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Sonntag, Sebastian; Pongratz, Julia ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0372-3960; Reick, Christian H. and Schmidt, Hauke (2016): Reforestation in a high-CO2 world-Higher mitigation potential than expected, lower adaptation potential than hoped for. In: Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 43, No. 12: pp. 6546-6553

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We assess the potential and possible consequences for the global climate of a strong reforestation scenario for this century. We perform model experiments using the Max Planck Institute Earth System Model (MPI-ESM), forced by fossil-fuel CO2 emissions according to the high-emission scenario Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 8.5, but using land use transitions according to RCP4.5, which assumes strong reforestation. Thereby, we isolate the land use change effects of the RCPs from those of other anthropogenic forcings. We find that by 2100 atmospheric CO2 is reduced by 85 ppm in the reforestation model experiment compared to the reference RCP8.5 model experiment. This reduction is higher than previous estimates and is due to increased forest cover in combination with climate and CO2 feedbacks. We find that reforestation leads to global annual mean temperatures being lower by 0.27 K in 2100. We find large annual mean warming reductions in sparsely populated areas, whereas reductions in temperature extremes are also large in densely populated areas.

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