Articles | Volume 5, issue 2
Earth Syst. Dynam., 5, 309–319, 2014

Special issue: Impacts of Land-Uses and Land-Cover Changes (LULCC) on the...

Earth Syst. Dynam., 5, 309–319, 2014

Review 30 Sep 2014

Review | 30 Sep 2014

Global and regional effects of land-use change on climate in 21st century simulations with interactive carbon cycle

L. R. Boysen1,*, V. Brovkin1, V. K. Arora2, P. Cadule3, N. de Noblet-Ducoudré3, E. Kato4, J. Pongratz1, and V. Gayler1 L. R. Boysen et al.
  • 1Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Hamburg, Germany
  • 2Canadian Centre for Climate Modeling and Analysis, Meteorological Service of Canada, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC, V8W 2Y2, Canada
  • 3Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement, Gif-sur-Yvette, France
  • 4National Institute for Environmental Studies, Tsukuba, Japan
  • *now at: Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Research Domain 1: Earth System Analysis, Telegraphenberg A62, 14473 Potsdam, Germany

Abstract. Biogeophysical (BGP) and biogeochemical (BGC) effects of land-use and land cover change (LULCC) are separated at the global and regional scales in new interactive CO2 simulations for the 21st century. Results from four earth system models (ESMs) are analyzed for the future RCP8.5 scenario from simulations with and without land-use and land cover change (LULCC), contributing to the Land-Use and Climate, IDentification of robust impacts (LUCID) project. Over the period 2006–2100, LULCC causes the atmospheric CO2 concentration to increase by 12, 22, and 66 ppm in CanESM2, MIROC-ESM, and MPI-ESM-LR, respectively. Statistically significant changes in global near-surface temperature are found in three models with a BGC-induced global mean annual warming between 0.07 and 0.23 K. BGP-induced responses are simulated by three models in areas of intense LULCC of varying sign and magnitude (between −0.47 and 0.10 K). Modifications of the land carbon pool by LULCC are disentangled in accordance with processes that can lead to increases and decreases in this carbon pool. Global land carbon losses due to LULCC are simulated by all models: 218, 57, 35 and 34 Gt C by MPI-ESM-LR, MIROC-ESM, IPSL-CM5A-LR and CanESM2, respectively. On the contrary, the CO2-fertilization effect caused by elevated atmospheric CO2 concentrations due to LULCC leads to a land carbon gain of 39 Gt C in MPI-ESM-LR and is almost negligible in the other models. A substantial part of the spread in models' responses to LULCC is attributed to the differences in implementation of LULCC (e.g., whether pastures or crops are simulated explicitly) and the simulation of specific processes. Simple idealized experiments with clear protocols for implementing LULCC in ESMs are needed to increase the understanding of model responses and the statistical significance of results, especially when analyzing the regional-scale impacts of LULCC.

Final-revised paper