Carbo Extreme: Extreme Weather Impacts on Carbon Sinks

European ecosystems help stabilize the atmosphere by soaking up significant amounts of the carbon in fossil fuel emissions, but researchers are concerned that the effectiveness of those carbon sinks might be diminished by expected increases in extreme weather.

Dried-out earth

Dried-out earth


There is growing concern in the research community that carbon sinks—forests, grass and peat lands, and other arable ecosystems–are vulnerable to climate variability and extreme weather events that might worsen in the future. A loss of some of these sinks could result in more carbon in the atmosphere, accelerating climate change.

CARBO-Extreme researchers hope to achieve a more comprehensive and predictive understanding of carbon sinks by first identifying the most sensitive and vulnerable carbon pools in Europe and then mapping the likely future of these pools. A key research focus is to develop an understanding of how ecosystem carbon balances respond to highly variable, rapidly changing climate. Project researchers want to determine which processes dominate an ecosystem’s carbon balance and are most vulnerable to increasing climate variability and extreme events.

IIASA Research                                 

Researchers with IIASA’s Ecosystems Services and Management Program are compiling existing carbon-cycle data sets and observational data on how the carbon function of ecosystems responds to climate variability and extreme events both on short and long time scales. The data is being used to improve the predictive capabilities of climate models.

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Last edited: 07 November 2013


Michael Obersteiner

Principal Research Scholar Exploratory Modeling of Human-natural Systems Research Group - Advancing Systems Analysis Program


01.06.2009 - 31.05.2015


International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Schlossplatz 1, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria
Phone: (+43 2236) 807 0 Fax:(+43 2236) 71 313