U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

BER Research Highlights


Improving Carbon Fluxes in Earth System Models
Published: April 15, 2013
Posted: April 18, 2013

The extreme complexity of earth system models (ESMs) is necessary to represent the many processes underlying terrestrial carbon cycle processes. However, simple models may be useful to qualitatively understand projected dynamic responses to warming and to identify processes missing in the models. A U.S. Department of Energy scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory developed a simple model for vegetation carbon response by tracking the movement of the most statistically similar climate at every location in an ESM over past time and recalculating the carbon flux within the Fifth Climate Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) ESMs. The most important area of disagreement between this simple method and the full ESM calculations are in the southern boreal forest, where ESMs project carbon gains, while the simplified approach projects carbon losses. This finding suggests that potential carbon losses such as forest disturbance and mortality, known to be missing in the ESMs, need to be better represented to robustly predict the carbon response in this region.

Reference: Koven, C. 2013. “Boreal Carbon Loss Due to Poleward Shift in Low-Carbon Ecosystems,” Nature Geoscience, accepted.

Contact: Dorothy Koch, SC-23.1, (301) 903-0105
Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Earth and Environmental Systems Modeling
  • Research Area: Carbon Cycle, Nutrient Cycling

Division: SC-23.1 Climate and Environmental Sciences Division, BER

 

BER supports basic research and scientific user facilities to advance DOE missions in energy and environment. More about BER

Recent Highlights

Aug 24, 2019
New Approach for Studying How Microbes Influence Their Environment
A diverse group of scientists suggests a common framework and targeting of known microbial processes [more...]

Aug 08, 2019
Nutrient-Hungry Peatland Microbes Reduce Carbon Loss Under Warmer Conditions
Enzyme production in peatlands reduces carbon lost to respiration under future high temperatures. [more...]

Aug 05, 2019
Amazon Forest Response to CO2 Fertilization Dependent on Plant Phosphorus Acquisition
AmazonFACE Model Intercomparison. The Science Plant growth is dependent on the availabi [more...]

Jul 29, 2019
A Slippery Slope: Soil Carbon Destabilization
Carbon gain or loss depends on the balance between competing biological, chemical, and physical reac [more...]

Jul 15, 2019
Field Evaluation of Gas Analyzers for Measuring Ecosystem Fluxes
How gas analyzer type and correction method impact measured fluxes. The Science A side- [more...]

List all highlights (possible long download time)