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Earth System Dynamics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

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https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-2017-78
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Research article
12 Sep 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Earth System Dynamics (ESD).
Analytically tractable climate-carbon cycle feedbacks under 21st century anthropogenic forcing
Steven J. Lade1,2,3, Jonathan F. Donges1,4, Ingo Fetzer1,3, John M. Anderies5, Christian Beer3,6, Sarah E. Cornell1, Thomas Gasser7, Jon Norberg1, Katherine Richardson8, Johan Rockström1, and Will Steffen1,2 1Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
2Fenner School of Environment and Society, The Australian National University, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
3Bolin Centre for Climate Research, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
4Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Potsdam, Germany
5School of Sustainability and School of Human Evolution and Social Change, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona, USA
6Department of Environmental Science and Analytical Chemistry (ACES), Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
7International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Laxenburg, Austria
8Center for Macroecology, Evolution, and Climate, University of Copenhagen, Natural History Museum of Denmark, Copenhagen, Denmark
Abstract. Changes to climate-carbon cycle feedbacks may significantly affect the Earth System’s response to greenhouse gas emissions. These feedbacks are usually analysed from numerical output of complex and arguably opaque Earth System Models (ESMs). Here, we construct a stylized global climate-carbon cycle model, test its output against complex ESMs, and investigate the strengths of its climate-carbon cycle feedbacks analytically. The analytical expressions we obtain aid understanding of carbon-cycle feedbacks and the operation of the carbon cycle. We use our results to analytically study the relative strengths of different climate-carbon cycle feedbacks and how they may change in the future, as well as to compare different feedback formalisms. Simple models such as that developed here also provide workbenches for simple but mechanistically based explorations of Earth system processes, such as interactions and feedbacks between the Planetary Boundaries, that are currently too uncertain to be included in complex ESMs.

Citation: Lade, S. J., Donges, J. F., Fetzer, I., Anderies, J. M., Beer, C., Cornell, S. E., Gasser, T., Norberg, J., Richardson, K., Rockström, J., and Steffen, W.: Analytically tractable climate-carbon cycle feedbacks under 21st century anthropogenic forcing, Earth Syst. Dynam. Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-2017-78, in review, 2017.
Steven J. Lade et al.
Steven J. Lade et al.
Steven J. Lade et al.

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