The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

Millennial timescale carbon cycle and climate change in an efficient Earth system model

Lenton, T.M., Williamson, M.S., Edwards, N.R., Marsh, R., Price, A.R., Ridgwell, A.J., Shepherd, J.G. and Cox, S.J. (2006) Millennial timescale carbon cycle and climate change in an efficient Earth system model Climate Dynamics, 26, (7-8), pp. 687-711.

Record type: Article


A new Earth system model, GENIE-1, is presented which comprises a 3-D frictional geostrophic ocean, phosphate-restoring marine biogeochemistry, dynamic and thermodynamic sea-ice, land surface physics and carbon cycling, and a seasonal 2-D energy-moisture balance atmosphere. Three sets of model climate parameters are used to explore the robustness of the results and for traceability to earlier work. The model versions have climate sensitivity of 2.8–3.3°C and predict atmospheric CO2 close to present observations. Six idealized total fossil fuel CO2 emissions scenarios are used to explore a range of 1,100–15,000 GtC total emissions and the effect of rate of emissions. Atmospheric CO2 approaches equilibrium in year 3000 at 420–5,660 ppmv, giving 1.5–12.5°C global warming. The ocean is a robust carbon sink of up to 6.5 GtC year?1. Under ‘business as usual’, the land becomes a carbon source around year 2100 which peaks at up to 2.5 GtC year?1. Soil carbon is lost globally, boreal vegetation generally increases, whilst under extreme forcing, dieback of some tropical and sub-tropical vegetation occurs. Average ocean surface pH drops by up to 1.15 units. A Greenland ice sheet melt threshold of 2.6°C local warming is only briefly exceeded if total emissions are limited to 1,100 GtC, whilst 15,000 GtC emissions cause complete Greenland melt by year 3000, contributing 7 m to sea level rise. Total sea-level rise, including thermal expansion, is 0.4–10 m in year 3000 and ongoing. The Atlantic meridional overturning circulation shuts down in two out of three model versions, but only under extreme emissions including exotic fossil fuel resources.

PDF lent_06.pdf - Accepted Manuscript
Download (7MB)

More information

Published date: 2006


Local EPrints ID: 26700
ISSN: 0930-7575
PURE UUID: 62bb51f2-5d9e-435f-86eb-3604bc727228
ORCID for J.G. Shepherd: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 04 May 2006
Last modified: 01 Oct 2017 06:13

Export record


Author: T.M. Lenton
Author: M.S. Williamson
Author: N.R. Edwards
Author: R. Marsh
Author: A.R. Price
Author: A.J. Ridgwell
Author: J.G. Shepherd ORCID iD
Author: S.J. Cox

University divisions

Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton:

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.