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    Predictability of twentieth century sea-level rise from past data
    (Bristol : IOP Publishing, 2013) Bittermann, Klaus; Rahmstorf, Stefan; Perrette, Mahé; Vermeer, Martin
    The prediction of global sea-level rise is one of the major challenges of climate science. While process-based models are still being improved to capture the complexity of the processes involved, semi-empirical models, exploiting the observed connection between global-mean sea level and global temperature and calibrated with data, have been developed as a complementary approach. Here we investigate whether twentieth century sea-level rise could have been predicted with such models given a knowledge of twentieth century global temperature increase. We find that either proxy or early tide gauge data do not hold enough information to constrain the model parameters well. However, in combination, the use of proxy and tide gauge sea-level data up to 1900 AD allows a good prediction of twentieth century sea-level rise, despite this rise being well outside the rates experienced in previous centuries during the calibration period of the model. The 90% confidence range for the linear twentieth century rise predicted by the semi-empirical model is 13–30 cm, whereas the observed interval (using two tide gauge data sets) is 14–26 cm.
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    Extreme fire events are related to previous-year surface moisture conditions in permafrost-underlain larch forests of Siberia
    (Bristol : IOP Publishing, 2012) Forkel, Matthias; Thonicke, Kirsten; Beer, Christian; Cramer, Wolfgang; Bartalev, Sergey; Schmullius, Christiane
    Wildfires are a natural and important element in the functioning of boreal forests. However, in some years, fires with extreme spread and severity occur. Such severe fires can degrade the forest, affect human values, emit huge amounts of carbon and aerosols and alter the land surface albedo. Usually, wind, slope and dry air conditions have been recognized as factors determining fire spread. Here we identify surface moisture as an additional important driving factor for the evolution of extreme fire events in the Baikal region. An area of 127 000 km2 burned in this region in 2003, a large part of it in regions underlain by permafrost. Analyses of satellite data for 2002–2009 indicate that previous-summer surface moisture is a better predictor for burned area than precipitation anomalies or fire weather indices for larch forests with continuous permafrost. Our analysis advances the understanding of complex interactions between the atmosphere, vegetation and soil, and how coupled mechanisms can lead to extreme events. These findings emphasize the importance of a mechanistic coupling of soil thermodynamics, hydrology, vegetation functioning, and fire activity in Earth system models for projecting climate change impacts over the next century.
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    The Vulnerability, Impacts, Adaptation and Climate Services Advisory Board (VIACS AB v1.0) contribution to CMIP6
    (München : European Geopyhsical Union, 2016) Ruane, Alex C.; Teichmann, Claas; Arnell, Nigel W.; Carter, Timothy R.; Ebi, Kristie L.; Frieler, Katja; Goodess, Clare M.; Hewitson, Bruce; Horton, Radley; Kovats, R. Sari; Lotze, Heike K.; Mearns, Linda O.; Navarra, Antonio; Ojima, Dennis S.; Riahi, Keywan; Rosenzweig, Cynthia; Themessl, Matthias; Vincent, Katharine
    This paper describes the motivation for the creation of the Vulnerability, Impacts, Adaptation and Climate Services (VIACS) Advisory Board for the Sixth Phase of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP6), its initial activities, and its plans to serve as a bridge between climate change applications experts and climate modelers. The climate change application community comprises researchers and other specialists who use climate information (alongside socioeconomic and other environmental information) to analyze vulnerability, impacts, and adaptation of natural systems and society in relation to past, ongoing, and projected future climate change. Much of this activity is directed toward the co-development of information needed by decision-makers for managing projected risks. CMIP6 provides a unique opportunity to facilitate a two-way dialog between climate modelers and VIACS experts who are looking to apply CMIP6 results for a wide array of research and climate services objectives. The VIACS Advisory Board convenes leaders of major impact sectors, international programs, and climate services to solicit community feedback that increases the applications relevance of the CMIP6-Endorsed Model Intercomparison Projects (MIPs). As an illustration of its potential, the VIACS community provided CMIP6 leadership with a list of prioritized climate model variables and MIP experiments of the greatest interest to the climate model applications community, indicating the applicability and societal relevance of climate model simulation outputs. The VIACS Advisory Board also recommended an impacts version of Obs4MIPs and indicated user needs for the gridding and processing of model output.
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    Projections for headwater catchments of the Tarim River reveal glacier retreat and decreasing surface water availability but uncertainties are large
    (Bristol : IOP Publishing, 2016) Duethmann, Doris; Menz, Christoph; Jiang, Tong; Vorogushyn, Sergiy
    In the Tarim River Basin, water resources from the mountain areas play a key role due to the extremely arid climate of the lowlands. This study presents an analysis of future climate change impacts on glaciers and surface water availability for headwater catchments of the Aksu River, the most important tributary to the Tarim River. We applied a glacio-hydrological model that underwent a comprehensive multivariable and multiobjective model calibration and evaluation, based on daily and interannual discharge variations and glacier mass changes. Transient glacier geometry changes are simulated using the Δh-approach. For the ensemble-based projections, we considered three different emission scenarios, nine global climate models (GCMs) and two regional climate models, and different hydrological model parameters derived from the multiobjective calibration. The results show a decline in glacier area of −90% to −32% until 2099 (reference ~2008) (based on the 5–95 percentile range of the ensemble). Glacier melt is anticipated to further increase or stay at a high level during the first decades of the 21st century, but then declines because of decreased glacier extents. Overall discharge in the Aksu headwaters is expected to be increased in the period 2010–2039 (reference 1971–2000), but decreased in 2070–2099. Seasonally, projections show an increase in discharge in spring and early summer throughout the 21st century. Discharge changes in mid to late summer are more variable, with increases or decreases depending on the considered period and GCM. Uncertainties are largely caused by differences between the different GCMs, with further important contributions from different emission scenarios in the second half of the 21st century. Contributions from the hydrological model parameters to the ensemble uncertainty were generally found to be small.
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    Deforestation in Amazonia impacts riverine carbon dynamics
    (München : European Geopyhsical Union, 2016) Langerwisch, Fanny; Walz, Ariane; Rammig, Anja; Tietjen, Britta; Thonicke, Kirsten; Cramer, Wolfgang
    Fluxes of organic and inorganic carbon within the Amazon basin are considerably controlled by annual flooding, which triggers the export of terrigenous organic material to the river and ultimately to the Atlantic Ocean. The amount of carbon imported to the river and the further conversion, transport and export of it depend on temperature, atmospheric CO2, terrestrial productivity and carbon storage, as well as discharge. Both terrestrial productivity and discharge are influenced by climate and land use change. The coupled LPJmL and RivCM model system (Langerwisch et al., 2016) has been applied to assess the combined impacts of climate and land use change on the Amazon riverine carbon dynamics. Vegetation dynamics (in LPJmL) as well as export and conversion of terrigenous carbon to and within the river (RivCM) are included. The model system has been applied for the years 1901 to 2099 under two deforestation scenarios and with climate forcing of three SRES emission scenarios, each for five climate models. We find that high deforestation (business-as-usual scenario) will strongly decrease (locally by up to 90%) riverine particulate and dissolved organic carbon amount until the end of the current century. At the same time, increase in discharge leaves net carbon transport during the first decades of the century roughly unchanged only if a sufficient area is still forested. After 2050 the amount of transported carbon will decrease drastically. In contrast to that, increased temperature and atmospheric CO2 concentration determine the amount of riverine inorganic carbon stored in the Amazon basin. Higher atmospheric CO2 concentrations increase riverine inorganic carbon amount by up to 20% (SRES A2). The changes in riverine carbon fluxes have direct effects on carbon export, either to the atmosphere via outgassing or to the Atlantic Ocean via discharge. The outgassed carbon will increase slightly in the Amazon basin, but can be regionally reduced by up to 60% due to deforestation. The discharge of organic carbon to the ocean will be reduced by about 40% under the most severe deforestation and climate change scenario. These changes would have local and regional consequences on the carbon balance and habitat characteristics in the Amazon basin itself as well as in the adjacent Atlantic Ocean.
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    What can we learn from the projections of changes of flow patterns? Results from Polish case studies
    (Heidelberg : Springer, 2017) Piniewski, Mikołaj; Meresa, Hadush Kidane; Romanowicz, Renata; Osuch, Marzena; Szczes´niak, Mateusz; Kardel, Ignacy; Okruszko, Tomasz; Mezghani, Abdelkader; Kundzewicz, Zbigniew W.
    River flow projections for two future time horizons and RCP 8.5 scenario, generated by two projects (CHASE-PL and CHIHE) in the Polish-Norwegian Research Programme, were compared. The projects employed different hydrological models over different spatial domains. The semi-distributed, process-based, SWAT model was used in the CHASE-PL project for the entire Vistula and Odra basins area, whilst the lumped, conceptual, HBV model was used in the CHIHE project for eight Polish catchments, for which the comparison study was made. Climate projections in both studies originated from the common EURO-CORDEX dataset, but they were different, e.g. due to different bias correction approaches. Increases in mean annual and seasonal flows were projected in both studies, yet the magnitudes of changes were largely different, in particular for the lowland catchments in the far future. The HBV-based increases were significantly higher in the latter case than the SWAT-based increases in all seasons except winter. Uncertainty in projections is high and creates a problem for practitioners.
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    Global bioenergy potentials from agricultural land in 2050: Sensitivity to climate change, diets and yields
    (Amsterdam : Elsevier, 2011) Haberl, Helmut; Erb, Karl-Heinz; Krausmann, Fridolin; Bondeau, Alberte; Lauk, Christian; Müller, Christoph; Plutzar, Christoph; Steinberger, Julia K.
    There is a growing recognition that the interrelations between agriculture, food, bioenergy, and climate change have to be better understood in order to derive more realistic estimates of future bioenergy potentials. This article estimates global bioenergy potentials in the year 2050, following a “food first” approach. It presents integrated food, livestock, agriculture, and bioenergy scenarios for the year 2050 based on a consistent representation of FAO projections of future agricultural development in a global biomass balance model. The model discerns 11 regions, 10 crop aggregates, 2 livestock aggregates, and 10 food aggregates. It incorporates detailed accounts of land use, global net primary production (NPP) and its human appropriation as well as socioeconomic biomass flow balances for the year 2000 that are modified according to a set of scenario assumptions to derive the biomass potential for 2050. We calculate the amount of biomass required to feed humans and livestock, considering losses between biomass supply and provision of final products. Based on this biomass balance as well as on global land-use data, we evaluate the potential to grow bioenergy crops and estimate the residue potentials from cropland (forestry is outside the scope of this study). We assess the sensitivity of the biomass potential to assumptions on diets, agricultural yields, cropland expansion and climate change. We use the dynamic global vegetation model LPJmL to evaluate possible impacts of changes in temperature, precipitation, and elevated CO2 on agricultural yields. We find that the gross (primary) bioenergy potential ranges from 64 to 161 EJ y−1, depending on climate impact, yields and diet, while the dependency on cropland expansion is weak. We conclude that food requirements for a growing world population, in particular feed required for livestock, strongly influence bioenergy potentials, and that integrated approaches are needed to optimize food and bioenergy supply.
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    Impacts of 1.5 versus 2.0 °c on cereal yields in the West African Sudan Savanna
    (Bristol : IOP Publishing, 2018) Faye, Babacar; Webber, Heidi; Naab, Jesse B.; MacCarthy, Dilys S.; Adam, Myriam; Ewert, Frank; Lamers, John P.A.; Schleussner, Carl-Friedrich; Ruane, Alex; Gessner, Ursula; Hoogenboom, Gerrit; Boote, Ken; Shelia, Vakhtang; Saeed, Fahad; Wisser, Dominik; Hadir, Sofia; Laux, Patrick; Gaiser, Thomas
    To reduce the risks of climate change, governments agreed in the Paris Agreement to limit global temperature rise to less than 2.0 °C above pre-industrial levels, with the ambition to keep warming to 1.5 °C. Charting appropriate mitigation responses requires information on the costs of mitigating versus associated damages for the two levels of warming. In this assessment, a critical consideration is the impact on crop yields and yield variability in regions currently challenged by food insecurity. The current study assessed impacts of 1.5 °C versus 2.0 °C on yields of maize, pearl millet and sorghum in the West African Sudan Savanna using two crop models that were calibrated with common varieties from experiments in the region with management reflecting a range of typical sowing windows. As sustainable intensification is promoted in the region for improving food security, simulations were conducted for both current fertilizer use and for an intensification case (fertility not limiting). With current fertilizer use, results indicated 2% units higher losses for maize and sorghum with 2.0 °C compared to 1.5 °C warming, with no change in millet yields for either scenario. In the intensification case, yield losses due to climate change were larger than with current fertilizer levels. However, despite the larger losses, yields were always two to three times higher with intensification, irrespective of the warming scenario. Though yield variability increased with intensification, there was no interaction with warming scenario. Risk and market analysis are needed to extend these results to understand implications for food security.
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    Awassi sheep keeping in the Arabic steppe in relation to nitrous oxide emission from soil
    (Amsterdam : Elsevier, 2013) Hijazi, Omar; Berg, Werner; Moussa, Samouil; Ammon, Christian; von Bobrutzki, Kristina; Brunsch, Reiner
    Sheep husbandry is the main source of income for farmers in arid zones. Increasing sheep production on steppes may increase the greenhouse gas production. The objective of this study was to investigate the nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions from the steppes for Awassi sheep keeping and feed cropping in arid zones such as Syria. The methodology developed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was used to estimate N2O emissions. A survey was conducted on 64 farms in Syria to gather data for analysis. Precipitation and crop yield data from 2001 to 2009 were also used for calculation and modelling. Sheep-keeping systems, precipitation, year and the region have significant effects on N2O emissions (p<0.05). Emissions of N2O from lands with extensive, semi-intensive and intensive systems were 0.30 ± 0.093, 0.598± 0.113 and 2.243± 0.187 kg sheep1year1, respectively. Crop production was higher in regions with high precipitation levels, which helped to reduce N2O emissions. Using more residuals of wheat, cotton and soya as feed for sheep in the keeping systems evaluated may decrease the overuse of steppe regions and N2O emissions. Nitrous oxide emissions of N2O from sheep-keeping areas can be reduced by changing sheep-keeping systems and increasing the crop production in arid zones through artificial irrigation.
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    Significant radiative impact of volcanic aerosol in the lowermost stratosphere
    (London : Nature Publishing Group, 2015) Andersson, Sandra M.; Martinsson, Bengt G.; Vernier, Jean-Paul; Friberg, Johan; Brenninkmeijer, Carl A.M.; Hermann, Markus; van Velthoven, Peter F.J.; Zahn, Andreas
    Despite their potential to slow global warming, until recently, the radiative forcing associated with volcanic aerosols in the lowermost stratosphere (LMS) had not been considered. Here we study volcanic aerosol changes in the stratosphere using lidar measurements from the NASA CALIPSO satellite and aircraft measurements from the IAGOS-CARIBIC observatory. Between 2008 and 2012 volcanism frequently affected the Northern Hemisphere stratosphere aerosol loadings, whereas the Southern Hemisphere generally had loadings close to background conditions. We show that half of the global stratospheric aerosol optical depth following the Kasatochi, Sarychev and Nabro eruptions is attributable to LMS aerosol. On average, 30% of the global stratospheric aerosol optical depth originated in the LMS during the period 2008–2011. On the basis of the two independent, high-resolution measurement methods, we show that the LMS makes an important contribution to the overall volcanic forcing.