, Volume 89, Issue 1-2, pp 9-24
Date: 25 Oct 2006

Carbon cycle–climate feedback sensitivity to parameter changes of a zero-dimensional terrestrial carbon cycle scheme in a climate model of intermediate complexity

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Summary

A series of sensitivity runs have been performed with a coupled climate–carbon cycle model. The climatic component consists of the climate model of intermediate complexity IAP RAS CM. The carbon cycle component is formulated as a simple zero-dimensional model. Its terrestrial part includes gross photosynthesis, and plant and soil respirations, depending on temperature via Q 10-relationships (Lenton, 2000). Oceanic uptake of anthropogenic carbon is formulated is a bi-linear function of tendencies of atmospheric concentration of CO2 and globally averaged annual mean sea surface temperature. The model is forced by the historical industrial and land use emissions of carbon dioxide for the second half of the 19th and the whole of the 20th centuries, and by the emission scenario SRES A2 for the 21st century. For the standard set of the governing parameters, the model realistically captures the main features of the Earth’s observed carbon cycle. A large number of simulations have been performed, perturbing the governing parameters of the terrestrial carbon cycle model. In addition, the climate part is perturbed, either by zeroing or artificially increasing the climate model sensitivity to the doubling of the atmospheric CO2 concentration. Performing the above mentioned perturbations, it is possible to mimic most of the range found in the C4MIP simulations. In this way, a wide range of the climate–carbon cycle feedback strengths is obtained, differing even in the sign of the feedback. If the performed simulations are subjected to the constraints of a maximum allowed deviation of the simulated atmospheric CO2 concentration (pCO2(a)) from the observed values and correspondence between simulated and observed terrestrial uptakes, it is possible to narrow the corresponding uncertainty range. Among these constraints, considering pCO2(a) and uptakes are both important. However, the terrestrial uptakes constrain the simulations more effectively than the oceanic ones. These constraints, while useful, are still unable to rule out both extremely strong positive and modest negative climate–carbon cycle feedback.