Climatic Change

, Volume 67, Issue 2, pp 147-160

First online:

Quantifying, Understanding and Managing the Carbon Cycle in the Next Decades

  • Josep G. CanadellAffiliated withCSIRO Division of Atmospheric Research, Global Carbon Project, Earth Observation Centre Email author 
  • , Philippe CiaisAffiliated withLaboratorie des Sciences du Climat et du l’Environnement, Centre d’Etudes de l’Orme des Merisiers - Bat 709
  • , Peter CoxAffiliated withHadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research, Met Office
  • , Martin HeimannAffiliated withMax-Planck-Institut for Biogeochemistry

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The human perturbation of the carbon cycle via the release of fossil CO2 and land use change is now well documented and agreed to be the principal cause of climate change. We address three fundamental research areas that require major development if we were to provide policy relevant knowledge for managing the carbon-climate system over the next few decades. The three research areas are: (i) carbon observations and multiple constraint data assimilation; (ii) vulnerability of the carbon-climate system; and (iii) carbon sequestration and sustainable development.