EGU24-17896, updated on 11 Mar 2024
EGU General Assembly 2024
© Author(s) 2024. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Warming of Northern Peatlands Increases the Global Temperature Overshoot Challenge

Biqing Zhu1,2, Chunjing Qiu3,4,2, Thomas Gasser1, Philippe Ciais2, and Robin D. Lamboll5
Biqing Zhu et al.
  • 1International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), 2361 Laxenburg, Austria
  • 2Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement (LSCE), CEA–CNRS– UVSQ, IPSL, Université Paris-Saclay, 91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, France
  • 3Research Center for Global Change and Complex Ecosystems, School of Ecological and Environmental Sciences, East China Normal University, Shanghai, China
  • 4Institute of Eco-Chongming, East China Normal University, Shanghai, China
  • 5Centre for Environmental Policy, Imperial College London, London, UK

To meet the Paris Agreement temperature goal, allowable carbon emissions in the future are tightly limited. It is very likely that the 1.5°C temperature limit will be at least temporarily exceeded (overshoot) under an emission pathway following current climate policies and actions. Peatlands store large amounts of soil carbon, the destabilization of which could potentially cause large amplifying feedback on global warming. Using the reduced-complexity Earth system model OSCAR v3.1.2 and a new peat carbon module, we assessed whether carbon emissions from northern peatlands triggered by climate change will increase the chance and intensity of temperature overshoot. We found that, although northern peatlands continue to accumulate carbon, they represent positive feedback under climate change through their high CH4 emissions. For a 1°C increase in peak temperature anomaly, emissions from peatlands further contribute to the peak temperature by 0.02 (0.01-0.02) °C. Considering northern peatlands would lead to a reduction in the carbon budget by about 40 (16-60) GtCO2, or 8.6% for 1.5°C, and a reduction of about 105 (45-166) GtCO2 reduction (or 4.2% relative decrease) for 2.5°C. Our findings highlight the importance of properly accounting for northern peatland emissions for estimating climate feedbacks, especially under overshoot scenarios.

How to cite: Zhu, B., Qiu, C., Gasser, T., Ciais, P., and Lamboll, R. D.: Warming of Northern Peatlands Increases the Global Temperature Overshoot Challenge, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-17896,, 2024.