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Simulating global carbon-climate feedback

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Dr Fabien Petitcolas.

Abstract: We will provide an overview of the global carbon cycle and its potential roles in accelerating or mitigating historic and future climate change—and introduce a carbon-climate modeling system developed recently at Microsoft Research Cambridge. We will begin with a global summary of current natural and anthropogenic sources and sinks of carbon, explaining the methods scientists have used to estimate these numbers. Next, we will consider the scientific challenge of predicting the future of these sources and sinks, both in terms of the biological and socioeconomic processes that must be considered and in terms of the model structures, data sources, statistical machinery, and computational power—and, therefore, the novel software tools—needed to make the predictions more reliable. Key issues will be illustrated—and new predictions about the carbon cycle made—using the new carbon-climate modeling system, one instantiation of which can be seen in a related TechFest demo, Understanding and Preserving Life-Support Systems.

Biography: Drew Purves is a computational ecologist in the Computational Sciences Lab at Microsoft Research in Cambridge. Purves studied and researched at Cambridge, York, and Princeton before joining Microsoft Research in 2007. His research focuses on populations and communities of plants, especially forests, and has led to about 20 publications in peer-reviewed journals, including “Science,” “PNAS,” and “Proc Roy Soc B.”

This talk is part of the Microsoft Research Summer School series.

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