Estimates of ecosystem carbon mitigation improved towards the goal of the Paris agreement


IMAGE: These are techniques of terrestrial net CO2 flux estimate.
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Credit: Masayuki Kondo

Approximately 30 percent of CO2 released to the environment by human activities, generally the usage of nonrenewable fuel sources and logging, is used up by terrestrial environments such as forests and meadows. The current reports from the IPCC concluded that brand-new land-use alternatives to boost this terrestrial carbon sink are required to satisfy the objectives of the Paris Agreement on Climate. “Yet, it is important to understand the best science-based estimate of where atmospheric CO2 is fixed in terrestrial ecosystems today, and our study makes a significant step in that direction,” states Masayuki Kondo, an Assistant Professor at the Center for Environmental Remote Sensing, Chiba University.

The net CO2 balance in between the environment and land is described as the “net CO2 flux”, which is the amount of CO2 absorption by photosynthesis (-) and CO2 emissions (+) due to respiration, decay of soil raw material, forest fires, and land-use modifications such as logging and forest conversion to farmland. A series of the IPCC evaluation reports in the past have actually shown that computing the overall CO2 balance over various areas of the world is a tough job.

“There is an urgent need of how much carbon mitigation is required to achieve the temperature targets of the Paris agreement, but we still had a wide spread of estimates on how much CO2 the world terrestrial ecosystems are removing,” states Kondo. He and his associates have actually been attempting to thoroughly comprehend net CO2 flux from the most current outcomes of ‘terrestrial biosphere designs’ that imitate terrestrial CO2 fluxes of different procedures on theoretical and semi-empirical basis and ‘climatic inversions’ that checked out climatic CO2 concentration determined by an international network of tracking stations and utilize international 3D climatic transportation designs to offer a vibrant image of the CO2 fluxes exchanged in between various biomes and the environment.

“Up until now, scientists in various fields of earth science have proposed many kinds of methods to estimate net CO2 flux, including biosphere models and atmospheric inversions. These methods do not provide consistent results until we added the CO2 that is outgassed to the atmosphere by rivers and lakes to the biosphere models”. Such disparities in between various methods to mapping terrestrial carbon fluxes probably to have actually led the inequalities in flux evaluations from biosphere designs and climatic inversions displayed in the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report.

Kondo started to modify the meaning of each design with not just those associated with the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report however likewise in a group of multi-disciplinary scientists coming from 24 universities and research study organizations around the world. “The researchers’ areas of expertise were diverse, ranging from ecology, environmental science, atmospheric physics and chemistry, hydrology, and remote sensing. The periodic update of the Global Carbon Budgets has also helped our cause. We discussed over and over to compensate for differences in definitions.”

As an outcome of the integrated analysis, the research study group prospered in decreasing the inequalities in between net CO2 fluxes from several information sources. With confirming the precision of each technique, the research study group will continue additional research study to lessen the inconsistency in between net CO2 flux evaluations, even at a smaller sized scale of significant specific countries. Finally, Kondo notes, “With the degree of accuracy that we achieved, we are getting confidence in how much CO2 the world terrestrial ecosystems are removing today. This is a good sign of our progress towards the goals of the Paris agreement. We need to continue working together with experts from various fields of research more than ever.” The group reports their outcomes on December 12 in Global Change Biology.



Kondo M., Patra P.K., Sitch S., Friedlingstein P., Poulter B., Chevallier F., Ciais P., Canadell J.G., Bastos A., Lauerwald R., Calle L., Ichii K., Anthoni P., Arneth A., Haverd V., Jain A.K., Kato E., Kautz M., Law R.M., Lienert, S., Lombardozzi D., Maki T., Nakamura T., Peylin P., Rödenbeck C., Zhuravlev R., Saeki T., Tian H., Zhu D., Ziehn T., “State of the science in reconciling top-down and bottom-up approaches for terrestrial CO2 budget”, Global Change Biology, DOI: 10.1111/gcb.14917


Masayuki Kondo Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Center for Environmental Remote Sensing (CEReS), Chiba University

Phone: +81-43-290-3860

email: [email protected]

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