Articles | Volume 9, issue 8
Biogeosciences, 9, 2889–2904, 2012

Special issue: REgional Carbon Cycle Assessment and Processes (RECCAP)

Biogeosciences, 9, 2889–2904, 2012

Reviews and syntheses 02 Aug 2012

Reviews and syntheses | 02 Aug 2012

Carbon Cycle Uncertainty in REgional Carbon Cycle Assessment and Processes (RECCAP)

I. G. Enting1, P. J. Rayner1, and P. Ciais2 I. G. Enting et al.
  • 1The University of Melbourne, Vic 3010, Australia
  • 2Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement, CEA-CNRS-UVSQ, Gif sur Yvettte, France

Abstract. Characterisation of estimates of regional carbon budgets and processes is inherently a statistical task. In full form this means that almost all quantities used or produced are realizations or instances of probability distributions. We usually compress the description of these distributions by using some kind of location parameter (e.g. the mean) and some measure of spread or uncertainty (e.g. the standard deviation). Characterising and calculating these uncertainties, and their structure in space and time, is as important as the location parameter, but uncertainties are both hard to calculate and hard to interpret. In this paper we describe the various classes of uncertainty that arise in a process like RECCAP and describe how they interact in formal estimation procedures. We also point out the impact these uncertainties will have on the various RECCAP synthesis activities.

Final-revised paper