Articles | Volume 7, issue 2
08 Feb 2010
 | 08 Feb 2010

The African contribution to the global climate-carbon cycle feedback of the 21st century

P. Friedlingstein, P. Cadule, S. L. Piao, P. Ciais, and S. Sitch

Abstract. Future climate change will have impact on global and regional terrestrial carbon balances. The fate of African tropical forests over the 21st century has been investigated through global coupled climate carbon cycle model simulations. Under the SRES-A2 socio-economic CO2 emission scenario of the IPCC, and using the Institut Pierre Simon Laplace coupled ocean-terrestrial carbon cycle and climate model, IPSL-CM4-LOOP, we found that the warming over African ecosystems induces a reduction of net ecosystem productivity, making a 38% contribution to the global climate-carbon cycle positive feedback. Most of this contribution comes from African grasslands, followed by African savannahs, African tropical forest contributing little to the global climate-carbon feedback. However, the vulnerability of the African rainforest ecosystem is quite large. In contrast, the Amazon forest, despite its lower vulnerability, has a much larger overall contribution due to its 6 times larger extent.

Final-revised paper