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Climate change weakens carbon sinks and further amplifies climate change

Friedlingstein, Pierre; Lovenduski, Nicole S.; Lewis, Simon L.; Schuur, Edward A. G.; Turetsky, Merritt R.; Smith, Adam J. P.

This ScienceBrief Review examines the links between climate change (warming) and the carbon cycle where amplifying feedbacks can strengthen climate change. It synthesises findings from more than 130 peer-reviewed scientific articles gathered using ScienceBrief. The evidence suggests that climate change affects carbon cycle processes in a way that amplifies the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere and causes additional warming. Models suggest that climate change would act to reduce carbon sinks, leading to an additional increase in atmospheric CO2 of about 10 to 70 parts per million (ppm) per degree Celsius of global warming on decadal to century time scales. Additional carbon feedbacks from permafrost thawing and methane hydrates are uncertain but probably add no more than 30% above this range on century timescales. No runaway carbon-climate feedbacks are anticipated this century.

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