October 4, 2018
Constraining carbon cycle dynamics using contemporary observations: Achievements, challenges and opportunities
Future climate predictions and societal responses (to climate change) require an in-depth understanding of carbon-climate feedbacks and changes to the natural carbon cycle. A prerequisite for improving our understanding of carbon-climate dynamics is accurate and precise estimation of the carbon fluxes in the major carbon pools and reservoirs, their spatial and temporal distribution over land and ocean, and the mechanisms controlling them. In this talk, I will present an overview of recent advances in modeling and observational strategies related to the carbon cycle with two contemporary examples: the response of the global carbon cycle to the 2015-2016 El Niño event and the estimation of regional sources and sinks from space-based observations of atmospheric CO2. I will also discuss the potential (and the necessity) for a coordinated carbon cycle and atmospheric composition observing system for providing new insights into atmospheric transport and biogeochemical models. I will finally conclude with an outlook of carbon cycle research priorities, now and for the next several years. These emerging areas tackle a number of targets set forth by the carbon-climate community, spanning observational (e.g., assess the scientific value and potential of future measurement constellations), methodological (e.g., reconcile top-down and bottom-up estimates of sources and sinks), and policy-related (e.g., verify CO2 emissions for international legislative purposes) domains.