Historical CO2 emissions from land-use and land-cover change and their uncertainty

Gasser T ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4882-2647, Crepin L, Quilcaille Y, Houghton RA, Ciais P, & Obersteiner M ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6981-2769 (2020). Historical CO2 emissions from land-use and land-cover change and their uncertainty. Biogeosciences 17: 4075-4101. DOI:10.5194/bg-2020-33.

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Project: Effects of phosphorus limitations on Life, Earth system and Society (IMBALANCE-P, FP7 610028)

Abstract

Emissions from land-use and land-cover change are a key component of the global carbon cycle. Models are required to disentangle these emissions and the land carbon sink, however, because only the sum of both can be physically observed. Their assessment within the yearly community-wide effort known as the Global Carbon Budget remains a major difficulty, because it combines two lines of evidence that are inherently inconsistent: bookkeeping models and dynamic global vegetation models. Here, we propose a unifying approach relying on a bookkeeping model that embeds processes and parameters calibrated on dynamic global vegetation models, and the use of an empirical constraint. We estimate global CO2 emissions from land-use and land-cover change were 1.36 ± 0.42 Pg C yr−1 (1-σ range) on average over 2009–2018, and 206 ± 57 Pg C cumulated over 1750–2018. We also estimate that land-cover change induced a global loss of additional sink capacity – that is, a foregone carbon removal, not part of the emissions – of 0.68 ± 0.57 Pg C yr−1 and 32 ± 23 Pg C over the same periods, respectively. Additionally, we provide a breakdown of our results' uncertainty following aspects that include the land-use and land-cover change data sets used as input, and the model's biogeochemical parameters. We find the biogeochemical uncertainty dominates our global and regional estimates, with the exception of tropical regions in which the input data dominates. Our analysis further identifies key sources of uncertainty, and suggests ways to strengthen the robustness of future Global Carbon Budgets.

Item Type: Article
Research Programs: Ecosystems Services and Management (ESM)
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 02 Jul 2020 08:54
Last Modified: 17 Aug 2020 11:22
URI: http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/16535

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