Journal Highlights

Incorporating microbial processes into earth system models

Editor’s Highlight—

 

Soils are the largest land-based pool of carbon. The decomposition of soil organic carbon to carbon dioxide by microbes plays a significant role as a biotic feedback to climate change. Despite decades of research, high uncertainty remains in the land-based climate change feedbacks in existing earth system models. Ignoring microbial and enzymatic processes related to soil organic matter decomposition can result in high uncertainty of model predictions. Recently, the importance of incorporating microbial physiology and enzyme kinetics in the soil organic matter module of earth system models has been recognized in carbon cycle research. To that end, this paper integrates microbial processes in an ecosystem model and demonstrates that the coupled model can better capture global soil carbon and microbial biomass carbon data.