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Akihiko Ito and Motoko Inatomi

Abstract

Carbon and water cycles are intimately coupled in terrestrial ecosystems, and water-use efficiency (WUE; carbon gain at the expense of unit water loss) is one of the key parameters of ecohydrology and ecosystem management. In this study, the carbon cycle and water budget of terrestrial ecosystems were simulated using a process-based ecosystem model called Vegetation Integrative Simulator for Trace Gases (VISIT), and WUE was evaluated: WUEC, defined as gross primary production (GPP) divided by transpiration; and WUES, defined as net primary production (NPP) divided by actual evapotranspiration. Total annual WUEC and WUES of the terrestrial biosphere were estimated as 8.0 and 0.92 g C kg−1 H2O, respectively, for the period 1995–2004. Spatially, WUEC and WUES were only weakly correlated. WUES ranged from <0.2 g C kg−1 H2O in arid ecosystems to >1.5 g C kg−1 H2O in boreal and alpine ecosystems. The historical simulation implied that biospheric WUE increased from 1901 to 2005 (WUEC, +7%; WUES, +12%) mainly as a result of the augmentation of productivity in parallel with the atmospheric carbon dioxide increase. Country-based analyses indicated that total NPP is largely determined by water availability, and human appropriation of NPP is also related to water resources to a considerable extent. These results have implications for 1) responses of the carbon cycle to the anticipated global hydrological changes, 2) responses of the water budget to changes in the terrestrial carbon cycle, and 3) ecosystem management based on optimized resource use.

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Makoto Saito, Akihiko Ito, and Shamil Maksyutov

Abstract

This study evaluates a modeled precipitation field and examines how its bias affects the modeling of the regional and global terrestrial carbon cycle. Spatial and temporal variations in precipitation produced by the Japanese 25-yr reanalysis (JRA-25)/Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) Climate Data Assimilation System (JCDAS) were compared with two large-scale observation datasets. JRA-25/JCDAS captures the major distribution patterns of annual precipitation and the features of the seasonal cycle. Notable problems include over- and undersimulated areas of precipitation amount in South America, Africa, and Southeast Asia in the 30°N–30°S domain and a large discrepancy in the number of rainfall days. The latter problem was corrected by using a stochastic model based on the probability of the occurrence of dry and wet day series; the monthly precipitation amount was then scaled by the comparison data. Overall, the corrected precipitation performed well in reproducing the spatial distribution of and temporal variations in total precipitation. Both the corrected and original precipitation data were used to simulate regional and global terrestrial carbon cycles using the prognostic biosphere model Vegetation Integrative Simulator for Trace Gases (VISIT). Following bias correction, the model results showed differences in zonal mean photosynthesis uptake and respiration release ranging from −2.0 to +3.3 Pg C yr−1, compared with the original data. The difference in the global terrestrial net carbon exchange rate was 0.3 Pg C yr−1, reflecting the compensation of coincident increases or decreases in carbon sequestration and respiration loss. At the regional scale, the ecosystem carbon cycle and canopy structure, including seasonal variations in autotrophic and heterotrophic respiration and total biomass, were strongly influenced by the input precipitation data. The results highlight the need for precise precipitation data when estimating the global terrestrial carbon balance.

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Tomohiro Hajima, Kaoru Tachiiri, Akihiko Ito, and Michio Kawamiya

Abstract

Carbon uptake by land and ocean as a biogeochemical response to increasing atmospheric CO2 concentration is called concentration–carbon feedback and is one of the carbon cycle feedbacks of the global climate. This feedback can have a major impact on climate projections with an uncertain magnitude. This paper focuses on the concentration–carbon feedback in terrestrial ecosystems, analyzing the mechanisms and strength of the feedback reproduced by Earth system models (ESMs) participating in phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project. It is confirmed that multiple ESMs driven by a common scenario show a large spread of concentration–carbon feedback strength among models. Examining the behavior of the carbon fluxes and pools of the models showed that the sensitivity of plant productivity to elevated CO2 is likely the key to reduce the spread, although increasing CO2 stimulates other carbon cycle processes. Simulations with a single ESM driven by different CO2 pathways demonstrated that carbon accumulation increases in scenarios with slower CO2 increase rates. Using both numerical and analytical approaches, the study showed that the difference among CO2 scenarios is a time lag of terrestrial carbon pools in response to atmospheric CO2 increase—a high rate of CO2 increase results in smaller carbon accumulations than that in an equilibrium state of a given CO2 concentration. These results demonstrate that the current quantities for concentration–carbon feedback are incapable of capturing the feedback dependency on the carbon storage state and suggest that the concentration feedback can be larger for future scenarios where the CO2 growth rate is reduced.

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Hanqin Tian, Jia Yang, Chaoqun Lu, Rongting Xu, Josep G. Canadell, Robert B. Jackson, Almut Arneth, Jinfeng Chang, Guangsheng Chen, Philippe Ciais, Stefan Gerber, Akihiko Ito, Yuanyuan Huang, Fortunat Joos, Sebastian Lienert, Palmira Messina, Stefan Olin, Shufen Pan, Changhui Peng, Eri Saikawa, Rona L. Thompson, Nicolas Vuichard, Wilfried Winiwarter, Sönke Zaehle, Bowen Zhang, Kerou Zhang, and Qiuan Zhu

Abstract

Nitrous oxide (N2O) is an important greenhouse gas and also an ozone-depleting substance that has both natural and anthropogenic sources. Large estimation uncertainty remains on the magnitude and spatiotemporal patterns of N2O fluxes and the key drivers of N2O production in the terrestrial biosphere. Some terrestrial biosphere models have been evolved to account for nitrogen processes and to show the capability to simulate N2O emissions from land ecosystems at the global scale, but large discrepancies exist among their estimates primarily because of inconsistent input datasets, simulation protocol, and model structure and parameterization schemes. Based on the consistent model input data and simulation protocol, the global N2O Model Intercomparison Project (NMIP) was initialized with 10 state-of-the-art terrestrial biosphere models that include nitrogen (N) cycling. Specific objectives of NMIP are to 1) unravel the major N cycling processes controlling N2O fluxes in each model and identify the uncertainty sources from model structure, input data, and parameters; 2) quantify the magnitude and spatial and temporal patterns of global and regional N2O fluxes from the preindustrial period (1860) to present and attribute the relative contributions of multiple environmental factors to N2O dynamics; and 3) provide a benchmarking estimate of N2O fluxes through synthesizing the multimodel simulation results and existing estimates from ground-based observations, inventories, and statistical and empirical extrapolations. This study provides detailed descriptions for the NMIP protocol, input data, model structure, and key parameters, along with preliminary simulation results. The global and regional N2O estimation derived from the NMIP is a key component of the global N2O budget synthesis activity jointly led by the Global Carbon Project and the International Nitrogen Initiative.

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