Anthropocene changes in desert area: Sensitivity to climate model predictions



[1] Changes in desert area due to humans have important implications from a local, regional to global level. Here I focus on the latter in order to better understand estimated changes in desert dust aerosols and the associated iron deposition into oceans. Using 17 model simulations from the World Climate Research Programme's Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 3 multi-model dataset and the BIOME4 equilibrium vegetation model, I estimate changes in desert dust source areas due to climate change and carbon dioxide fertilization. If I assume no carbon dioxide fertilization, the mean of the model predictions is that desert areas expand from the 1880s to the 2080s, due to increased aridity. If I allow for carbon dioxide fertilization, the desert areas become smaller. Thus better understanding carbon dioxide fertilization is important for predicting desert response to climate. There is substantial spread in the model simulation predictions for regional and global averages.