Publication Abstracts

Prentice and Fung 1990

Prentice, K.C., and I.Y. Fung, 1990: The sensitivity of terrestrial carbon storage to climate change. Nature, 346, 48-50, doi:10.1038/346048a0.

The high correlation found between atmospheric CO2 concentration and temperature during the past 160 kyr implicates CO2 as an important driving force behind changes in palaeoclimate. Changes in biological processes and circulation patterns in the oceans are believed to drive glacial-to-interglacial changes in CO2 and thus in climate. Here we estimate the role of the terrestrial biosphere in controlling atmospheric CO2 levels during climate perturbations. By considering the coupling between vegetation distributions and climate, we perform simulations to calculate the global geographical distribution of vegetation during the last glacial maximum, 18 kyr ago. The known changes in sea level at this time, together with the simulated climate-driven spatial arrangement of vegetation, result in a mass transfer of carbon from the terrestrial biosphere to the atmosphere ranging from 30×109 tonnes (30 Gt, corresponding to 15 p.p.m. CO2) to -50 Gt (25 p.p.m.). Thus, although the biosphere may have contributed to the decrease in atmospheric CO2 of 80 p.p.m. known to have occurred at 18 kyr, it does not seem to have been a dominant factor. For simulations run with twice the present-day CO2 levels, strong feedbacks appear which remove 235 Gt of carbon (128 p.p.m. CO2) from the atmosphere.

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BibTeX Citation

  author={Prentice, K. C. and Fung, I. Y.},
  title={The sensitivity of terrestrial carbon storage to climate change},

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RIS Citation

ID  - pr01000b
AU  - Prentice, K. C.
AU  - Fung, I. Y.
PY  - 1990
TI  - The sensitivity of terrestrial carbon storage to climate change
JA  - Nature
VL  - 346
SP  - 48
EP  - 50
DO  - 10.1038/346048a0
ER  -

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