Meng Luo

and 5 more

Land use and land cover change (LULCC) represents a key process of human-Earth system interaction and has profound impacts on ecosystem carbon cycling. As a key input for ecosystem models, future gridded LULCC data is typically spatially downscaled from regionally LULCC projections by integrated assessment models. The uncertainty associated with different spatial downscaling methods and its impacts on subsequent model projections have been historically ignored and rarely examined. This study investigated this problem using two representative spatial downscaling methods and focused on the impacts on the carbon cycle over ABoVE domain. Specifically, we used the Future Land Use Simulation model (FLUS) and Demeter model to generate 0.25-degree gridded LULCC data with the same input of regional LULCC projections from Global Change Analysis Model, under SSP126 and SSP585. The two sets of downscaled LULCC were used to drive CLM5 to prognostically simulate terrestrial carbon cycle dynamics over the 21st century. The results suggest large spatial-temporal differences between two LULCC datasets under both SSP126 and SSP585. The LULCC differences further lead to large discrepancies in the spatial patterns of projected carbon cycle variables, which are more than 79% of the contributions of LULCC in 2100. Besides, the difference for LULCC and carbon flux under SSP126 is generally larger than those under SSP585. This study highlights the importance of considering the uncertainties induced by spatial downscaling process in future LULCC projections and carbon cycle simulations.