Committed and projected future changes in global peatlands - continued transient model simulations since the Last Glacial Maximum.

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Date: June 18, 2021
From: Biogeosciences(Vol. 18, Issue 12)
Publisher: Copernicus GmbH
Document Type: Brief article
Length: 334 words

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Abstract :

Peatlands are diverse wetland ecosystems distributed mostly over the northern latitudes and tropics. Globally they store a large portion of the global soil organic carbon and provide important ecosystem services. The future of these systems under continued anthropogenic warming and direct human disturbance has potentially large impacts on atmospheric CO.sub.2 and climate. We performed global long-term projections of peatland area and carbon over the next 5000 years using a dynamic global vegetation model forced with climate anomalies from 10 models of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP6) and three standard future scenarios. These projections are seamlessly continued from a transient simulation from the Last Glacial Maximum to the present to account for the full transient history and are continued beyond 2100 with constant boundary conditions. Our results suggest short to long-term net losses of global peatland area and carbon, with higher losses under higher-emission scenarios. Large parts of today's active northern peatlands are at risk, whereas peatlands in the tropics and, in case of mitigation, eastern Asia and western North America can increase their area and carbon stocks. Factorial simulations reveal committed historical changes and future rising temperature as the main driver of future peatland loss and increasing precipitations as the driver for regional peatland expansion. Additional simulations forced with climate anomalies from a subset of climate models which follow the extended CMIP6 scenarios, transient until 2300, show qualitatively similar results to the standard scenarios but highlight the importance of extended transient future scenarios for long-term carbon cycle projections. The spread between simulations forced with different climate model anomalies suggests a large uncertainty in projected peatland changes due to uncertain climate forcing. Our study highlights the importance of quantifying the future peatland feedback to the climate system and its inclusion into future earth system model projections.

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A665636780