A more complete understanding of how global warming will affect carbon-cycle feedbacks to the climate system is central to model projections of future climate. Simulation experiments with fully coupled, three-dimensional carbon-climate models suggest that carbon-cycle feedbacks could either substantially accelerate or slow climate change over the 21st century. The potential switch of the terrestrial biosphere from its current role as carbon sink to carbon source is critically dependent upon the long-term sensitivity to global warming of communities involved in soil organic matter (SOM) decay. Understanding the ecological function of soil communities in their natural environment is essential in ecosystem modeling.
Proposer: Jeffrey Blanchard, UMass-Amherst