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C-CASCADES - Carbon Cascades from Land to Ocean in the Anthropocene

The most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Assessment Report1 (IPCC AR5, 2013) mentions the transport of carbon across the Land-Ocean Aquatic Continuum (LOAC) as a key component of the global carbon cycle.

As of today, quantification of the role of the LOAC (inland and coastal waters) and its dynamics in the global carbon budget is still in its infancy:

  • Earth System Models (ESMs) of the climate system and biogeochemical cycles used for the IPCC 5th AR do not account for the lateral flows of carbon along the LOAC and associated CO2exchange with the atmosphere.

  • The perturbations of the LOAC carbon cycle due to human activities (e.g. land-use, climate change, hydraulic management, industrial activities) have not been quantified yet, which hampers the inclusion of these aquatic systems in the yearly CO2 global budgets released by the Global Carbon Project.

This knowledge gap has major implications for assessing regional and global carbon budgets, climate projections and, thus, is crucial for climate policy. In order to make a breakthrough in the field, C- CASCADES aimed to advance significantly the predictive capability of ESMs by integrating, for the first time, the transfer of carbon from land to ocean in analyses of the coupled carbon-climate system and its response to anthropogenic (human induced) perturbations. This overarching objective was addressed across scales, from the local to the global.

C-CASCADES also produced a new generation of young scientists trained to span the boundaries between disciplines and with the skill-sets required to address one of the grand research challenges of the 21st century: the role of the carbon cycle in regulating Earth’s climate.



This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 643052