Twenty-first-century compatible co2 emissions and airborne fraction simulated by cmip5 earth system models under four representative concentration pathways
Journal of Climate
American Meteorological Society
This is the final version of the article. Available from American Meteorological Society via the DOI in this record.
The carbon cycle is a crucial Earth system component affecting climate and atmospheric composition. The response of natural carbon uptake to CO2 and climate change will determine anthropogenic emissions compatible with a target CO2 pathway. For phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5), four future representative concentration pathways (RCPs) have been generated by integrated assessment models (IAMs) and used as scenarios by state-of-the-art climate models, enabling quantification of compatible carbon emissions for the four scenarios by complex, process-based models. Here, the authors present results from 15 such Earth system GCMs for future changes in land and ocean carbon storage and the implications for anthropogenic emissions. The results are consistent with the underlying scenarios but show substantial model spread. Uncertainty in land carbon uptake due to differences among models is comparable with the spread across scenarios. Model estimates of historical fossil-fuel emissions agree well with reconstructions, and future projections for representative concentration pathway 2.6 (RCP2.6) and RCP4.5 are consistent with the IAMs. For high-end scenarios (RCP6.0 and RCP8.5), GCMs simulate smaller compatible emissions than the IAMs, indicating a larger climate-carbon cycle feedback in the GCMs in these scenarios. For the RCP2.6 mitigation scenario, an average reduction of 50% in emissions by 2050 from 1990 levels is required but with very large model spread (14%-96%). The models also disagree on both the requirement for sustained negative emissions to achieve the RCP2.6 CO2 concentration and the success of this scenario to restrict global warming below 28C. All models agree that the future airborne fraction depends strongly on the emissions profile with higher airborne fraction for higher emissions scenarios. ©2013 American Meteorological Society.
MOHC authors were supported by the JointDECC/Defra MetOffice Hadley Centre Climate Programme (GA01101), and work to performHadGEM2- ES and MPI-ESM CMIP5 simulations was supported by the EU-FP7 COMBINE project (Grant 226520). JS was supported by the EU-FP7 CARBOCHANGE project (Grant 284679). We acknowledge the World Climate Research Programme’s Working Group on Coupled Modelling, which is responsible for CMIP, and we thank the climate modeling groups (listed in Table 1 of this paper) for producing and making available their model output. For CMIP, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison provides coordinating support and led development of software infrastructure in partnership with the Global Organization for Earth System Science Portals. JT and CR were supported by the Research Council of Norway through the EarthClim (207711/E10) project.
Vol. 26, pp. 4398 - 4413