Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Unaccounted feedbacks from climate-induced ecosystem changes may increase future climate warming

Date:
July 26, 2010
Source:
University of Helsinki
Summary:
In addition to the carbon cycle-climate interactions that have been a major focus of modeling work in recent years, other biogeochemistry feedbacks could be at least equally important for future climate change. Experts argue that it is important to include these feedbacks in the next generation of Earth system models.

The terrestrial biosphere regulates atmospheric composition, and hence climate. Projections of future climate changes already account for "carbon-climate feedbacks," which means that more CO2 is released from soils in a warming climate than is taken up by plants due to photosynthesis. Climate changes will also lead to increases in the emission of CO2 and methane from wetlands, nitrous oxides from soils, volatile organic compounds from forests, and trace gases and soot from fires. All these emissions affect atmospheric chemistry, including the amount of ozone in the lower atmosphere, where it acts as a powerful greenhouse gas as well as a pollutant toxic to people and plants.

Although our understanding of other feedbacks associated with climate-induced ecosystem changes is improving, the impact of these changes is not yet accounted for in climate-change modelling. An international consortium of scientists, led by Almut Arneth from Lund University, has estimated the importance of these unaccounted "biogeochemical feedbacks" in an article that appears in Nature Geoscience. They estimate a total additional radiative forcing by the end of the 21st century that is large enough to offset a significant proportion of the cooling due to carbon uptake by the biosphere as a result of fertilization of plant growth.

There are large uncertainties associated in these feedbacks, especially in how changes in one biogeochemical cycle will affect the other cycles, for example how changes in nitrogen cycling will affect carbon uptake. Nevertheless, as the authors point out, palaeo-environmental records show that ecosystems and trace gas emissions have responded to past climate change within decades. Contemporary observations also show that ecosystem processes respond rapidly to changes in climate and the atmospheric environment.

Thus, in addition to the carbon cycle-climate interactions that have been a major focus of modelling work in recent years, other biogeochemistry feedbacks could be at least equally important for future climate change. The authors of the Nature Geoscience article argue that it is important to include these feedbacks in the next generation of Earth system models.

This work was promoted by iLEAPS (Integrated Land Ecosystem and Atmospheric Processes), a core project of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme, and developed through workshops supported by the Finnish Cultural Programme.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Helsinki. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. A. Arneth, S. P. Harrison, S. Zaehle, K. Tsigaridis, S. Menon, P. J. Bartlein, J. Feichter, A. Korhola, M. Kulmala, D. O'Donnell, G. Schurgers, S. Sorvari & T. Vesala. Terrestrial biogeochemical feedbacks in the climate system. Nature Geoscience, July 25, 2010 DOI: 10.1038/ngeo905

Cite This Page:

University of Helsinki. "Unaccounted feedbacks from climate-induced ecosystem changes may increase future climate warming." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 July 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100725142610.htm>.
University of Helsinki. (2010, July 26). Unaccounted feedbacks from climate-induced ecosystem changes may increase future climate warming. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100725142610.htm
University of Helsinki. "Unaccounted feedbacks from climate-induced ecosystem changes may increase future climate warming." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100725142610.htm (accessed August 2, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Pyrenees Orphan Bear Cub Gets Brand New Home

Pyrenees Orphan Bear Cub Gets Brand New Home

AFP (Aug. 1, 2014) The discovery of a bear cub in the Pyrenees mountains made headlines in April 2014. Despire several attempts to find the animal's mother, the cub remained alone. Now, the Pyrenees Conservation Foundation has constructed an enclosure. Duration: 00:31 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rare Whale Fossil Pulled from Calif. Backyard

Rare Whale Fossil Pulled from Calif. Backyard

AP (Aug. 1, 2014) A rare whale fossil has been pulled from a Southern California backyard. The 16- to 17-million-year-old baleen whale fossil is one of about 20 baleen whale fossils known to exist. (Aug. 1) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Greenpeace Ship Arctic Sunrise Free to Leave Russia

Greenpeace Ship Arctic Sunrise Free to Leave Russia

AFP (Aug. 1, 2014) Greenpeace's ship Arctic Sunrise, held in custody by the Russian authorities since September last year, has departed the Russian city of Murmansk en route for its home port of Amsterdam. Duration: 01:04 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

AP (July 31, 2014) Seacrest Wolf Preserve on the northern Florida panhandle allows more than 10,000 visitors each year to get up close and personal with Arctic and British Columbian Wolves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins