CO2-induced terrestrial climate feedback mechanism: From carbon sink to aerosol source and back

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Feedbacks mechanisms are essential components of our climate system, as they either increase or decrease changes in climate-related quantities in the presence of external forcings. In this work, we provide the first quantitative estimate regarding the terrestrial climate feedback loop connecting the increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration, changes in gross primary production (GPP) associated with the carbon uptake, organic aerosol formation in the atmosphere, and transfer of both diffuse and global radiation. Our approach was to combine process-level understanding with comprehensive, long-term field measurement data set collected from a boreal forest site in southern Finland. Our best estimate of the gain in GPP resulting from the feedback is 1.3 (range 1.02-1.5), which is larger than the gains of the few atmospheric chemistry-climate feedbacks estimated using large-scale models. Our analysis demonstrates the power of using comprehensive field measurements in investigating the complicated couplings between the biosphere and atmosphere on one hand, and the need for complementary approaches relying on the combination of field data, satellite observations model simulations on the other hand.


  • Markku Kulmala
  • Tuomo Nieminen
  • Anna Nikandrova
  • Katrianne Lehtipalo
  • Hanna E. Manninen
  • Maija K. Kajos
  • Pasi Kolari
  • Antti Lauri
  • Tuukka Petaja
  • Radovan Krejci
  • Hans-Christen Hansson
  • Erik Swietlicki
  • Anders Lindroth
  • Torben Christensen
  • Almut Arneth
  • Pertti Hari
  • Jaana Back
  • Timo Vesala
  • Veli-Matti Kerminen
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Physical Geography
  • Subatomic Physics
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)122-131
JournalBoreal Environment Research: An International Interdisciplinary Journal
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015. The record was previously connected to the following departments: Nuclear Physics (Faculty of Technology) (011013007), Dept of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science (011010000)