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Title: Diagnosing phosphorus limitations in natural terrestrial ecosystems in carbon cycle models

Most of the Earth System Models (ESMs) project increases in net primary productivity (NPP) and terrestrial carbon (C) storage during the 21st century. Despite empirical evidence that limited availability of phosphorus (P) may limit the response of NPP to increasing atmospheric CO 2, none of the ESMs used in the previous Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assessment accounted for P limitation. We diagnosed from ESM simulations the amount of P need to support increases in carbon uptake by natural ecosystems using two approaches: the demand derived from changes in C stocks and changes in NPP. The C stock-based additional P demand was estimated to range between -31 and 193 Tg P and between -89 and 262 Tg P for Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 2.6 and RCP8.5, respectively, with negative values indicating a P surplus. The NPP-based demand, which takes ecosystem P recycling into account, results in a significantly higher P demand of 648–1606 Tg P for RCP2.6 and 924–2110 Tg P for RCP8.5. We found that the P demand is sensitive to the turnover of P in decomposing plant material, explaining the large differences between the NPP-based demand and C stock-based demand. The discrepancy between diagnosed P demand and actualmore » P availability (potential P deficit) depends mainly on the assumptions about availability of the different soil P forms. Altogether, future P limitation strongly depends on both soil P availability and P recycling on ecosystem scale.« less
ORCiD logo [1] ; ORCiD logo [2] ; ORCiD logo [3] ;  [3] ; ORCiD logo [3] ; ORCiD logo [4] ; ORCiD logo [5] ;  [6] ; ORCiD logo [7] ; ORCiD logo [8] ; ORCiD logo [9] ;  [3] ; ORCiD logo [10] ; ORCiD logo [3] ;  [11]
  1. Peking Univ., Beijing (China); Lab. des Sciences du Climat et de 1'Environment, Gif sur Yvette (France)
  2. Peking Univ., Beijing (China)
  3. Lab. des Sciences du Climat et de 1'Environment, Gif sur Yvette (France)
  4. Lab. des Sciences du Climat et de 1'Environment, Gif sur Yvette (France); Sorbonne Univ., Paris (France)
  5. UMR Eco&Sols, Montpellier (France)
  6. Univ. of Antwerp, Antwerp (Belgium)
  7. CREAF-CSIC-UAB, Catalonia (Spain); CREAF, Catalonia (Spain)
  8. Peking Univ., Beijing (China); Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing (China)
  9. Montana State Univ., Bozeman, MT (United States)
  10. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
  11. Peking Univ., Shenzhen (China)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
Published Article
Journal Name:
Earth's Future
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 5; Journal Issue: 7; Journal ID: ISSN 2328-4277
American Geophysical Union (AGU)
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23)
Country of Publication:
United States
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; terrestrial ecosystem; P demand; P deficit; carbon stock; NPP; ESM
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1371596; OSTI ID: 1399938