Nitrogen & Rapid Rise of CO2

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“… atmospheric CO2 may increase more rapidly in the future than
carbon-only models predict. ”
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Nature Geoscience
VOL 1 | OCTOBER 2008 |

CARBON CYCLE
Fertilizing change

Carbon cycle-climate feedbacks are expected to diminish the size of
the terrestrial carbon sink over the next century. Model simulations
suggest that nitrogen availability is likely to play a key role in
mediating this response

First paragraph

“Undisturbed terrestrial ecosystems soak up 2.8 Gt of carbon per year,
equivalent to 30% of total anthropogenic CO2 emissions. However, this
carbon sink is expected to weaken with global warming: climate
simulations that incorporate carbon cycle-climate feedbacks predict
significant decreases in terrestrial uptake of atmospheric carbon dioxide
over the next century, and thus a positive feedback between the carbon
cycle and climate. Importantly, however, these coupled carbon cycle-climate
models have ignored the impacts of nitrogen on the terrestrial carbon
sink. In a recent article published in the Journal of Climate, Sokolov and
co-workers use a climate model to show that carbon-nitrogen interactions
significantly reduce netterrestrial carbon uptake, even though, at least for
small to moderate climate warming, enhanced nitrogen availability stimulates
plant growth and changes the sign of the carbon cycle-climate feedback. This
suggests that atmospheric CO2 may increase more rapidly in the future than
carbon-only models predict. ”

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