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Importance of carbon dioxide physiological forcing to future climate change

Cao, Long and Bala, Govindasamy and Caldeira, Ken and Nemani, Ramakrishna and Ban-Weiss, George (2010) Importance of carbon dioxide physiological forcing to future climate change. In: PNAS, 107 (21). pp. 9513-9518.

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Official URL: http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2010/04/30/09130...


An increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration influences climate both directly through its radiative effect (i.e., trapping longwave radiation) and indirectly through its physiological effect (i.e., reducing transpiration of land plants). Here we compare the climate response to radiative and physiological effects of increased CO2 using the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) coupled Community Land and Community Atmosphere Model. In response to a doubling of CO2, the radiative effect of CO2 causes mean surface air temperature over land to increase by 2.86 ± 0.02 K (± 1 standard error), whereas the physiological effects of CO2 on land plants alone causes air temperature over land to increase by 0.42 ± 0.02 K. Combined, these two effects cause a land surface warming of 3.33 ± 0.03 K. The radiative effect of doubling CO2 increases global runoff by 5.2 ± 0.6%, primarily by increasing precipitation over the continents. The physiological effect increases runoff by 8.4 ± 0.6%, primarily by diminishing evapotranspiration from the continents. Combined, these two effects cause a 14.9 ± 0.7% increase in runoff. Relative humidity remains roughly constant in response to CO2-radiative forcing, whereas relative humidity over land decreases in response to CO2-physiological forcing as a result of reduced plant transpiration. Our study points to an emerging consensus that the physiological effects of increasing atmospheric CO2 on land plants will increase global warming beyond that caused by the radiative effects of CO2.

Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: Copyright of this article belongs to National Academy of Sciences.
Department/Centre: Division of Chemical Sciences > Solid State & Structural Chemistry Unit
Depositing User: Ms G Yashodha
Date Deposited: 23 Jun 2010 10:13
Last Modified: 19 Sep 2010 06:08
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/28343

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