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Given the scale of human activity, climate, energy, and land use are now tightly coupled in the Earth system. Accelerating scientific advancements that enhance capabilities for integrated earth system modeling are needed to support the development of a sustainable energy future. We are addressing this challenge by embedding the socio-economic and energy technology components of integrated assessment models into the fully coupled land surface-climate model, forming the integrated earth system model (iESM). Our core modeling platform is the NCAR‑DOE Community Climate System Model (CCSM) including the Community Land Model (CLM).
Our immediate focus is in modeling the interactions of biofeedstocks with terrestrial and hydrological processes. The potential for significant and sustainable production of biofuels is a central issue for the nation’s energy security. Reliable determination of this potential requires a better understanding of the interactions among biofuel feedstocks and the atmosphere, soil, water, and agriculture. The climatic effects of widespread biofuel cropping are highly uncertain, since it can increase or decrease greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and radiative forcing. One useful metric for the effects of biofuel feedstock production is the land amplification factor, a measure of the enhancement of atmospheric CO2 (or other GHGs) by the response of terrestrial biogeochemical cycles to climate change. Our objective is to simulate the environmental effects of biofuels using process-oriented models at local scales to evaluate iESMs (integrated Earth System Models) at global scales.