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  • 1
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    Unknown
    IOP Publishing
    In:  Environmental Research Letters, 13 (9). 094001.
    Publication Date: 2019-02-01
    Description: Permafrost soils in the high northern latitudes contain a substantial amount of carbon which is not decomposed due to frozen conditions. Climate change will lead to a thawing of at least part of the permafrost, implying that the stored carbon will become accessible to decomposition and be released to the atmosphere. We use a land surface model to quantify the amount of carbon released up until 2300 and determine the net carbon balance of the northern hemisphere permafrost region under climate warming following the RCP scenarios 2.6, 4.5, and 8.5. Here we show for the first time that the net carbon balance of the permafrost region is not just strongly dependent on the overall warming, but also on the CO2 concentration pathway. As a result moderate warming scenarios may counterintuitively lead to lower net carbon emissions from the permafrost region than low warming scenarios.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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  • 2
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    Unknown
    Elsevier
    In:  Quaternary International, 258 . pp. 30-44. Date online first: October 2011
    Publication Date: 2016-09-19
    Description: Climatic consequences of the Young Toba Tuff (YTT) eruption about 73 ka are a crucial argument in the current discussion about the fate of modern humans, especially in Africa and Asia. Earth system model (ESM) simulations of the YTT eruption are used to investigate its regional climate impacts, in particular focusing on areas relevant to human evolutionary issues during that time. Uncertainties concerning the stratospheric sulphur emission for the YTT eruption are addressed by comparing ESM simulations of a 100 times Pinatubo-like eruption as an upper and a 3 times Pinatubo-like (Tambora) eruption as a lower estimate. Information about transient changes in vegetation types after the YTT eruption are obtained by forcing an offline dynamical global vegetation model with the climate anomalies simulated by the ESM under both glacial and interglacial background climate conditions. The simulated temperature changes in those areas that were inhabited by humans suggest thermal discomfort, but not a real challenge for survival. Precipitation is reduced in all regions during the first two years but recovers quickly thereafter. Some catchments in these regions (Ganges/Brahmaputra, Nile), experience an over-compensation in precipitation during the third to fifth post-eruption years which is also reflected in anomalously strong river runoffs. Change in vegetation composition may have created the biggest pressure on humans, who had to adapt to more open space with fewer trees and more grasses for some decades especially in the African regions. The strongest environmental impacts of the YTT eruption are simulated under interglacial background conditions suggesting that the climate effects of the YTT eruption did not impact humans on a major scale and for a period long enough to have dramatic consequences for their survival.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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  • 3
    Publication Date: 2019-02-01
    Description: Highlights: • We provide comprehensive discussion of carbon cycle forcings in interglacials. • We compare transient simulations of climate-carbon cycle models through Holocene and Eemian interglacials. • We synthesyze role of forcings in previous and current study in one summary figure. Abstract: Changes in temperature and carbon dioxide during glacial cycles recorded in Antarctic ice cores are tightly coupled. However, this relationship does not hold for interglacials. While climate cooled towards the end of both the last (Eemian) and present (Holocene) interglacials, CO2 remained stable during the Eemian while rising in the Holocene. We identify and review twelve biogeochemical mechanisms of terrestrial (vegetation dynamics and CO2 fertilization, land use, wildfire, accumulation of peat, changes in permafrost carbon, subaerial volcanic outgassing) and marine origin (changes in sea surface temperature, carbonate compensation to deglaciation and terrestrial biosphere regrowth, shallow-water carbonate sedimentation, changes in the soft tissue pump, and methane hydrates), which potentially may have contributed to the CO2 dynamics during interglacials but which remain not well quantified. We use three Earth System Models (ESMs) of intermediate complexity to compare effects of selected mechanisms on the interglacial CO2 and δ13CO2 changes, focusing on those with substantial potential impacts: namely carbonate sedimentation in shallow waters, peat growth, and (in the case of the Holocene) human land use. A set of specified carbon cycle forcings could qualitatively explain atmospheric CO2 dynamics from 8 ka BP to the pre-industrial. However, when applied to Eemian boundary conditions from 126 to 115 ka BP, the same set of forcings led to disagreement with the observed direction of CO2 changes after 122 ka BP. This failure to simulate late-Eemian CO2 dynamics could be a result of the imposed forcings such as prescribed CaCO3 accumulation and/or an incorrect response of simulated terrestrial carbon to the surface cooling at the end of the interglacial. These experiments also reveal that key natural processes of interglacial CO2 dynamics – shallow water CaCO3 accumulation, peat and permafrost carbon dynamics - are not well represented in the current ESMs. Global-scale modeling of these long-term carbon cycle components started only in the last decade, and uncertainty in parameterization of these mechanisms is a main limitation in the successful modeling of interglacial CO2 dynamics.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed , info:eu-repo/semantics/article
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  • 4
    Publication Date: 2019-03-21
    Description: We have developed a new module to calculate soil organic carbon (SOC) accumulation in perennially frozen ground in the land surface model JSBACH. Running this offline version of MPI-ESM we have modelled long-term permafrost carbon accumulation and release from the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) to the pre-industrial (PI) age. Our simulated near-surface PI permafrost extent of 16.9 × 106 km2 is close to observational estimates. Glacial boundary conditions, especially ice sheet coverage, result in profoundly different spatial patterns of glacial permafrost extent. Deglacial warming leads to large-scale changes in soil temperatures, manifested in permafrost disappearance in southerly regions, and permafrost aggregation in formerly glaciated grid cells. In contrast to the large spatial shift in simulated permafrost occurrence, we infer an only moderate increase in total LGM permafrost area (18.3 × 106 km2) – together with pronounced changes in the depth of seasonal thaw. Earlier empirical reconstructions suggest a larger spread of permafrost towards more southerly regions under glacial conditions, but with a highly uncertain extent of non-continuous permafrost. Compared to a control simulation without describing the transport of SOC into perennially frozen ground, the implementation of our newly developed module for simulating permafrost SOC accumulation leads to a doubling of simulated LGM permafrost SOC storage (amounting to a total of ∼ 150 PgC). Despite LGM temperatures favouring a larger permafrost extent, simulated cold glacial temperatures – together with low precipitation and low CO2 levels – limit vegetation productivity and therefore prevent a larger glacial SOC build-up in our model. Changes in physical and biogeochemical boundary conditions during deglacial warming lead to an increase in mineral SOC storage towards the Holocene (168 PgC at PI), which is below observational estimates (575 PgC in continuous and discontinuous permafrost). Additional model experiments clarified the sensitivity of simulated SOC storage to model parameters, affecting long-term soil carbon respiration rates and simulated ALDs. Rather than a steady increase in carbon release from the LGM to PI as a consequence of deglacial permafrost degradation, our results suggest alternating phases of soil carbon accumulation and loss as an effect of dynamic changes in permafrost extent, ALDs, soil litter input, and heterotrophic respiration.
    Repository Name: EPIC Alfred Wegener Institut
    Type: Article , NonPeerReviewed
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  • 5
    Publication Date: 2018-09-14
    Description: We have developed a new module to calculate soil organic carbon (SOC) accumulation in perennially frozen ground in the land surface model JSBACH. Running this offline version of MPI-ESM we have modelled permafrost carbon accumulation and release from the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) to the Pre-industrial (PI). Our simulated near-surface PI permafrost extent of 16.9Miokm2 is close to observational evidence. Glacial boundary conditions, especially ice sheet coverage, result in profoundly different spatial patterns of glacial permafrost extent. Deglacial warming leads to large-scale changes in soil temperatures, manifested in permafrost disappearance in southerly regions, and permafrost aggregation in formerly glaciated grid cells. In contrast to the large spatial shift in simulated permafrost occurrence, we infer an only moderate increase of total LGM permafrost area (18.3Miokm2) – together with pronounced changes in the depth of seasonal thaw. Reconstructions suggest a larger spread of glacial permafrost towards more southerly regions, but with a highly uncertain extent of non-continuous permafrost. Compared to a control simulation without describing the transport of SOC into perennially frozen ground, the implementation of our newly developed module for simulating permafrost SOC accumulation leads to a doubling of simulated LGM permafrost SOC storage (amounting to a total of ~150PgC). Despite LGM temperatures favouring a larger permafrost extent, simulated cold glacial temperatures – together with low precipitation and low CO2 levels – limit vegetation productivity and therefore prevent a larger glacial SOC build-up in our model. Changes in physical and biogeochemical boundary conditions during deglacial warming lead to an increase in mineral SOC storage towards the Holocene (168PgC at PI), which is below observational estimates (575PgC in continuous and discontinuous permafrost). Additional model experiments clarified the sensitivity of simulated SOC storage to model parameters, affecting long-term soil carbon respiration rates and simulated active layer depths. Rather than a steady increase in carbon release from the LGM to PI as a consequence of deglacial permafrost degradation, our results suggest alternating phases of soil carbon accumulation and loss as an effect of dynamic changes in permafrost extent, active layer depths, soil litter input, and heterotrophic respiration.
    Type: Article , NonPeerReviewed
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  • 6
    Publication Date: 2016-12-14
    Description: Peatlands, wetlands with 〉 30 cm of organic sediment, cover more than 3 x 106 km2 of the earth surface and have been accumulating carbon and sediments throughout the Holocene. The location of peatland formation and accumulation has been dynamic over time, as peat formation in areas like Alaska and the West Siberian Lowlands preceded peat formation in Fennoscandia and Eastern North America due to more favorable climate for peat formation. Using the geographic distribution of peatlands in the past can indicate general climatic conditions, including hydroclimate, given that the underlying geology is well understood. Peatlands form under a variety of climatic conditions and landscape positions but do not persist under arid conditions, instead requiring either humid conditions or cold temperatures. However, peatlands may have existed in the past in areas not currently suitable for peatland formation and persistence, but where peats can be found at depth within the sediment column. Here we map the locations of histic paleosols, relict peat, and buried peats since the Last Glacial Maximum using a compilation of sites from previous studies. We compare these records of past peatland distribution to present-day peatland distribution. We evaluate regional differences in timing of peatland development in these buried peatlands to the development of extant peatlands. Finally, we compare the timing of past peatland extent to the to modeled paleoclimate during the Quaternary. In addition to implications for paleoclimate, these past peatlands are not well accounted for in present-day soil carbon stocks but could be an important component of deep soil carbon pools.
    Repository Name: EPIC Alfred Wegener Institut
    Type: Conference , NonPeerReviewed
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  • 7
    Publication Date: 2019-03-03
    Description: Glacial−interglacial variations in CO2 and methane in polar ice cores have been attributed, in part, to changes in global wetland extent, but the wetland distribution before the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM, 21 ka to 18 ka) remains virtually unknown. We present a study of global peatland extent and carbon (C) stocks through the last glacial cycle (130 ka to present) using a newly compiled database of 1,063 detailed stratigraphic records of peat deposits buried by mineral sediments, as well as a global peatland model. Quantitative agreement between modeling and observations shows extensive peat accumulation before the LGM in northern latitudes (〉40°N), particularly during warmer periods including the last interglacial (130 ka to 116 ka, MIS 5e) and the interstadial (57 ka to 29 ka, MIS 3). During cooling periods of glacial advance and permafrost formation, the burial of northern peatlands by glaciers and mineral sediments decreased active peatland extent, thickness, and modeled C stocks by 70 to 90% from warmer times. Tropical peatland extent and C stocks show little temporal variation throughout the study period. While the increased burial of northern peats was correlated with cooling periods, the burial of tropical peat was predominately driven by changes in sea level and regional hydrology. Peat burial by mineral sediments represents a mechanism for long-term terrestrial C storage in the Earth system. These results show that northern peatlands accumulate significant C stocks during warmer times, indicating their potential for C sequestration during the warming Anthropocene.
    Repository Name: EPIC Alfred Wegener Institut
    Type: Article , NonPeerReviewed , info:eu-repo/semantics/article
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  • 8
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    Unknown
    PANGAEA
    In:  Supplement to: Varma, Vidya; Prange, Matthias; Merkel, Ute; Kleinen, Thomas; Lohmann, Gerrit; Pfeiffer, Madlene; Renssen, Hans; Wagner, Axel; Wagner, Sebastian; Schulz, Michael (2012): Holocene evolution of the Southern Hemisphere westerly winds in transient simulations with global climate models. Climate of the Past, 8(2), 391-402, https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-8-391-2012
    Publication Date: 2019-05-25
    Description: The Southern Hemisphere Westerly Winds (SWW) have been suggested to exert a critical influence on global climate through wind-driven upwelling of deep water in the Southern Ocean and the potentially resulting atmospheric CO2 variations. The investigation of the temporal and spatial evolution of the SWW along with forcings and feedbacks remains a significant challenge in climate research. In this study, the evolution of the SWW under orbital forcing from the early Holocene (9 kyr BP) to pre-industrial modern times is examined with transient experiments using the comprehensive coupled global climate model CCSM3. Analyses of the model results suggest that the annual and seasonal mean SWW were subject to an overall strengthening and poleward shifting trend during the course of the early-to-late Holocene under the influence of orbital forcing, except for the austral spring season, where the SWW exhibited an opposite trend of shifting towards the equator.
    Type: Dataset
    Format: text/tab-separated-values, 20 data points
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  • 9
    Publication Date: 2019-07-13
    Description: Following the recent Global Carbon Project (GCP) synthesis of the decadal methane (CH4) budget over 2000- 2012, we analyse here the same dataset with a focus on quasi-decadal and inter-annual variability in CH4 emissions. The GCP dataset integrates results from top-down studies (exploiting atmospheric observations within an atmospheric inverse-modelling framework) and bottom-up models (including process-based models for estimating land surface emissions and atmospheric chemistry), inventories of anthropogenic emissions, and data-driven approaches. The annual global methane emissions from top-down studies, which by construction match the observed methane growth rate within their uncertainties, all show an increase in total methane emissions over the period 2000-2012, but this increase is not linear over the 13 years. Despite differences between individual studies, the mean emission anomaly of the top-down ensemble shows no significant trend in total methane emissions over the period 2000-2006, during the plateau of atmospheric methane mole fractions, and also over the period 2008-2012, during the renewed atmospheric methane increase. However, the top-down ensemble mean produces an emission shift between 2006 and 2008, leading to 22 [16-32] Tg CH4 yr(exp -1) higher methane emissions over the period 2008-2012 compared to 2002-2006. This emission increase mostly originated from the tropics, with a smaller contribution from mid-latitudes and no significant change from boreal regions. The regional contributions remain uncertain in top-down studies. Tropical South America and South and East Asia seem to contribute the most to the emission increase in the tropics. However, these two regions have only limited atmospheric measurements and remain therefore poorly constrained. The sectorial partitioning of this emission increase between the periods 2002-2006 and 2008-2012 differs from one atmospheric inversion study to another. However, all top-down studies suggest smaller changes in fossil fuel emissions (from oil, gas, and coal industries) compared to the mean of the bottom-up inventories included in this study. This difference is partly driven by a smaller emission change in China from the top-down studies compared to the estimate in the Emission Database for Global Atmospheric Research (EDGARv4.2) inventory, which should be revised to smaller values in a near future. We apply isotopic signatures to the emission changes estimated for individual studies based on five emission sectors and find that for six individual top-down studies (out of eight) the average isotopic signature of the emission changes is not consistent with the observed change in atmospheric 13CH4. However, the partitioning in emission change derived from the ensemble mean is consistent with this isotopic constraint. At the global scale, the top-down ensemble mean suggests that the dominant contribution to the resumed atmospheric CH4 growth after 2006 comes from microbial sources (more from agriculture and waste sectors than from natural wetlands), with an uncertain but smaller contribution from fossil CH4 emissions. In addition, a decrease in biomass burning emissions (in agreement with the biomass burning emission databases) makes the balance of sources consistent with atmospheric 13CH4 observations. In most of the top-down studies included here, OH concentrations are considered constant over the years (seasonal variations but without any inter-annual variability). As a result, the methane loss (in particular through OH oxidation) varies mainly through the change in methane concentrations and not its oxidants. For these reasons, changes in the methane loss could not be properly investigated in this study, although it may play a significant role in the recent atmospheric methane changes as briefly discussed at the end of the paper.
    Keywords: Earth Resources and Remote Sensing
    Type: GSFC-E-DAA-TN55361 , Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ISSN 1680-7316) (e-ISSN 1680-7324); 20; 18; 11135-11161
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  • 10
    Publication Date: 2019-07-13
    Description: Increasing atmospheric methane (CH4) concentrations have contributed to approximately 20% of anthropogenic climate change. Despite the importance of CH4 as a greenhouse gas, its atmospheric growth rate and dynamics over the past two decades, which include a stabilization period (1999-2006), followed by renewed growth starting in 2007, remain poorly understood. We provide an updated estimate of CH4 emissions from wetlands, the largest natural global CH4 source, for 2000-2012 using an ensemble of biogeochemical models constrained with remote sensing surface inundation and inventory-based wetland area data. Between 2000-2012, boreal wetland CH4 emissions increased by 1.2 Tg yr(sup -1) (-0.2-3.5 Tg yr(sup -1), tropical emissions decreased by 0.9 Tg yr(sup -1) (-3.2-1.1 Tg yr(sup -1), yet globally, emissions remained unchanged at 184 +/- 22 Tg yr(sup -1). Changing air temperature was responsible for increasing high-latitude emissions whereas declines in low-latitude wetland area decreased tropical emissions; both dynamics are consistent with features of predicted centennial-scale climate change impacts on wetland CH4 emissions. Despite uncertainties in wetland area mapping, our study shows that global wetland CH4 emissions have not contributed significantly to the period of renewed atmospheric CH4 growth, and is consistent with findings from studies that indicate some combination of increasing fossil fuel and agriculture-related CH4 emissions, and a decrease in the atmospheric oxidative sink.
    Keywords: Earth Resources and Remote Sensing
    Type: GSFC-E-DAA-TN51012 , Environmental Research Letters (e-ISSN 1748-9326); 12; 9; 094013
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