Randerson James T.

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James T.

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  • 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.
  • 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.