Articles | Volume 7, issue 6
Development and technical paper
13 Nov 2014
Development and technical paper |  | 13 Nov 2014

Response of microbial decomposition to spin-up explains CMIP5 soil carbon range until 2100

J.-F. Exbrayat, A. J. Pitman, and G. Abramowitz


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Short summary
Pre-industrial soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks vary 6-fold in models used in the 5th IPCC Assessment Report. This paper shows that this range is largely determined by model-specific responses of microbal decomposition during the equilibration procedure. As SOC stocks are maintained through the present and to 2100 almost unchanged, we propose that current SOC observations could be used to constrain this equilibration procedure and thereby reduce the uncertainty in climate change projections.