Projections of terrestrial carbon (C) dynamics must account for interannual variation in ecosystem C exchange associated with climate change, increasing atmospheric CO2 concentration, and species dynamics. We used a dynamic ecosystem model to (i) project the potential dynamics of C in New England forests under nine climate change scenarios (CCSs) for the 21st century and (ii) examine the sensitivity of potential C dynamics to changes in climate and atmospheric CO2 concentration. Our results indicated that forest net primary productivity (NPP) and soil heterotrophic respiration (RH) averaged 428 and 279 gC/m2/yr and New England forests sequestered CO 2 by 149 gC/m2/yr in the baseline period (1971-2000). Under the nine future CCSs, NPP and RH were modeled to increase by an average rate of 0.85 and 0.56 gC/m2/yr2 during 1971-2099. The asymmetric increase in NPP and RH resulted in New England forests sequestering atmospheric CO2 at a net rate of 0.29 gC/m2/yr2 with increases in vegetation and soil C. Simulations also indicated that climate warming alone decreases NPP, resulting in a net efflux of C from forests. In contrast, increasing precipitation by itself stimulates CO 2 sequestration by forests. At the individual cell level, however, changes in temperature or precipitation can either positively or negatively affect consequent C dynamics. Elevation of CO2 levels was found to be the biggest driver for modeled future enhancement of C sequestration. Without the elevation of CO2 levels, climate warming has the potential to change New England forests from C sinks to sources in the late 21st century. ©2014. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.
© 2014. American Geophysical Union.
Tang G, Beckage B, Smith B. Potential future dynamics of carbon fluxes and pools in New England forests and their climatic sensitivities: A model‐based study. Global biogeochemical cycles. 2014 Mar;28(3):286-99.