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

BER Research Highlights


Large Divergence of Satellite and Earth System Model Estimates of Global Terrestrial CO2 Fertilization
Published: December 07, 2015
Posted: May 06, 2016

Atmospheric mass balance analyses suggest that terrestrial carbon storage is increasing, partially abating the atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) growth rate, although the continued strength of this ecosystem service remains uncertain. This research presents a new, satellite-derived global terrestrial Net Primary Production (NNP) dataset, which shows a significant increase in NPP from 1982 to 2011. However, comparison against Earth system model (ESM) estimates reveals a significant divergence, with satellite-derived increases (2.8 ± 1.5%) less than half of ESM-derived increases (7.60 ± 1.67%) over the 30-year period. By isolating the CO2 fertilization effect and comparing against a synthesis of available free-air CO2 enrichment data, the researchers provide evidence that much of the discrepancy may be due to an over-sensitivity of ESMs to atmospheric CO2, potentially reflecting an under-representation of climatic feedbacks and a lack of representation of nutrient constraints. Understanding of CO2 fertilization effects on NPP needs rapid improvement to enable more accurate projections of future carbon cycle-climate feedbacks. The study suggests that better integration of modeling, satellite, and experimental approaches offers a promising way forward.

Reference: Smith, W. K., S. C. Reed, C. C. Cleveland, A. P. Ballantyne,W. R. L. Anderegg, W. R.Wieder, Y. Y. Liu, and S. W. Running. 2015 “Large Divergence of Satellite and Earth System Model Estimates of Global Terrestrial CO2 Fertilization,” Nature Climate Change 6, 306-10. DOI: 10.1038/nclimate2879. (Reference link)

Contact: Jared DeForest, SC-23, (301) 903-3251, Daniel Stover, SC-23.1, (301) 903-0289
Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Earth and Environmental Systems Modeling
  • Research Area: Terrestrial Ecosystem Science
  • Research Area: Carbon Cycle, Nutrient Cycling
  • Research Area: Free Air CO2 Enrichment (FACE)

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)