Climate Change 2001:
Synthesis Report
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Figure 5-5: The recent net uptake of carbon on the land is partly due to enhanced CO2 uptake through plant growth, with a delay before this carbon is returned to the atmosphere via the decay of plant material and soil organic matter. Several processes contribute to the enhanced plant growth: changes in land use and management, fertilizing effects of elevated CO2 and nitrogen, and some climate changes (such as a longer growing season at high latitudes). A range of models (identified by their acronyms in the figure) project a continued increase in the strength of the net carbon uptake on land for several decades, then a leveling off or decline late in the 21st century for reasons explained in the text. The model results illustrated here arise from the IS92a scenario, but similar conclusions are reached using other scenarios.

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