Randerson James T.

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James T.

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  • Article
    Carbon-nitrogen interactions regulate climate-carbon cycle feedbacks : results from an atmosphere-ocean general circulation model
    (Copernicus Publications on behalf of the European Geosciences Union, 2009-10-08) Thornton, Peter E. ; Doney, Scott C. ; Lindsay, Keith ; Moore, J. Keith ; Mahowald, Natalie M. ; Randerson, James T. ; Fung, Inez Y. ; Lamarque, J.-F. ; Feddema, J. J. ; Lee, Y.-H.
    Inclusion of fundamental ecological interactions between carbon and nitrogen cycles in the land component of an atmosphere-ocean general circulation model (AOGCM) leads to decreased carbon uptake associated with CO2 fertilization, and increased carbon uptake associated with warming of the climate system. The balance of these two opposing effects is to reduce the fraction of anthropogenic CO2 predicted to be sequestered in land ecosystems. The primary mechanism responsible for increased land carbon storage under radiatively forced climate change is shown to be fertilization of plant growth by increased mineralization of nitrogen directly associated with increased decomposition of soil organic matter under a warming climate, which in this particular model results in a negative gain for the climate-carbon feedback. Estimates for the land and ocean sink fractions of recent anthropogenic emissions are individually within the range of observational estimates, but the combined land plus ocean sink fractions produce an airborne fraction which is too high compared to observations. This bias is likely due in part to an underestimation of the ocean sink fraction. Our results show a significant growth in the airborne fraction of anthropogenic CO2 emissions over the coming century, attributable in part to a steady decline in the ocean sink fraction. Comparison to experimental studies on the fate of radio-labeled nitrogen tracers in temperate forests indicates that the model representation of competition between plants and microbes for new mineral nitrogen resources is reasonable. Our results suggest a weaker dependence of net land carbon flux on soil moisture changes in tropical regions, and a stronger positive growth response to warming in those regions, than predicted by a similar AOGCM implemented without land carbon-nitrogen interactions. We expect that the between-model uncertainty in predictions of future atmospheric CO2 concentration and associated anthropogenic climate change will be reduced as additional climate models introduce carbon-nitrogen cycle interactions in their land components.
  • Article
    Precision requirements for space-based XCO2 data
    (American Geophysical Union, 2007-05-26) Miller, C. E. ; Crisp, D. ; DeCola, P. L. ; Olsen, S. C. ; Randerson, James T. ; Michalak, Anna M. ; Alkhaled, A. ; Rayner, Peter ; Jacob, Daniel J. ; Suntharalingam, Parvadha ; Jones, D. B. A. ; Denning, A. S. ; Nicholls, M. E. ; Doney, Scott C. ; Pawson, S. ; Boesch, H. ; Connor, B. J. ; Fung, Inez Y. ; O'Brien, D. ; Salawitch, R. J. ; Sander, S. P. ; Sen, B. ; Tans, Pieter P. ; Toon, G. C. ; Wennberg, Paul O. ; Wofsy, Steven C. ; Yung, Y. L. ; Law, R. M.
    Precision requirements are determined for space-based column-averaged CO2 dry air mole fraction (XCO2) data. These requirements result from an assessment of spatial and temporal gradients in XCO2, the relationship between XCO2 precision and surface CO2 flux uncertainties inferred from inversions of the XCO2 data, and the effects of XCO2 biases on the fidelity of CO2 flux inversions. Observational system simulation experiments and synthesis inversion modeling demonstrate that the Orbiting Carbon Observatory mission design and sampling strategy provide the means to achieve these XCO2 data precision requirements.
  • Preprint
    Reconciling carbon-cycle concepts, terminology, and methods
    ( 2006-01-06) Chapin, F. Stuart ; Woodwell, G. M. ; Randerson, James T. ; Rastetter, Edward B. ; Lovett, G. M. ; Baldocchi, Dennis D. ; Clark, D. A. ; Harmon, Mark E. ; Schimel, David S. ; Valentini, R. ; Wirth, C. ; Aber, J. D. ; Cole, Jonathan J. ; Goulden, Michael L. ; Harden, J. W. ; Heimann, M. ; Howarth, Robert W. ; Matson, P. A. ; McGuire, A. David ; Melillo, Jerry M. ; Mooney, H. A. ; Neff, Jason C. ; Houghton, Richard A. ; Pace, Michael L. ; Ryan, M. G. ; Running, Steven W. ; Sala, Osvaldo E. ; Schlesinger, William H. ; Schulze, E.-D.
    Recent patterns and projections of climatic change have focused increased scientific and public attention on patterns of carbon (C) cycling and its controls, particularly the factors that determine whether an ecosystem is a net source or sink of atmospheric CO2. Net ecosystem production (NEP), a central concept in C-cycling research, has been used to represent two different concepts by C-cycling scientists. We propose that NEP be restricted to just one of its two original definitions—the imbalance between gross primary production (GPP) and ecosystem respiration (ER), and that a new term—net ecosystem carbon balance (NECB)—be applied to the net rate of C accumulation in (or loss from; negative sign) ecosystems. NECB differs from NEP when C fluxes other than C fixation and respiration occur or when inorganic C enters or leaves in dissolved form. These fluxes include leaching loss or lateral transfer of C from the ecosystem; emission of volatile organic C, methane, and carbon monoxide; and soot and CO2 from fire. C fluxes in addition to NEP are particularly important determinants of NECB over long time scales. However, even over short time scales, they are important in ecosystems such as streams, estuaries, wetlands, and cities. Recent technological advances have led to a diversity of approaches to measuring C fluxes at different temporal and spatial scales. These approaches frequently capture different components of NEP or NECB and can therefore be compared across scales only by carefully specifying the fluxes included in the measurements. By explicitly identifying the fluxes that comprise NECB and other components of the C cycle, such as net ecosystem exchange (NEE) and net biome production (NBP), we provide a less ambiguous framework for understanding and communicating recent changes in the global C cycle. Key words: Net ecosystem production, net ecosystem carbon balance, gross primary production, ecosystem respiration, autotrophic respiration, heterotrophic respiration, net ecosystem exchange, net biome production, net primary production.
  • Article
    Contribution of ocean, fossil fuel, land biosphere, and biomass burning carbon fluxes to seasonal and interannual variability in atmospheric CO2
    (American Geophysical Union, 2008-02-12) Nevison, Cynthia D. ; Mahowald, Natalie M. ; Doney, Scott C. ; Lima, Ivan D. ; van der Werf, Guido R. ; Randerson, James T. ; Baker, David F. ; Kasibhatla, Prasad S. ; McKinley, Galen A.
    Seasonal and interannual variability in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations was simulated using fluxes from fossil fuel, ocean and terrestrial biogeochemical models, and a tracer transport model with time-varying winds. The atmospheric CO2 variability resulting from these surface fluxes was compared to observations from 89 GLOBALVIEW monitoring stations. At northern hemisphere stations, the model simulations captured most of the observed seasonal cycle in atmospheric CO2, with the land tracer accounting for the majority of the signal. The ocean tracer was 3–6 months out of phase with the observed cycle at these stations and had a seasonal amplitude only ∼10% on average of observed. Model and observed interannual CO2 growth anomalies were only moderately well correlated in the northern hemisphere (R ∼ 0.4–0.8), and more poorly correlated in the southern hemisphere (R < 0.6). Land dominated the interannual variability (IAV) in the northern hemisphere, and biomass burning in particular accounted for much of the strong positive CO2 growth anomaly observed during the 1997–1998 El Niño event. The signals in atmospheric CO2 from the terrestrial biosphere extended throughout the southern hemisphere, but oceanic fluxes also exerted a strong influence there, accounting for roughly half of the IAV at many extratropical stations. However, the modeled ocean tracer was generally uncorrelated with observations in either hemisphere from 1979–2004, except during the weak El Niño/post-Pinatubo period of the early 1990s. During that time, model results suggested that the ocean may have accounted for 20–25% of the observed slowdown in the atmospheric CO2 growth rate.