How close are we to a predictive science of the biosphere?

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In just 20 years, the field of biosphere-atmosphere interactions has gone from a nascent discipline to a central area of modern climate change research. The development of terrestrial biosphere models that predict the responses of ecosystems to climate and increasing CO2 levels has highlighted several mechanisms by which changes in ecosystem composition and function might alter regional and global climate. However, results from empirical studies suggest that ecosystem responses can differ markedly from the predictions of terrestrial biosphere models. As I discuss here, the challenge now is to connect terrestrial biosphere models to empirical ecosystem measurements. Only by systematically evaluating the predictions of terrestrial biosphere models against suites of ecosystem observations and experiments measurements will a true predictive science of the biosphere be achieved.


Moorcroft, Paul RengResearch Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.ReviewEngland2006/07/04 09:00Trends Ecol Evol. 2006 Jul;21(7):400-7. Epub 2006 May 12.

Last updated on 05/01/2015