Seasonal responses of terrestrial carbon cycle to climate variations in CMIP5 models: Evaluation and projection

Yongwen Liu, Shilong Piao, Xu Lian, Philippe Ciais, W. Kolby Smith

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13 Scopus citations


Seventeen Earth system models (ESMs) from phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) were evaluated, focusing on the seasonal sensitivities of net biome production (NBP), net primary production (NPP), and heterotrophic respiration (Rh) to interannual variations in temperature and precipitation during 1982-2005 and their changes over the twenty-first century. Temperature sensitivity of NPP in ESMs was generally consistent across northern high-latitude biomes but significantly more negative for tropical and subtropical biomes relative to satellite-derived estimates. The temperature sensitivity of NBP in both inversion-based and ESM estimates was generally consistent in March-May (MAM) and September- November (SON) for tropical forests, semiarid ecosystems, and boreal forests. By contrast, for inversion-based NBP estimates, temperature sensitivity of NBP was nonsignificant for June-August (JJA) for all biomes except boreal forest; whereas, for ESM NBP estimates, the temperature sensitivity for JJA was significantly negative for all biomes except shrublands and subarctic ecosystems.Both satellite-derivedNPP and inversion-basedNBP are often decoupled from precipitation, whereas ESM NPP and NBP estimates are generally positively correlated with precipitation, suggesting that ESMs are oversensitive to precipitation. Over the twenty-first century, changes in temperature sensitivities of NPP, Rh, and NBP are consistent across all RCPs but stronger under more intensive scenarios. The temperature sensitivity of NBP was found to decrease in tropics and subtropics and increase in northern high latitudes inMAMdue to an increased temperature sensitivity of NPP. Across all biomes, projected temperature sensitivity ofNPP decreased in JJAand SON. Projected precipitation sensitivity of NBP did not change across biomes, except over grasslands in MAM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6481-6503
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Climate
Issue number16
StatePublished - Aug 1 2017


  • Coupled models
  • Interannual variability
  • Land surface
  • Model evaluation/performance
  • Vegetation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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