The global carbon cycle: a test of our knowledge of earth as a system.


Motivated by the rapid increase in atmospheric CO2 due to human activities since the Industrial Revolution, several international scientific research programs have analyzed the role of individual components of the Earth system in the global carbon cycle. Our knowledge of the carbon cycle within the oceans, terrestrial ecosystems, and the atmosphere is sufficiently extensive to permit us to conclude that although natural processes can potentially slow the rate of increase in atmospheric CO2, there is no natural "savior" waiting to assimilate all the anthropogenically produced CO2 in the coming century. Our knowledge is insufficient to describe the interactions between the components of the Earth system and the relationship between the carbon cycle and other biogeochemical and climatological processes. Overcoming this limitation requires a systems approach.

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@article{Falkowski2000TheGC, title={The global carbon cycle: a test of our knowledge of earth as a system.}, author={Paul G. Falkowski and Robert Scholes and Ed Boyle and Josep G Canadell and Donald Eugene Canfield and J{\"{o}rg Elser and N Gruber and Kathy A. Hibbard and Peter H{\"{o}gberg and Sune Linder and Fred T. Mackenzie and Brandon Moore and Tom Pedersen and Yair Rosenthal and Sybil P. Seitzinger and V. Smet{\'a}cek and William L. Steffen}, journal={Science}, year={2000}, volume={290 5490}, pages={291-6} }