finding 11.4 : key-message-11-4

Some Earth System Models project that high-latitude carbon releases will be offset largely by increased plant uptake. However, these findings are not always supported by empirical measurements or other assessments, suggesting that structural features of many models are still limited in representing Arctic and boreal zone processes (very high confidence, very likely).

This finding is from chapter 11 of Second State of the Carbon Cycle Report (SOCCR2): A Sustained Assessment Report.

Description of evidence base: Key Finding 4 is supported by observational and modeling evidence from a range of literature sources. Modeling results are based on a permafrost carbon model intercomparison project that summarizes the results for 1960 to 2009 for 15 Earth System Models (McGuire et al., 2016) and on an earlier model intercomparison of dynamic global vegetation models for high latitudes (Qian et al., 2010). Observational data include tundra and boreal normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) trend studies (Beck and Goetz 2011; Epstein et al., 2015) and expert assessment (Abbott et al., 2016).

New information and remaining uncertainties: NDVI trends represent changes in canopy and thus are not directly measuring carbon pools; observational datasets at regional to continental scales in the Arctic are scarce, making model evaluation difficult.

Assessment of confidence based on evidence: There is high confidence that model projections are not always in agreement with observational constraints about plant carbon uptake offset.

This finding was derived from figure P.2: P.2. Likelihood and Confidence Evaluation

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