Integrating the evidence for a terrestrial carbon sink caused by increasing atmospheric CO2

Walker, Anthony P.; De Kauwe, Martin G.; Bastos, Ana; Belmecheri, Soumaya; Georgiou, Katerina; Keeling, Ralph F.; McMahon, Sean M.; Medlyn, Belinda E.; Moore, David J. P.; Norby, Richard J.; Zaehle, Sönke; Anderson-Teixeira, Kristina J.; Battipaglia, Giovanna; Brienen, Roel J. W.; Cabugao, Kristine G.; Cailleret, Maxime; Campbell, Elliott; Canadell, Josep G.; Ciais, Philippe; Craig, Matthew E.; ... (2021). Integrating the evidence for a terrestrial carbon sink caused by increasing atmospheric CO2. New Phytologist, 229(5), pp. 2413-2445. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd 10.1111/nph.16866

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Summary Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration ([CO2]) is increasing, which increases leaf-scale photosynthesis and intrinsic water-use efficiency. These direct responses have the potential to increase plant growth, vegetation biomass, and soil organic matter; transferring carbon from the atmosphere into terrestrial ecosystems (a carbon sink). A substantial global terrestrial carbon sink would slow the rate of [CO2] increase and thus climate change. However, ecosystem CO2 responses are complex or confounded by concurrent changes in multiple agents of global change and evidence for a [CO2]-driven terrestrial carbon sink can appear contradictory. Here we synthesize theory and broad, multidisciplinary evidence for the effects of increasing [CO2] (iCO2) on the global terrestrial carbon sink. Evidence suggests a substantial increase in global photosynthesis since pre-industrial times. Established theory, supported by experiments, indicates that iCO2 is likely responsible for about half of the increase. Global carbon budgeting, atmospheric data, and forest inventories indicate a historical carbon sink, and these apparent iCO2 responses are high in comparison to experiments and predictions from theory. Plant mortality and soil carbon iCO2 responses are highly uncertain. In conclusion, a range of evidence supports a positive terrestrial carbon sink in response to iCO2, albeit with uncertain magnitude and strong suggestion of a role for additional agents of global change.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Review Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute > Climate and Environmental Physics

UniBE Contributor:

Joos, Fortunat

Subjects:

500 Science > 530 Physics

ISSN:

0028-646X

Publisher:

John Wiley & Sons, Ltd

Language:

English

Submitter:

Fortunat Joos

Date Deposited:

11 Mar 2021 14:45

Last Modified:

11 Mar 2021 14:45

Publisher DOI:

10.1111/nph.16866

Uncontrolled Keywords:

beta factor carbon dioxide CO2 fertilization CO2-fertilization hypothesis free-air CO2 enrichment (FACE) global carbon cycle land–atmosphere feedback terrestrial ecosystems

BORIS DOI:

10.48350/153006

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/153006

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