Journal of the Meteorological Society of Japan. Ser. II
Online ISSN : 2186-9057
Print ISSN : 0026-1165
Nonlinearity of Land Carbon Sensitivities in Climate Change Simulations
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2012 Volume 90A Pages 259-274


In the climate-carbon cycle system, the terrestrial ecosystem feedback is significant. In studies on feedback analysis, the ecosystem feedback is divided into the sensitivity of carbon storage to atmospheric CO2 concentration (βL), and temperature change (γL). Although ecosystems include many nonlinear processes, the scenario-and time-dependency of βL and βL have not been explicitly discussed. To check the validity of this simplification and its robustness, we carried out two, 1% per year (p.a.) increase and RCP4.5 scenario, experiments, using a process-based terrestrial ecosystem model forced by an existing GCM output, combined with an energy moisture balance model for the latter experiment, with 300 ensemble members perturbing twelve important and a priori unconstrained parameters. In the 1% p.a. experiment, βL peaked around 500 ppm and then gradually decreased with increasing CO2 level, while βL decreased with some inter-annual variability as temperature increases. The time-dependency of βL was small (at least for CO2 level > 550 ppm), but that of βL was significant, and the effect of this was larger than that of the nonlinear term (i.e., combined effect of CO2 and temperature change). The scenario-dependency is also significant, but the effect in the estimated carbon uptake was smaller than that by the time-dependency. By investigating the background of this effect, we found that in the 1% p.a. CO2 increase scenario, the maximum photosynthesis rate and specific leaf area (SLA, leaf area per unit dry mass) had the most significant contribution to both of βL and βL, and the contributions are dependent on the climate state (i.e., temperature and atmospheric CO2 level). For carbon uptake in both experiments, SLA and coefficient of plant respiration were most significant. We also attempted to constrain the ensemble members, and found that for net primary production, soil carbon and soil respiration, the default parameter set was already well-tuned, while observations of leaf area index (LAI) strongly constrains βL, βL, airborne fraction and ecosystem carbon balance as the default model overestimated the LAI.

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© 2012 by Meteorological Society of Japan
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