Controls of terrestrial ecosystem nitrogen loss on simulated productivity responses to elevated CO 2

Meyerholt, Johannes; Zaehle, Sönke

The availability of nitrogen is one of the primary controls on plant growth. Terrestrial ecosystem nitrogen availability is not only determined by inputs from fixation, deposition, or weathering, but is also regulated by the rates with which nitrogen is lost through various pathways. Estimates of large-scale nitrogen loss rates have been associated with considerable uncertainty, as process rates and controlling factors of the different loss pathways have been difficult to characterize in the field. Therefore, the nitrogen loss representations in terrestrial biosphere models vary substantially, adding to nitrogen cycle-related uncertainty and resulting in varying predictions of how the biospheric carbon sink will evolve under future scenarios of elevated atmospheric inline-formulaCO2. Here, we test three commonly applied approaches to represent ecosystem-level nitrogen loss in a common carbon–nitrogen terrestrial biosphere model with respect to their impact on projections of the effect of elevated inline-formulaCO2. We find that despite differences in predicted responses of nitrogen loss rates to elevated inline-formulaCO2 and climate forcing, the variety of nitrogen loss representation between models only leads to small variety in carbon sink predictions. The nitrogen loss responses are particularly uncertain in the boreal and tropical regions, where plant growth is strongly nitrogen-limited or nitrogen turnover rates are usually high, respectively. This highlights the need for better representation of nitrogen loss fluxes through global measurements to inform models.



Meyerholt, Johannes / Zaehle, Sönke: Controls of terrestrial ecosystem nitrogen loss on simulated productivity responses to elevated CO2. 2018. Copernicus Publications.


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Rechteinhaber: Johannes Meyerholt

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