Carbon cycle uncertainty in the Alaskan Arctic

Fisher, J.B.; Sikka, M.; Oechel, W.C.; Huntzinger, D.N.; Melton, J.R.; Koven, C.D.; Ahlstrom, A.; Arain, M.A.; Baker, I.; Chen, J.M.; Ciais, P.; Davidson, C.; Dietze, M.; El-Masri, B.; Hayes, D.; Huntingford, C.; Jain, A.K.; Levy, P.; Lomas, M.; Poulter, B.; Price, D.; Sahoo, A.K.; Schaefer, K.; Tian, H.; Tomolleri, E.; Verbeeck, H.; Viovy, N.; Wania, R.; Zeng, N.; Miller, C.E.. 2014 Carbon cycle uncertainty in the Alaskan Arctic. Biogeosciences, 11 (15). 4271-4288.

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Climate change is leading to a disproportionately large warming in the high northern latitudes, but the magnitude and sign of the future carbon balance of the Arctic are highly uncertain. Using 40 terrestrial biosphere models for the Alaskan Arctic from four recent model intercomparison projects – NACP (North American Carbon Program) site and regional syntheses, TRENDY (Trends in net land atmosphere carbon exchanges), and WETCHIMP (Wetland and Wetland CH4 Inter-comparison of Models Project) – we provide a baseline of terrestrial carbon cycle uncertainty, defined as the multi-model standard deviation (o) for each quantity that follows. Mean annual absolute uncertainty was largest for soil carbon (14.0±9.2 kgCm−2), then gross primary production (GPP) (0.22±0.50 kgCm−2 yr−1), ecosystem respiration (Re) (0.23±0.38 kgCm−2 yr−1), net primary production (NPP) (0.14±0.33 kgCm−2 yr−1), autotrophic respiration (Ra) (0.09±0.20 kgCm−2 yr−1), heterotrophic respiration (Rh) (0.14±0.20 kgCm−2 yr−1), net ecosystem exchange (NEE) (−0.01±0.19 kgCm−2 yr−1), and CH4 flux (2.52±4.02 g CH4 m−2 yr−1). There were no consistent spatial patterns in the larger Alaskan Arctic and boreal regional carbon stocks and fluxes, with some models showing NEE for Alaska as a strong carbon sink, others as a strong carbon source, while still others as carbon neutral. Finally, AmeriFlux data are used at two sites in the Alaskan Arctic to evaluate the regional patterns; observed seasonal NEE was captured within multi-model uncertainty. This assessment of carbon cycle uncertainties may be used as a baseline for the improvement of experimental and modeling activities, as well as a reference for future trajectories in carbon cycling with climate change in the Alaskan Arctic and larger boreal region.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Biogeochemistry > BGC Topic 2 - Biogeochemistry and Climate System Processes > BGC - 2.3 - Determine land-climate feedback processes to improve climate model predictions
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Reynard
ISSN: 1726-4170
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - full text available via official URL link
NORA Subject Terms: Earth Sciences
Meteorology and Climatology
Atmospheric Sciences
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Date made live: 03 Mar 2016 11:58 +0 (UTC)

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