Paper Information

Journal:   ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES   FALL 2005 , Volume 3 , Number 9; Page(s) 13 To 23.
 
Paper: 

SENSITIVITY OF GLOBAL SOIL CARBON TO DIFFERENT CLIMATE CHANGE SCENARIOS

 
 
Author(s):  SHAKIBA A.R., MATKAN A.A.
 
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Abstract: 

One of the most pressing questions in the current debate about global climate change is what will happen to organic carbon sequestered in organic matter in soils if global warming occurs. This paper aims to study the potential effect of changes in temperature and precipitation on organic carbon sequestered in global soils. Interpolated data from a General Circulation Model (GCM), predicting temperatures and precipitation as well as world vegetation data set were used in a soil organic carbon decomposition model to study the likely effects of climatic change on organic carbon in soils over the next 100 years under three different scenarios. Results show that levels of organic matter in global soils will decrease as a result of an increase in global temperatures and precipitation. Results also show that different climatic zones of the Earth appear to be affected differently by global warming. Results from the research, as with climatic change modeling itself, represent only one of many possible outcomes. Results from only one GCM were studied in this study. The project results depend largely on a number of justifiable but major assumptions in the theoretical models and sets of data that were used in the study. Moreover, many environmental processes in the atmosphere, oceans and on land are not well understood. As a result, most if not all physical attempts to model the coupled effects of an atmosphere-soil system will contain significant errors. Although the results show (as with previous works) that the level of organic matter in global soils will decrease as a result of an increase in global temperatures and precipitation, such an outcome is by no means certain.

 
Keyword(s): CLIMATE CHANGE, GCM, GLOBAL WARMING, MODELING, SOIL ORGANIC MATTER, TEMPERATURE
 
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