Carbon Mitigation Initiative

Ninth Year Annual Report: Carbon Science

The Science Group, composed of the Pacala, Sarmiento, Morel and Bender teams, investigates the impacts of climate change on the carbon cycle using both observational data and models.


  • Nitrogen limitation appears to explain weak or absent CO2 fertilization in the temperate and boreal realms while high nitrogen fixation rates support a strong CO2 fertilization sink in the tropics.
  • A terrestrial model with nitrogen cycling is the first to explain both the geographical distribution and history of terrestrial CO2 sinks.
  • A new statistical approach has been developed to investigate the timing and cause of a recent increase in the terrestrial CO2 sink.
  • Work on air-sea fluxes shows the importance of seasonal changes in CO2 uptake
  • Studies of the impacts of ocean acidification on marine phytoplankton show effects on iron uptake, growth efficiency, and growth rate.
  • A new instrument has been developed to continuously measure dissolved inorganic in surface seawater to improve estimates of ocean CO2 uptake and fertility.
  • Recently obtained samples from Antarctica may extend the ice core record much further back in time.

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Last update: February 17 2011
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