EGU23-8607, updated on 26 Feb 2023
EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Importance of land cover scenarios in a low warming world

Steven De Hertog1, Felix Havermann2, Suqi Guo2, Julia Pongratz2,3, Iris Manola4, Fei Luo4,5, Dim Coumou4,5, Edouard Léopold Davin6,7,8, Sonia Isabelle Seneviratne9, Quentin Lejeune10, Inga Menke10, Carl-Friedrich Schleussner10, Florian Humpenöder11, Peter Lawrence12, Louise Chini13, George Hurtt13, Wim Thiery1, and Alexander Popp11
Steven De Hertog et al.
  • 1Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Faculty of engineering, Hydrology and hydraulic engineering, Belgium
  • 2Ludwig-Maximilian-University Munich, Department of Geography, Munich, Germany.
  • 3Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Hamburg, Germany.
  • 4Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Institute for Environmental studies, Amsterdam, Netherlands.
  • 5Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI), De Bilt, Netherlands.
  • 6University of Bern, Wyss Academy for Nature, Bern, Switzerland.
  • 7University of Bern, Climate and Environmental physics division, Bern, Switzerland.
  • 8University of Bern, Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research, Bern, Switzerland.
  • 9ETH Zurich, Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science, 8092 Zurich, Switzerland.
  • 10Climate Analytics, Berlin, Germany.
  • 11Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), Potsdam, Germany
  • 12National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO, USA.
  • 13Department of Geographical Sciences, University of Maryland, MD, USA.

Land cover and land management changes (LCLMC) have often been highlighted as crucial regarding climate change, both for mitigation (e.g. afforestation) and adaptation (e.g. irrigation). In order to understand this role we present fully coupled Earth System Model (ESM) simulations using external forcing conditions from the SSP1-1.9 scenario, except for land cover and land management scenarios that follow differing trajectories. First we conduct a short 30-year historical simulation (histCTL) and a future (years 2015-2100) simulation under SSP1-1.9 conditions but with present day land cover kept at constant end of 2014 conditions (futCTL). These allow us to isolate climate changes in response to the SSP1-19 forcing, but in the absence of land cover changes. Secondly we conduct two simulations under SSP1-1.9 forcing, but with land cover and land management following two different trajectories. These trajectories are derived from the scenarios presented in Humpenöder et al. (2022) and represent two strongly diverging worlds with regard to socio-economic development, environmental protection, and land-based mitigation: (i) the future sustainability scenario (futSust) in which the land sector experiences sustainable development and application of mitigation strategies (such as greenhouse gas emission pricing) in all countries, (ii) the future inequality scenario (futIneq) in which these developments mostly happen in OECD countries, with the rest of the world continuing on current trends (including massive tropical deforestation). Each of these simulations have been run with three different ESMs (CESM, MPI-ESM and EC-EARTH) in order to identify how robust these results are over different ESMs.

The results of these simulations can be used to increase our understanding of the role of land cover scenarios within a low-warming future as prescribed by the Paris agreement. We can compare the effects of all other forcings (futCTL- histCTL; CO2, aerosols etc.) to the effects of land cover changes in the different scenarios (futSust – futCTL or futIneq-futCTL) as well as to the difference between the future sustainability and the inequality narratives (futSust-futIneq). These results will be analysed for temperature and moisture fluxes, mainly focusing on warm and dry extremes and how land cover scenarios affect these.



Humpenöder, F., Popp, A., Schleussner, C. F., Orlov, A., Windisch, M. G., Menke, I., Pongratz, J., Havermann, F., Thiery, W., Luo, F., Jeetze, P. V., Philipp Dietrich, J., Lotze-Campen, H., Weindl, I. & Lejeune, Q. (2022). Overcoming global inequality is critical for land-based mitigation in line with the Paris Agreement. Nature Communications, 13(1), 1-15.

How to cite: De Hertog, S., Havermann, F., Guo, S., Pongratz, J., Manola, I., Luo, F., Coumou, D., Davin, E. L., Seneviratne, S. I., Lejeune, Q., Menke, I., Schleussner, C.-F., Humpenöder, F., Lawrence, P., Chini, L., Hurtt, G., Thiery, W., and Popp, A.: Importance of land cover scenarios in a low warming world, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-8607,, 2023.