   cercocarpus-ledifolius   certification   cerura-vinula   chalara-fraxinea   chamaecyparis-lawsoniana   chamaecyparis-nootkatensis   chamaecyparis-obtusa   chamaecyparis-pisifera   chamaecyparis-spp   chamaecytisus-proliferus   inrmm-list-of-tags  


List of indexed keywords within the transdisciplinary set of domains which relate to the Integrated Natural Resources Modelling and Management (INRMM). In particular, the list of keywords maps the semantic tags in the INRMM Meta-information Database (INRMM-MiD). [\n] The INRMM-MiD records providing this list are accessible by the special tag: inrmm-list-of-tags ( ). ...


Carbon sequestration: Managing forests in uncertain times

Nature, Vol. 506, No. 7487. (12 February 2014), pp. 153-155,


Increasing both forest stocks and timber harvest will buy time while we learn more about how trees absorb carbon, say Valentin Bellassen and Sebastiaan Luyssaert. ...


Amazon forests maintain consistent canopy structure and greenness during the dry season

Nature (5 February 2014),


The seasonality of sunlight and rainfall regulates net primary production in tropical forests1. Previous studies have suggested that light is more limiting than water for tropical forest productivity2, consistent with greening of Amazon forests during the dry season in satellite data3, 4, 5, 6, 7. We evaluated four potential mechanisms for the seasonal green-up phenomenon, including increases in leaf area5, 6, 7 or leaf reflectance3, 4, 6, using a sophisticated radiative transfer model8 and independent satellite observations from lidar and optical ...


Trick of the light

Nature, Vol. 506, No. 7486. (6 February 2014), pp. 6-6,


The Amazon doesn’t absorb extra carbon in the dry season after all. It can become a carbon source. ...


Ecosystems Say 'Pass the Salt!'

Science, Vol. 343, No. 6170. (31 January 2014), pp. 472-473,


In sodium-poor soil, a University of Oklahoma ecologist has found, small amounts of added salt boost invertebrate biomass and increase decomposition—so much so, his latest work suggests, that a lack of salt could have a major impact on the global carbon cycle. Not everyone agrees about its potential effect on the carbon cycle, but through his work he has convinced many of his colleagues that salt is critical to the well-being of an ecosystem. ...


Reversing climate warming by artificial atmospheric carbon-dioxide removal: Can a Holocene-like climate be restored?

Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 40, No. 20. (28 October 2013), pp. 5480-5485,


Most climate modelling studies of future climate have focused on the affects of carbon emissions in the present century or the long-term fate of anthropogenically emitted carbon. However, after carbon emissions cease there may be a desire to return to a“safe" CO 2 concentration within this millennium. Realistically this implies artificially removing CO 2 from the atmosphere. In this study experiments are conducted using the University of Victoria Earth system climate model forced with novelfuture scenarios to explore the reversibility of ...


Modeling the possible impact of increased CO2 and temperature on soil water balance, crop yield and soil erosion

Environmental Modelling & Software, Vol. 16, No. 7. (November 2001), pp. 631-640,


A modeling approach was utilized to investigate the impact of increased atmospheric CO2 and temperature on water balance, crop production, plant growth, and soil erosion. For the given scenario and the site tested, the increase of temperature resulted in a significant increase of ET, reduction of soybean canopy cover and yield, a slight increase in soil loss, and a reduction in soil moisture. However, the increase of atmospheric CO2 resulted in significant increase of crop yield and canopy cover, a slight ...


Historical warming reduced due to enhanced land carbon uptake

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 110, No. 42. (15 September 2013), pp. 16730-16735,


[Significance] This article provides estimates of the climate benefits due to CO2 fertilization of the terrestrial biosphere. Without these benefits, the atmospheric CO2 concentration would have risen by ∼200 ppm since the preindustrial period instead of the observed ∼115 ppm (an 80% increase), and the global climate would have warmed by an additional 0.31 ± 0.06 °C (a 40% increase). These findings were obtained with a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory comprehensive Earth System Model ESM2G. [Abstract] Previous studies have demonstrated ...


Carbon stocks and soil respiration rates during deforestation, grassland use and subsequent Norway spruce afforestation in the Southern Alps, Italy

Tree Physiology, Vol. 20, No. 13. (01 July 2000), pp. 849-857,


Changes in carbon stocks during deforestation, reforestation and afforestation play an important role in the global carbon cycle. Cultivation of forest lands leads to substantial losses in both biomass and soil carbon, whereas forest regrowth is considered to be a significant carbon sink. We examined below- and aboveground carbon stocks along a chronosequence of Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.) stands (0–62 years old) regenerating on abandoned meadows in the Southern Alps. A 130-year-old mixed coniferous Norway spruce–white fir (Abies alba ...


Woody plant encroachment facilitated by increased precipitation intensity

Nature Climate Change, Vol. 3, No. 9. (26 May 2013), pp. 833-837,


Global circulation models and empirical evidence suggest that precipitation events are likely to become more extreme across much of the globe1, 2. As most plant roots are in shallow soils3, 4, 5, small but pervasive changes in precipitation intensity could be expected to cause large-scale shifts in plant growth, yet experimental tests of the effects of precipitation intensity are lacking6, 7, 8, 9. Here we show that, without changing the total amount of precipitation, small experimental increases in precipitation intensity can ...


Innovative grassland management systems for environmental and livelihood benefits

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 110, No. 21. (21 May 2013), pp. 8369-8374,


Grasslands occupy 40% of the world’s land surface (excluding Antarctica and Greenland) and support diverse groups, from traditional extensive nomadic to intense livestock-production systems. Population pressures mean that many of these grasslands are in a degraded state, particularly in less-productive areas of developing countries, affecting not only productivity but also vital environmental services such as hydrology, biodiversity, and carbon cycles; livestock condition is often poor and household incomes are at or below poverty levels. The challenge is to optimize management practices ...


Climate extremes and the carbon cycle

Nature, Vol. 500, No. 7462. (14 August 2013), pp. 287-295,


The terrestrial biosphere is a key component of the global carbon cycle and its carbon balance is strongly influenced by climate. Continuing environmental changes are thought to increase global terrestrial carbon uptake. But evidence is mounting that climate extremes such as droughts or storms can lead to a decrease in regional ecosystem carbon stocks and therefore have the potential to negate an expected increase in terrestrial carbon uptake. Here we explore the mechanisms and impacts of climate extremes on the terrestrial ...


Increase in forest water-use efficiency as atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations rise

Nature, Vol. 499, No. 7458. (10 July 2013), pp. 324-327,


Terrestrial plants remove CO2 from the atmosphere through photosynthesis, a process that is accompanied by the loss of water vapour from leaves1. The ratio of water loss to carbon gain, or water-use efficiency, is a key characteristic of ecosystem function that is central to the global cycles of water, energy and carbon2. Here we analyse direct, long-term measurements of whole-ecosystem carbon and water exchange3. We find a substantial increase in water-use efficiency in temperate and boreal forests of the Northern Hemisphere ...


Landslide impact on organic carbon cycling in a temperate montane forest

Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, Vol. 36, No. 12. (30 September 2011), pp. 1670-1679,


In humid, forested mountain belts, bedrock landslides can harvest organic carbon from above ground biomass and soil (OCmodern) while acting to refresh the landscape surface and turnover forest ecosystems. Here the impact of landslides on organic carbon cycling in 13 river catchments spanning the length of the western Southern Alps, New Zealand is assessed over four decades. Spatial and temporal landslide maps are combined with the observed distribution and measured variability of hillslope OCmodern stocks. On average, it is estimated that ...


Short- and long-term effects of fire on carbon in US dry temperate forest systems

BioScience, Vol. 61, No. 2. (February 2011), pp. 139-146,


Forests sequester carbon from the atmosphere, and in so doing can mitigate the effects of climate change. Fire is a natural disturbance process in many forest systems that releases carbon back to the atmosphere. In dry temperate forests, fires historically burned with greater frequency and lower severity than they do today. Frequent fires consumed fuels on the forest floor and maintained open stand structures. Fire suppression has resulted in increased understory fuel loads and tree density; a change in structure that ...


A large carbon sink in the woody biomass of Northern forests

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 98, No. 26. (18 December 2001), pp. 14784-14789,


The terrestrial carbon sink, as of yet unidentified, represents 15–30% of annual global emissions of carbon from fossil fuels and industrial activities. Some of the missing carbon is sequestered in vegetation biomass and, under the Kyoto Protocol of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, industrialized nations can use certain forest biomass sinks to meet their greenhouse gas emissions reduction commitments. Therefore, we analyzed 19 years of data from remote-sensing spacecraft and forest inventories to identify the size and location ...


The carbon balance of tropical, temperate and boreal forests

Plant, Cell and Environment, Vol. 22, No. 6. (June 1999), pp. 715-740,


Forest biomes are major reserves for terrestrial carbon, and major components of global primary productivity. The carbon balance of forests is determined by a number of component processes of carbon acquisition and carbon loss, and a small shift in the magnitude of these processes would have a large impact on the global carbon cycle. In this paper, we discuss the climatic influences on the carbon dynamics of boreal, temperate and tropical forests by presenting a new synthesis of micrometeorological, ecophysiological and ...


Interactions of the carbon cycle, human activity, and the climate system: a research portfolio

Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, Vol. 2, No. 4. (October 2010), pp. 301-311,


There has never been a greater need for delivering timely and policy-relevant information on the magnitude and evolution of the human-disturbed carbon cycle. In this paper, we present the main thematic areas of an ongoing global research agenda and prioritize future needs based on relevance for the evolution of the carbon–climate–human system. These include firstly, the delivery of routine updates of global and regional carbon budgets, including its attribution of variability and trends to underlying drivers; secondly, the assessment of the ...


Decline in a dominant invertebrate species contributes to altered carbon cycling in a low-diversity soil ecosystem

Global Change Biology, Vol. 14, No. 8. (August 2008), pp. 1734-1744,


Low-diversity ecosystems cover large portions of the Earth's land surface, yet studies of climate change on ecosystem functioning typically focus on temperate ecosystems, where diversity is high and the effects of individual species on ecosystem functioning are difficult to determine. We show that a climate-induced decline of an invertebrate species in a low-diversity ecosystem could contribute to significant changes in carbon (C) cycling. Recent climate variability in the McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica is associated with changes in hydrology, biological productivity, ...

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