IGN 3-3
Representing life in the Earth system

Tuesday, August 11, 2015
345, Baltimore Convention Center
Will R. Wieder, TSS / CGD, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO
Danica Lombardozzi, CGD, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO
Cory C. Cleveland, Department of Ecosystem and Conservation Sciences, University of Montana, Missoula, MT
Gordon Bonan, NCAR, Boulder, CO
Loads of ecology is missing from Earth system models. Despite some progress, increasing model complexity generates uncertainties in model form that reflect both incomplete knowledge of underlying ecological processes and how to represent them in models. Using examples that highlight the importance coupled carbon-nitrogen biogeochemistry, we illustrate how reconsidering some basic ecological processes fundamentally influences future global C cycle projections and global climate. We also outline a path towards using Earth system models to simultaneously make climate projections and evaluate ecological theory—facilitating advancements across scientific disciplines.