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© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 18 Oct 2019

Submitted as: research article | 18 Oct 2019

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This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).

Pathway dependence of ecosystem responses in China to 1.5 °C global warming

Xu Yue1, Hong Liao1, Huijun Wang2, Tianyi Zhang3, Nadine Unger4, Stephen Sitch4, Zhaozhong Feng1, and Jia Yang5 Xu Yue et al.
  • 1Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Atmospheric Environment Monitoring and Pollution Control, Collaborative Innovation Center of Atmospheric Environment and Equipment Technology, School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Nanjing University of Information Science & Technology (NUIST), Nanjing, 210044, China
  • 2Ministry of Education Key Laboratory of Meteorological Disaster, Joint International Research Laboratory of Climate and Environment Change, Collaborative Innovation Center on Forecast and Evaluation of Meteorological Disasters, NUIST, Nanjing, 210044, China
  • 3State Key Laboratory of Atmospheric Boundary Layer Physics and Atmospheric Chemistry, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100029, China
  • 4College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences, University of Exeter, Exeter, EX4 4QE, UK
  • 5Department of Forestry, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS, 39762, USA

Abstract. China is currently the world's largest emitter of both CO2 and short-lived air pollutants. The ecosystems in China help mitigate a part of its carbon emissions, but are subject to perturbations in CO2, climate, and air pollution. Here, we use a dynamic vegetation model and data from three model inter-comparison projects to examine ecosystem responses in China under different emission pathways towards the 1.5 °C warming target set by the Paris Agreement. At 1.5 °C warming, gross primary productivity (GPP) increases by 15.5 ± 5.4 % in a stabilized pathway and 11.9 ± 4.4 % in a transient pathway. CO2 fertilization is the dominant driver of GPP enhancement and climate change is the main source of uncertainties. However, differences in ozone and aerosols explain the GPP differences between pathways at 1.5 °C warming. Although the land carbon sink is weakened by 17.4 ± 19.6 % in the stabilized pathway, the ecosystems mitigate 10.6 ± 1.4 % of national emissions in the stabilized pathway, more efficient than the fraction of 6.3 ± 0.8 % in the transient pathway. To achieve the 1.5 °C warming target, our analysis suggests a higher allowable carbon budget for China under a stabilized pathway with reduced emissions in both CO2 and air pollution.

Xu Yue et al.
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Short summary
We explore ecosystem responses in China to 1.5 °C global warming under stabilized versus transient pathways. Remarkably, GPP shows 30 % higher enhancement in the stabilized than the transient pathway, because of the lower ozone (smaller damages to photosynthesis) and fewer aerosols (higher light availability) in the former pathway. Our analyses suggest that an associated reduction of CO2 and pollution emissions brings more benefits to ecosystems in China by 1.5 °C global warming.
We explore ecosystem responses in China to 1.5 °C global warming under stabilized versus...