Journal cover Journal topic
Climate of the Past An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
Clim. Past, 9, 1571-1587, 2013
© Author(s) 2013. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
22 Jul 2013
Influence of dynamic vegetation on climate change and terrestrial carbon storage in the Last Glacial Maximum
R. O'ishi1,2 and A. Abe-Ouchi1,3 1Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute, University of Tokyo, Kashiwa, Japan
2National Institute of Polar Research, Tokyo, Japan
3Frontier Research Center for Global Change, Yokohama, Japan
Abstract. When the climate is reconstructed from paleoevidence, it shows that the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM, ca. 21 000 yr ago) is cold and dry compared to the present-day. Reconstruction also shows that compared to today, the vegetation of the LGM is less active and the distribution of vegetation was drastically different, due to cold temperature, dryness, and a lower level of atmospheric CO2 concentration (185 ppm compared to a preindustrial level of 285 ppm). In the present paper, we investigate the influence of vegetation change on the climate of the LGM by using a coupled atmosphere-ocean-vegetation general circulation model (AOVGCM, the MIROC-LPJ). The MIROC-LPJ is different from earlier studies in the introduction of a bias correction method in individual running GCM experiments. We examined four GCM experiments (LGM and preindustrial, with and without vegetation feedback) and quantified the strength of the vegetation feedback during the LGM. The result shows that global-averaged cooling during the LGM is amplified by +13.5 % due to the introduction of vegetation feedback. This is mainly caused by the increase of land surface albedo due to the expansion of tundra in northern high latitudes and the desertification in northern middle latitudes around 30° N to 60° N. We also investigated how this change in climate affected the total terrestrial carbon storage by using offline Lund-Potsdam-Jena dynamic global vegetation model (LPJ-DGVM). Our result shows that the total terrestrial carbon storage was reduced by 597 PgC during the LGM, which corresponds to the emission of 282 ppm atmospheric CO2. In the LGM experiments, the global carbon distribution is generally the same whether the vegetation feedback to the atmosphere is included or not. However, the inclusion of vegetation feedback causes substantial terrestrial carbon storage change, especially in explaining the lowering of atmospheric CO2 during the LGM.

Citation: O'ishi, R. and Abe-Ouchi, A.: Influence of dynamic vegetation on climate change and terrestrial carbon storage in the Last Glacial Maximum, Clim. Past, 9, 1571-1587,, 2013.
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