Anthropogenic greenhouse gases are expected to induce changes in global climate that can alter ecosystems in ways that, in turn, may further affect climate. Such climate-ecosystem interactions can generate either positive or negative feedbacks to the climate system, thereby either enhancing or diminishing the magnitude of global climate change. Important terrestrial feedback mechanisms include CO2 fertilization (negative feedbacks), carbon storage in vegetation and soils (positive and negative feedbacks), vegetation albedo (positive feedbacks), and peatland methane emissions (positive and negative feedbacks). While the processes involved are complex, not readily quantifiable, and demonstrate both positive and negative feedback potential, we conclude that the combined effect of the feedback mechanisms reviewed here will likely amplify climate change relative to current projections that have not yet adequately incorporated these mechanisms.
- Carbon cycle
- Global warming
- Greenhouse gases
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Engineering
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
- Energy Engineering and Power Technology