The influence of vegetation dynamics on anthropogenic climate change 1Max-Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg, Germany
27 Nov 2012
2Meteorological Institute, KlimaCampus, University of Hamburg, Germany
Received: 15 Jun 2012 – Published in Earth Syst. Dynam. Discuss.: 05 Jul 2012 Abstract. In this study, vegetation–climate and vegetation–carbon cycle interactions
during anthropogenic climate change are assessed by using
the Earth System Model of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology (MPI ESM)
that includes vegetation dynamics and an interactive carbon
cycle. We assume anthropogenic CO2 emissions according to
the RCP 8.5 scenario in the time period from 1850 to 2120. For the time after
2120, we assume zero emissions to evaluate the response of the stabilising
Earth System by 2300.
Revised: 22 Oct 2012 – Accepted: 12 Nov 2012 – Published: 27 Nov 2012
Our results suggest that vegetation dynamics have a considerable influence on
the changing global and regional climate. In the simulations, global mean
tree cover extends by 2300 due to increased atmospheric
CO2 concentration and global warming. Thus, land carbon
uptake is higher and atmospheric CO2 concentration is
lower by about 40 ppm when considering dynamic vegetation compared to the
static pre-industrial vegetation cover. The reduced atmospheric
CO2 concentration is equivalent to a lower global mean
temperature. Moreover, biogeophysical effects of vegetation cover shifts
influence the climate on a regional scale. Expanded tree cover in the
northern high latitudes results in a reduced albedo and additional warming.
In the Amazon region, declined tree cover causes a regional warming due to
reduced evapotranspiration. As a net effect, vegetation dynamics have a
slight attenuating effect on global climate change as the global climate
cools by 0.22 K due to natural vegetation cover shifts in 2300.
Citation: Port, U., Brovkin, V., and Claussen, M.: The influence of vegetation dynamics on anthropogenic climate change, Earth Syst. Dynam., 3, 233-243, doi:10.5194/esd-3-233-2012, 2012.