Skip to main content

Fueling Forests: Nitrogen Cycling and Projecting Climate Change

Speaker: Dr. Sian Kou-Giesbrecht, Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis

The terrestrial carbon sink currently sequesters a third of anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, thereby exerting a pivotal control on atmospheric CO2 concentration. However, the terrestrial carbon sink requires nutrients such as nitrogen to fuel carbon sequestration. A major challenge has been resolving the degree to which nitrogen will constrain carbon sequestration under interacting global change drivers in the future, especially as elevated atmospheric CO2 concentration stimulates photosynthesis and correspondingly increases nitrogen demand.

In this talk, Dr. Kou-Giesbrecht will explore how nitrogen cycling is implemented within terrestrial biosphere models, which are used to project the terrestrial carbon sink and are used within the framework of Earth System Models to project climate change. The presentation will also explore how improving and applying our empirically established fundamental understanding of carbon and nitrogen cycling can contribute to terrestrial biosphere model development and analysis, and thus improve their projections of the terrestrial carbon sink and climate change.