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Journal Article

Terrestrial nitrogen feedbacks may accelerate future climate change


Zaehle,  Sönke
Terrestrial Biosphere Modelling , Dr. Sönke Zähle, Department Biogeochemical Integration, Prof. Dr. Martin Heimann, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Zaehle, S., Friedlingstein, P., & Friend, A. D. (2010). Terrestrial nitrogen feedbacks may accelerate future climate change. Geophysical Research Letters, 37, L01401. doi:10.1029/2009gl041345.

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The effects of nitrogen (N) constraints on future terrestrial carbon (C) dynamics are investigated using the O-CN land surface model. The model's responses to elevated [CO2] and soil warming agree well with observations made in ecosystem manipulation studies. N dynamics reduce terrestrial C storage due to CO2 fertilization over the period 1860-2100 by similar to 50% (342 Pg C) mainly in mid-high latitude ecosystems, compared to a simulation not accounting for N dynamics. Conversely, N dynamics reduce projected losses of land C due to increasing temperature by 16% (49 Pg C); however, this effect is prevalent only in mid-high latitude ecosystems. Despite synergistic interactions, the balance of these opposing effects is a significant reduction in future net land C storage. Terrestrial N dynamics thereby consistently increase atmospheric [CO2] in the year 2100 with a median value of 48 (41-55) ppmv, corresponding to an additional radiative forcing of 0.29 (0.28-0.34) W m(-2). Citation: Zaehle, S., P. Friedlingstein, and A. D. Friend (2010), Terrestrial nitrogen feedbacks may accelerate future climate change, Geophys. Res. Lett., 37, L01401, doi:10.1029/2009GL041345.