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Global biosphere and water modelling

Biosphere and global hydrological modelling activities are jointly undertaken by the RD1 flagship projects OPEN and ECOSTAB and the RD2 flagship MusiX.

Responsible researchers:
Dieter Gerten
(RD1), Kirsten Thonicke (RD1), Christoph Müller (RD2)

The carbon and water cycles of the global terrestrial biosphere are central elements in the Earth System as well as for human resource consumption. The dynamic response of vegetation patterns to changes in climate and atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations as well as human land use strongly affect the Earth System's response to the emissions of greenhouse gases and climate change. Currently, the biosphere acts as a net carbon sink and thus mitigates climate change through sequestration of anthropogenic CO2 emissions, regulates water discharge and provides many other ecosystem services.

Terrestrial carbon and water cycles are also intimately linked to each other, because they are exchanged through the same tiny pores on leaves, the stomata, and can thus best be studied jointly. Also, many central processes of plant growth, such as photosynthesis and maintenance respiration work similarly for both natural plants, such as trees and grasses, as well as for cultivated plants, such as wheat and switchgrass.

The global biosphere and water modelling group at PIK studies the role of the biosphere in the Earth System, the provision of ecosystem services and agricultural systems at the global scale with one shared and jointly developed model LPJmL that consistently simulates all these relevant dimensions of the global biosphere and water cycle.

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