Stephens Britton B.
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ArticleRole of carbon cycle observations and knowledge in carbon management(Annual Reviews, 2003-08-14) Dilling, Lisa ; Doney, Scott C. ; Edmonds, Jae ; Gurney, Kevin R. ; Harriss, Robert ; Schimel, David S. ; Stephens, Britton B. ; Stokes, GeraldAgriculture and industrial development have led to inadvertent changes in the natural carbon cycle. As a consequence, concentrations of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases have increased in the atmosphere and may lead to changes in climate. The current challenge facing society is to develop options for future management of the carbon cycle. A variety of approaches has been suggested: direct reduction of emissions, deliberate manipulation of the natural carbon cycle to enhance sequestration, and capture and isolation of carbon from fossil fuel use. Policy development to date has laid out some of the general principles to which carbon management should adhere. These are summarized as: how much carbon is stored, by what means, and for how long. To successfully manage carbon for climate purposes requires increased understanding of carbon cycle dynamics and improvement in the scientific capabilities available for measurement as well as for policy needs. The specific needs for scientific information to underpin carbon cycle management decisions are not yet broadly known. A stronger dialogue between decision makers and scientists must be developed to foster improved application of scientific knowledge to decisions. This review focuses on the current knowledge of the carbon cycle, carbon measurement capabilities (with an emphasis on the continental scale) and the relevance of carbon cycle science to carbon sequestration goals.
ArticleAtmospheric 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.