Earth Sciences Division (ESD) Department of Energy (DOE) Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL)

Climate & Carbon Sciences Program Research Area:
The Carbon Cycle

Pathways of carbon cycling for  plant allocation to leaves and roots.

Pathways of carbon cycling for plant allocation to leaves and roots.  Belowground, plant C cascades through several reservoirs - live roots, dead roots, microbial biomass, and organic matter - each with their own mean residence times and respiratory losses.  Some C is rapidly cycled in respiration or exudates.  G/NPP = gross/net primary productivity; both gross and net are represented.

The Climate & Carbon Sciences Program of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory conducts active research on terrestrial, atmospheric, and oceanic dimensions of the global carbon cycle.  Our primary goals are understanding and predicting ecosystem-climate feedbacks, atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations, and the effect of climate change and land use on ecosystem processes. We also conduct research on advanced concepts in biological sequestration, applying the advanced light source to black carbon degradation and microbial genomics to new cyanobacteria products.

Highlights of our carbon cycle activities include:

  • adding methane biogeochemistry to the land surface model (CLM) used in the NCAR's CCSM (Community Climate System Model)
  • simulating high latitude abrupt climate change with robust physics and biogeochemistry
  • using natural abundance 14C to quantify fine root lifetimes and soil carbon turnover
  • completing one of the first top-down and bottom-up atmospheric carbon budgets
  • filling critical gaps in understanding the controls on soil carbon storage and turnover in order to enhance our ability to model the response of soils to climate change, land use change, and management.

New program directions include:

  • integrating multiple datastreams to create a regional testbed for coupled climate-carbon cycle models in the Southern Great Plains
  • developing a laboratory incubation testbed for evaluating decomposition of novel and potentially persistent compounds
Projects and Activities
  • Terrestrial Carbon  
    • Biosequestration
    • Enriched Background Isotope Study
    • Soil carbon studies
    • Linking genes to ecosystems [link to mesocosm project]
  • Atmospheric Carbon
    • Berkeley Lab/ARM Carbon
    • Carbon-Climate Interactions Group [link to Inez]
  • Carbon - Climate Modeling Projects
    • Methane hydrates
    • Methane biogeochemistry
    • High latitude ecosystems and abrupt climate change
  • Climate Change Forcing Scientific Focus Area
  • Climate Change Mitigation Scientific Focus Area
  • Ocean Carbon Flux [link to Bishop]