17 Jul 2023
 | 17 Jul 2023
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ESSD.

Spatially explicit re-harmonized terrestrial carbon densities for calibrating Integrated human-Earth System Models

Kanishka B. Narayan, Alan V. Di Vittorio, Evan Margiotta, Seth A. Spawn-Lee, and Holly K. Gibbs

Abstract. Soil and vegetation carbon densities play a critical role in global and regional human-Earth system models and MultiSector Dynamics Models. These densities affect variables such as land use change emissions and also influence land use change pathways under climate forcing scenarios where terrestrial carbon is assigned a carbon price. Recently, more spatially explicit, fine resolution data have become available for both soil and vegetation carbon. However, for models to effectively use these data the fine resolution data need to be reharmonized to the initial land use and land cover conditions represented by these models. Without such reharmonization the carbon values may be inaccurate for particular land types and places where the source data and the model disagree on the land use/cover type. Here we present reharmonized soil and vegetation carbon densities both at the 5-arcmin resolution grid cell level and also aggregated to 235 water sheds for 4 land use types and 15 land cover types. These data are particularly useful as initial land carbon conditions for global Multisectoral Dynamic Models (MSD). Moreover, these data include six different statistical states calculated using distinct resampling methods for each of the land use and land cover types. These statistical states are used to define a range of possible carbon values for each land classification, and any state can be used for defining initial conditions of soil and vegetation carbon in MSD models. Users can also estimate any percentile of the carbon distribution defined by these six summary states. We make use of these statistical states to calculate spatially distinct uncertainties in the carbon densities by land type. We have implemented these data in a state-of-the-art multi sector dynamics model, namely the Global Change Analysis Model (GCAM), and show that these new data improve several land use responses in the model, especially when terrestrial carbon is assigned a carbon price. The statistical states in our data are validated against similar estimates in the literature both at a grid cell level and at a regional level.

Kanishka B. Narayan et al.

Status: open (until 30 Oct 2023)

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  • RC1: 'Comment on essd-2023-251', Anonymous Referee #1, 03 Sep 2023 reply

Kanishka B. Narayan et al.

Data sets

Spatially explicit re-harmonized terrestrial carbon densities for calibrating Integrated Multisectoral Models Kanishka B. Narayan; Alan Di Vittorio; Evan Margiotta; Seth A. Spawn; Holly Gibbs

Model code and software

moirai land data system Alan Di Vittorio; Evan Margiotta; Kanishka B. Narayan; Chris Vernon

Kanishka B. Narayan et al.


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Short summary
In this paper we present a new dataset of grid cell level spatially explicit carbon harmonized with land types in a global Multisector Dynamics Model. This dataset can be used to define an initial condition of terrestrial carbon in MSD models. Our harmonized dataset presents carbon values for 3 pools (topsoil, above ground biomass and below ground biomass) for six statistical states across land use types. Our dataset is available at a pixel level (5 arcmin) and aggregated to 699 land regions.