Presenters: Deborah Nicole Huntzinger, School of Earth & Sustainability, Northern Arizona University, Abhishek Chatterjee, Universities Space Research Association, and NASA Global Modeling and Assimilation Office
Rising atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations, primarily due to fossil fuel emissions and land-use change, are expected to continue to drive changes in both climate and the terrestrial and ocean carbon cycles. Over the past two-to-three decades, there has been considerable effort to quantify terrestrial and oceanic system responses to environmental change, and project how these systems will interact with, and influence, future atmospheric CO2 concentrations and climate. In this presentation, we will summarize key findings related to projected changes to the North American carbon cycle, and the potential drivers and associated consequences of these changes, as reported in Chapter 19 of the Second State of the Carbon Cycle Report (SOCCR-2). The findings not only capture projections of emissions from fossil fuel and changes in land cover and land use, but also highlight the decline in future carbon uptake capacity of North American carbon reservoirs and soil carbon losses from the Northern high-latitudes. Such a discussion of future carbon cycle changes is new in SOCCR-2. It underlines the progress made since the release of the First State of the Carbon Cycle Report (SOCCR-1) in 2007 in identifying the vulnerability of key carbon pools and their co-evolution with changing climatic conditions. We will also discuss key knowledge gaps and outline a set of future research priorities, including both monitoring and modeling activities, that are necessary to improve projections of future changes to the North American carbon cycle and associated adaptation and resource-management decisions.
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