Monitoring, diagnosis and prediction of the global carbon cycle
Partners and Customers
Our goal is to understand the
feedbacks between physical and biological processes involving the carbon cycle,
in order to predict changes in carbon fluxes at the Earth's surface.
the role of the carbon cycle in the Earth system is crucial. It is
closely coupled to greenhouse gas induced climate change, the water cycle,
marine and land productivity and biodiversity. If we can better understand the
interaction of physical and biological processes in the carbon cycle and
climate, our ability to predict future changes in carbon fluxes and reservoirs
will be enhanced. We need to quantify the global carbon budget, in regional
detail, by combining space observations of surface processes with the next
generation of atmospheric carbon and ground-based measurements.
research priorities are:
- To combine satellite
measurements of the Earth's surface and atmosphere with bio-physical
models of the land and ocean, in order to quantify surface fluxes of
carbon dioxide and methane, and understand the processes that drive them.
- To improve quantification of
the role played by fire in the Earth system.
- To identify the relative
weighting of the key processes affecting the carbon balance of the tropics
and in so doing provide support for negotiations on the post-Kyoto
Protocol reduced deforestation mechanism and the associated benefits for
- To determine the importance
of shelf seas with their high biological productivity and hence strong
draw down of CO2
Our current work includes:
- Preparations for observing atmospheric carbon dioxide and methane from the OCO and GOSAT satellite missions and their use to infer land and ocean carbon sinks and sources.
- Assembly of ground-based data from chambers, flux towers and instrumented towers, together with airborne observations, to improve and test EO inversions and C models
- Measurements of trace gases and fluxes from biomass burning
- First estimates of carbon balance of tropical forest subject to deforestation and degradation
- Development of improved terrestrial carbon models, especially as regards their representation of soil and soil water processes
- Quantification of ocean biogeochemistry and carbon fluxes
- Quantification of bio-physical interactions and air-sea carbon dioxide fluxes
- Data assimilation for marine ecosystem models (which integrates with the climate theme).