DOE Pulse
  • Number 299  |
  • November 9, 2009

Climate model first to factor nitrogen cycle

The ATR user facility selected its first crop of projects in 2008 and now has 12 current experiments.

ORNL's Peter Thornton is helping
climate scientists incorporate the
nitrogen cycle into global
simulations for climate change.

For the first time, climate scientists from across the country have successfully incorporated the nitrogen cycle into global simulations for climate change, questioning previous assumptions regarding carbon feedback and potentially helping to refine model forecasts about global warming. The results of the experiment at DOE's Oak Ridge National Laboratory and at the National Center for Atmospheric Research are published inĀ Biogeosciences. They illustrate the complexity of climate modeling by demonstrating how natural processes still have a strong effect on the carbon cycle and climate simulations. In this case, scientists found that the rate of climate change over the next century could be higher than previously anticipated when the requirement of plant nutrients are included in the climate model.

[Ron Walli, 865.576-0226,]