The Effects of Phosphorus Cycle Dynamics on Carbon Sources and Sinks in the Amazon Region: A Modeling Study Using ELM v1

Yang, Xiaojuan; Ricciuto, Daniel M.; Thornton, Peter E.; Shi, Xiaoying; Xu, Min; Hoffman, Forrest; Norby, Richard J.
December 2019
Journal of Geophysical Research. Biogeosciences;Dec2019, Vol. 124 Issue 12, p3686
Academic Journal
Tropical forests play a crucial role in the global carbon cycle, accounting for one third of the global net primary productivity and containing about 25% of global vegetation biomass and soil carbon. This is particularly true for tropical forests in the Amazon region, as these comprise approximately 50% of the world's tropical forests. It is therefore important for us to understand and represent the processes that determine the fluxes and storage of carbon in these forests. In this study, we show that the implementation of phosphorus (P) cycle and P limitation in the version 1 of the Energy Exascale Earth System Model land model (ELM v1) improves simulated spatial pattern of wood productivity. The P‐enabled ELM v1 is able to capture the declining west‐to‐east gradient of productivity, consistent with field observations. We also show that by improving the representation of mortality processes using soils data, ELMv1 is able to reproduce the observed spatial pattern of above ground biomass. Our model simulations show that the consideration of P availability leads to a smaller carbon sink associated with CO2 fertilization effect and lower carbon emissions due to land use and land cover change. Our simulations suggest P limitation would significantly reduce the carbon sink associated with CO2 fertilization effects through the 21st century. We conclude that P cycle dynamics affect both sources and sinks of carbon in the Amazon region, and the effects of P limitation would become increasingly important as CO2 increases. Therefore, P limitation must be considered for projecting future carbon dynamics in tropical ecosystems. Key Points: We implemented a prognostic phosphorus cycle and carbon‐nitrogen‐phosphorus interactions into ELM v1ELM v1 simulations show phosphorus cycle dynamics affect both sources and sinks of carbon in the Amazon regionThe effects of P limitation would become increasingly important as CO2 increases in the future


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