Temperature acclimation of photosynthesis and respiration: A key uncertainty in the carbon cycle-climate feedback

Danica L. Lombardozzi, Gordon B. Bonan, Nicholas G. Smith, Jeffrey S. Dukes, Rosie A. Fisher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


Earth System Models typically use static responses to temperature to calculate photosynthesis and respiration, but experimental evidence suggests that many plants acclimate to prevailing temperatures. We incorporated representations of photosynthetic and leaf respiratory temperature acclimation into the Community Land Model, the terrestrial component of the Community Earth System Model. These processes increased terrestrial carbon pools by 20 Pg C (22%) at the end of the 21st century under a business-as-usual (Representative Concentration Pathway 8.5) climate scenario. Including the less certain estimates of stem and root respiration acclimation increased terrestrial carbon pools by an additional 17 Pg C (~40% overall increase). High latitudes gained the most carbon with acclimation, and tropical carbon pools increased least. However, results from both of these regions remain uncertain; few relevant data exist for tropical and boreal plants or for extreme temperatures. Constraining these uncertainties will produce more realistic estimates of land carbon feedbacks throughout the 21st century. Key Points Most global land surface models do not account for plant temperature acclimation With acclimation, future carbon gain was larger in high latitudes and smaller in the tropics Studies determining acclimation in tropical and boreal plants are needed

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8624-8631
Number of pages8
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number20
StatePublished - Oct 28 2015


  • photosynthesis
  • respiration
  • temperature acclimation

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Temperature acclimation of photosynthesis and respiration: A key uncertainty in the carbon cycle-climate feedback'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this