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Title: Quantifying the Effects of Historical Land Cover Conversion Uncertainty on Global Carbon and Climate Estimates

Previous studies have examined land use change as a driver of global change, but the translation of land use change into land cover conversion has been largely unconstrained. In this paper, we quantify the effects of land cover conversion uncertainty on the global carbon and climate system using the integrated Earth System Model. Our experiments use identical land use change data and vary land cover conversions to quantify associated uncertainty in carbon and climate estimates. Land cover conversion uncertainty is large, constitutes a 5 ppmv range in estimated atmospheric CO 2 in 2004, and generates carbon uncertainty that is equivalent to 80% of the net effects of CO 2 and climate and 124% of the effects of nitrogen deposition during 1850–2004. Additionally, land cover uncertainty generates differences in local surface temperature of over 1°C. Finally, we conclude that future studies addressing land use, carbon, and climate need to constrain and reduce land cover conversion uncertainties.
ORCiD logo [1] ; ORCiD logo [2] ;  [2] ; ORCiD logo [3] ;  [3] ;  [4]
  1. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
  2. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Environmental Sciences Division. Climate Change Science Inst.
  3. Univ. of Maryland, College Park, MD (United States). Dept. of Geographical Sciences
  4. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States); Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA (United States). Dept. of Earth and Planetary Sciences
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
AC05-00OR22725; AC02-05CH11231
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Geophysical Research Letters
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 45; Journal Issue: 2; Journal ID: ISSN 0094-8276
American Geophysical Union
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States); Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States); Univ. of Maryland, College Park, MD (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23); National Science Foundation (NSF)
Country of Publication:
United States
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; land cover; land use; uncertainty; carbon; climate; Earth system
OSTI Identifier: