Articles | Volume 7, issue 6
https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-7-2683-2014
https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-7-2683-2014
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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Cited articles

Ahlström, A., Smith, B., Lindström, J., Rummukainen, M., and Uvo, C. B.: GCM characteristics explain the majority of uncertainty in projected 21st century terrestrial ecosystem carbon balance, Biogeosciences, 10, 1517–1528, https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-10-1517-2013, 2013.
Allison, S. D., Wallenstein, M. D., and Bradford, M. A.: Soil-carbon response to warming dependent on microbial physiology, Nat. Geosci., 3, 336–340, https://doi.org/10.1038/ngeo846, 2010.
Anav, A., Friedlingstein, P., Kidston, M., Bopp, L., Ciais, P., Cox, P., Jones, C., Jung, M., Myneni, R., and Zhu, Z.: Evaluating the Land and Ocean Components of the Global Carbon Cycle in the CMIP5 Earth System Models, J. Clim., 26, 6801–6843, https://doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-12-00417.1, 2013.
Arora, V. K. and Boer, G. J.: Uncertainties in the 20th century carbon budget associated with land use change, Glob. Chang. Biol., 16, 3327–3348, https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2486.2010.02202.x, 2010.
Bentsen, M., Bethke, I., Debernard, J. B., Iversen, T., Kirkevåg, A., Seland, Ø., Drange, H., Roelandt, C., Seierstad, I. A., Hoose, C., and Kristjánsson, J. E.: The Norwegian Earth System Model, NorESM1-M – Part 1: Description and basic evaluation of the physical climate, Geosci. Model Dev., 6, 687–720, https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-6-687-2013, 2013.
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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.