Seminar: Alexander Winkler


  • Datum: 14.03.2024
  • Uhrzeit: 14:00
  • Vortragende(r): Alexander Winkler
  • (Reichstein department)
  • Ort: Max-Planck-Institut für Biogeochemie
  • Raum: Hörsaal (C0.001)
Carbon system state determines warming potential of emissions

Current strategies to hold surface warming below a certain level, e.g., 1.5 or 2 °C, advocate limiting total anthropogenic cumulative carbon emissions to ∼0.9 or ∼1.25 Eg C, respectively. These allowable emission budgets are based on a near-linear relationship between cumulative emissions and warming identified in various modeling efforts. Here we test this proportionality in specially designed simulations with a latest-generation Earth system model that includes an interactive carbon cycle with updated terrestrial ecosystem processes, and a suite of CMIP simulations (ZecMIP, ScenarioMIP). We find that atmospheric CO2 concentrations can differ by ∼100 ppmv and surface warming by ∼0.31°C (0.46 °C over land) for the same cumulative emissions (≈1.2 Eg C, 2°C approximate carbon budget). CO2 concentration and warming per 1 Eg of emitted carbon (Transient Climate Response to Cumulative Carbon Emissions; TCRE) depend not just on total emissions, but also on the duration and time sequence of emissions. The time dependency clearly arises due to lagged carbon sequestration processes in the oceans and specifically on land, viz., ecological succession, land-cover, and

demographic changes, etc., which are still poorly represented in most ESMs. This implies a temporally evolving state of the carbon system, but one which surprisingly apportions carbon into land and ocean sinks in a manner that is independent of the emission pathway. Therefore, even though TCRE differs for different pathways with the same total emissions, it is roughly constant when related to the state of the carbon system, i.e., the amount of carbon stored in surface sinks. Efforts to better understand the state of the carbon system with observations and refined models are needed to accurately project the impact of future emissions.

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