Randerson James T.

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Randerson
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James T.
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Now showing 1 - 7 of 7
  • Article
    Preindustrial-control and twentieth-century carbon cycle experiments with the Earth System Model CESM1(BGC)
    (American Meteorological Society, 2014-12-15) Lindsay, Keith ; Bonan, Gordon B. ; Doney, Scott C. ; Hoffman, Forrest M. ; Lawrence, David M. ; Long, Matthew C. ; Mahowald, Natalie M. ; Moore, J. Keith ; Randerson, James T. ; Thornton, Peter E.
    Version 1 of the Community Earth System Model, in the configuration where its full carbon cycle is enabled, is introduced and documented. In this configuration, the terrestrial biogeochemical model, which includes carbon–nitrogen dynamics and is present in earlier model versions, is coupled to an ocean biogeochemical model and atmospheric CO2 tracers. The authors provide a description of the model, detail how preindustrial-control and twentieth-century experiments were initialized and forced, and examine the behavior of the carbon cycle in those experiments. They examine how sea- and land-to-air CO2 fluxes contribute to the increase of atmospheric CO2 in the twentieth century, analyze how atmospheric CO2 and its surface fluxes vary on interannual time scales, including how they respond to ENSO, and describe the seasonal cycle of atmospheric CO2 and its surface fluxes. While the model broadly reproduces observed aspects of the carbon cycle, there are several notable biases, including having too large of an increase in atmospheric CO2 over the twentieth century and too small of a seasonal cycle of atmospheric CO2 in the Northern Hemisphere. The biases are related to a weak response of the carbon cycle to climatic variations on interannual and seasonal time scales and to twentieth-century anthropogenic forcings, including rising CO2, land-use change, and atmospheric deposition of nitrogen.
  • Article
    Separating the influence of temperature, drought, and fire on interannual variability in atmospheric CO2
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2014-11-19) Keppel-Aleks, Gretchen ; Wolf, Aaron S. ; Mu, Mingquan ; Doney, Scott C. ; Morton, Douglas C. ; Kasibhatla, Prasad S. ; Miller, John B. ; Dlugokencky, Edward J. ; Randerson, James T.
    The response of the carbon cycle in prognostic Earth system models (ESMs) contributes significant uncertainty to projections of global climate change. Quantifying contributions of known drivers of interannual variability in the growth rate of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) is important for improving the representation of terrestrial ecosystem processes in these ESMs. Several recent studies have identified the temperature dependence of tropical net ecosystem exchange (NEE) as a primary driver of this variability by analyzing a single, globally averaged time series of CO2 anomalies. Here we examined how the temporal evolution of CO2 in different latitude bands may be used to separate contributions from temperature stress, drought stress, and fire emissions to CO2 variability. We developed atmospheric CO2 patterns from each of these mechanisms during 1997–2011 using an atmospheric transport model. NEE responses to temperature, NEE responses to drought, and fire emissions all contributed significantly to CO2 variability in each latitude band, suggesting that no single mechanism was the dominant driver. We found that the sum of drought and fire contributions to CO2 variability exceeded direct NEE responses to temperature in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. Additional sensitivity tests revealed that these contributions are masked by temporal and spatial smoothing of CO2 observations. Accounting for fires, the sensitivity of tropical NEE to temperature stress decreased by 25% to 2.9 ± 0.4 Pg C yr−1 K−1. These results underscore the need for accurate attribution of the drivers of CO2 variability prior to using contemporary observations to constrain long-term ESM responses.
  • Article
    Are the impacts of land use on warming underestimated in climate policy?
    (IOP Publishing, 2017-09-18) Mahowald, Natalie M. ; Ward, Daniel S. ; Doney, Scott C. ; Hess, Peter G. ; Randerson, James T.
    While carbon dioxide emissions from energy use must be the primary target of climate change mitigation efforts, land use and land cover change (LULCC) also represent an important source of climate forcing. In this study we compute time series of global surface temperature change separately for LULCC and non-LULCC sources (primarily fossil fuel burning), and show that because of the extra warming associated with the co-emission of methane and nitrous oxide with LULCC carbon dioxide emissions, and a co-emission of cooling aerosols with non-LULCC emissions of carbon dioxide, the linear relationship between cumulative carbon dioxide emissions and temperature has a two-fold higher slope for LULCC than for non-LULCC activities. Moreover, projections used in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for the rate of tropical land conversion in the future are relatively low compared to contemporary observations, suggesting that the future projections of land conversion used in the IPCC may underestimate potential impacts of LULCC. By including a ‘business as usual’ future LULCC scenario for tropical deforestation, we find that even if all non-LULCC emissions are switched off in 2015, it is likely that 1.5 ◦C of warming relative to the preindustrial era will occur by 2100. Thus, policies to reduce LULCC emissions must remain a high priority if we are to achieve the low to medium temperature change targets proposed as a part of the Paris Agreement. Future studies using integrated assessment models and other climate simulations should include more realistic deforestation rates and the integration of policy that would reduce LULCC emissions.
  • Article
    Multicentury changes in ocean and land contributions to the climate-carbon feedback
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2015-06-02) Randerson, James T. ; Lindsay, Keith ; Munoz, E. ; Fu, W. ; Moore, J. Keith ; Hoffman, Forrest M. ; Mahowald, Natalie M. ; Doney, Scott C.
    Improved constraints on carbon cycle responses to climate change are needed to inform mitigation policy, yet our understanding of how these responses may evolve after 2100 remains highly uncertain. Using the Community Earth System Model (v1.0), we quantified climate-carbon feedbacks from 1850 to 2300 for the Representative Concentration Pathway 8.5 and its extension. In three simulations, land and ocean biogeochemical processes experienced the same trajectory of increasing atmospheric CO2. Each simulation had a different degree of radiative coupling for CO2 and other greenhouse gases and aerosols, enabling diagnosis of feedbacks. In a fully coupled simulation, global mean surface air temperature increased by 9.3 K from 1850 to 2300, with 4.4 K of this warming occurring after 2100. Excluding CO2, warming from other greenhouse gases and aerosols was 1.6 K by 2300, near a 2 K target needed to avoid dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. Ocean contributions to the climate-carbon feedback increased considerably over time and exceeded contributions from land after 2100. The sensitivity of ocean carbon to climate change was found to be proportional to changes in ocean heat content, as a consequence of this heat modifying transport pathways for anthropogenic CO2 inflow and solubility of dissolved inorganic carbon. By 2300, climate change reduced cumulative ocean uptake by 330 Pg C, from 1410 Pg C to 1080 Pg C. Land fluxes similarly diverged over time, with climate change reducing stocks by 232 Pg C. Regional influence of climate change on carbon stocks was largest in the North Atlantic Ocean and tropical forests of South America. Our analysis suggests that after 2100, oceans may become as important as terrestrial ecosystems in regulating the magnitude of the climate-carbon feedback.
  • Article
    Desert dust and anthropogenic aerosol interactions in the Community Climate System Model coupled-carbon-climate model
    (Copernicus Publications on behalf of the European Geosciences Union, 2011-02-15) Mahowald, Natalie M. ; Lindsay, Keith ; Rothenberg, D. ; Doney, Scott C. ; Moore, J. Keith ; Thornton, Peter E. ; Randerson, James T. ; Jones, C. D.
    Coupled-carbon-climate simulations are an essential tool for predicting the impact of human activity onto the climate and biogeochemistry. Here we incorporate prognostic desert dust and anthropogenic aerosols into the CCSM3.1 coupled carbon-climate model and explore the resulting interactions with climate and biogeochemical dynamics through a series of transient anthropogenic simulations (20th and 21st centuries) and sensitivity studies. The inclusion of prognostic aerosols into this model has a small net global cooling effect on climate but does not significantly impact the globally averaged carbon cycle; we argue that this is likely to be because the CCSM3.1 model has a small climate feedback onto the carbon cycle. We propose a mechanism for including desert dust and anthropogenic aerosols into a simple carbon-climate feedback analysis to explain the results of our and previous studies. Inclusion of aerosols has statistically significant impacts on regional climate and biogeochemistry, in particular through the effects on the ocean nitrogen cycle and primary productivity of altered iron inputs from desert dust deposition.
  • Article
    Atmospheric carbon dioxide variability in the Community Earth System Model : evaluation and transient dynamics during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries
    (American Meteorological Society, 2013-07-01) Keppel-Aleks, Gretchen ; Randerson, James T. ; Lindsay, Keith ; Stephens, Britton B. ; Moore, J. Keith ; Doney, Scott C. ; Thornton, Peter E. ; Mahowald, Natalie M. ; Hoffman, Forrest M. ; Sweeney, Colm ; Tans, Pieter P. ; Wennberg, Paul O. ; Wofsy, Steven C.
    Changes in atmospheric CO2 variability during the twenty-first century may provide insight about ecosystem responses to climate change and have implications for the design of carbon monitoring programs. This paper describes changes in the three-dimensional structure of atmospheric CO2 for several representative concentration pathways (RCPs 4.5 and 8.5) using the Community Earth System Model–Biogeochemistry (CESM1-BGC). CO2 simulated for the historical period was first compared to surface, aircraft, and column observations. In a second step, the evolution of spatial and temporal gradients during the twenty-first century was examined. The mean annual cycle in atmospheric CO2 was underestimated for the historical period throughout the Northern Hemisphere, suggesting that the growing season net flux in the Community Land Model (the land component of CESM) was too weak. Consistent with weak summer drawdown in Northern Hemisphere high latitudes, simulated CO2 showed correspondingly weak north–south and vertical gradients during the summer. In the simulations of the twenty-first century, CESM predicted increases in the mean annual cycle of atmospheric CO2 and larger horizontal gradients. Not only did the mean north–south gradient increase due to fossil fuel emissions, but east–west contrasts in CO2 also strengthened because of changing patterns in fossil fuel emissions and terrestrial carbon exchange. In the RCP8.5 simulation, where CO2 increased to 1150 ppm by 2100, the CESM predicted increases in interannual variability in the Northern Hemisphere midlatitudes of up to 60% relative to present variability for time series filtered with a 2–10-yr bandpass. Such an increase in variability may impact detection of changing surface fluxes from atmospheric observations.
  • Article
    Interactions between land use change and carbon cycle feedbacks
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2017-01-23) Mahowald, Natalie M. ; Randerson, James T. ; Lindsay, Keith ; Munoz, Ernesto ; Doney, Scott C. ; Lawrence, Peter ; Schlunegger, Sarah ; Ward, Daniel S. ; Lawrence, David ; Hoffman, Forrest M.
    Using the Community Earth System Model, we explore the role of human land use and land cover change (LULCC) in modifying the terrestrial carbon budget in simulations forced by Representative Concentration Pathway 8.5, extended to year 2300. Overall, conversion of land (e.g., from forest to croplands via deforestation) results in a model-estimated, cumulative carbon loss of 490 Pg C between 1850 and 2300, larger than the 230 Pg C loss of carbon caused by climate change over this same interval. The LULCC carbon loss is a combination of a direct loss at the time of conversion and an indirect loss from the reduction of potential terrestrial carbon sinks. Approximately 40% of the carbon loss associated with LULCC in the simulations arises from direct human modification of the land surface; the remaining 60% is an indirect consequence of the loss of potential natural carbon sinks. Because of the multicentury carbon cycle legacy of current land use decisions, a globally averaged amplification factor of 2.6 must be applied to 2015 land use carbon losses to adjust for indirect effects. This estimate is 30% higher when considering the carbon cycle evolution after 2100. Most of the terrestrial uptake of anthropogenic carbon in the model occurs from the influence of rising atmospheric CO2 on photosynthesis in trees, and thus, model-projected carbon feedbacks are especially sensitive to deforestation.