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Title: Globally consistent influences of seasonal precipitation limit grassland biomass response to elevated CO2

Abstract

Rising atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration ([CO2]) should stimulate biomass production directly via biochemical stimulation of carbon assimilation and indirectly via water savings caused by increased plant water use efficiency1. Because of these water savings2, the CO2 fertilisation effect should be stronger in drier sites3, yet large differences among experiments in grassland biomass response to elevated CO2 appear unrelated to annual precipitation2,4, preventing useful generalisations. Here we show that, as predicted, the impact of elevated CO2 on biomass production in 19 globally-distributed temperate grassland experiments reduces as mean precipitation in seasons other than spring increases but, unexpectedly, rises as mean spring precipitation increases. Moreover, because sites with high spring precipitation also tend to have high precipitation at other times, these effects of spring and non-spring precipitation on the CO2 response offset each other, constraining the response of ecosystem productivity to rising CO2. This explains why previous analyses were unable to discern a reliable trend between site dryness and the CO2 fertilisation effect2,4. Thus, the CO2 fertilisation effect in temperate grasslands worldwide will be constrained by their natural rainfall seasonality such that the stimulation of biomass by rising CO2 could be substantially less than anticipated.

Authors:
ORCiD logo; ; ; ; ORCiD logo; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1507394
Report Number(s):
PNNL-SA-141746
Journal ID: ISSN 2055-0278
DOE Contract Number:  
AC05-76RL01830
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Journal Name:
Nature Plants
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 5; Journal Issue: 2; Journal ID: ISSN 2055-0278
Publisher:
Nature Publishing Group
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English

Citation Formats

Hovenden, Mark J., Leuzinger, Sebastian, Newton, Paul C. D., Fletcher, Andrew, Fatichi, Simone, Lüscher, Andreas, Reich, Peter B., Andresen, Louise C., Beier, Claus, Blumenthal, Dana M., Chiariello, Nona R., Dukes, Jeffrey S., Kellner, Juliane, Hofmockel, Kirsten, Niklaus, Pascal A., Song, Jian, Wan, Shiqiang, Classen, Aimée T., and Langley, J. Adam. Globally consistent influences of seasonal precipitation limit grassland biomass response to elevated CO2. United States: N. p., 2019. Web. doi:10.1038/s41477-018-0356-x.
Hovenden, Mark J., Leuzinger, Sebastian, Newton, Paul C. D., Fletcher, Andrew, Fatichi, Simone, Lüscher, Andreas, Reich, Peter B., Andresen, Louise C., Beier, Claus, Blumenthal, Dana M., Chiariello, Nona R., Dukes, Jeffrey S., Kellner, Juliane, Hofmockel, Kirsten, Niklaus, Pascal A., Song, Jian, Wan, Shiqiang, Classen, Aimée T., & Langley, J. Adam. Globally consistent influences of seasonal precipitation limit grassland biomass response to elevated CO2. United States. doi:10.1038/s41477-018-0356-x.
Hovenden, Mark J., Leuzinger, Sebastian, Newton, Paul C. D., Fletcher, Andrew, Fatichi, Simone, Lüscher, Andreas, Reich, Peter B., Andresen, Louise C., Beier, Claus, Blumenthal, Dana M., Chiariello, Nona R., Dukes, Jeffrey S., Kellner, Juliane, Hofmockel, Kirsten, Niklaus, Pascal A., Song, Jian, Wan, Shiqiang, Classen, Aimée T., and Langley, J. Adam. Fri . "Globally consistent influences of seasonal precipitation limit grassland biomass response to elevated CO2". United States. doi:10.1038/s41477-018-0356-x.
@article{osti_1507394,
title = {Globally consistent influences of seasonal precipitation limit grassland biomass response to elevated CO2},
author = {Hovenden, Mark J. and Leuzinger, Sebastian and Newton, Paul C. D. and Fletcher, Andrew and Fatichi, Simone and Lüscher, Andreas and Reich, Peter B. and Andresen, Louise C. and Beier, Claus and Blumenthal, Dana M. and Chiariello, Nona R. and Dukes, Jeffrey S. and Kellner, Juliane and Hofmockel, Kirsten and Niklaus, Pascal A. and Song, Jian and Wan, Shiqiang and Classen, Aimée T. and Langley, J. Adam},
abstractNote = {Rising atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration ([CO2]) should stimulate biomass production directly via biochemical stimulation of carbon assimilation and indirectly via water savings caused by increased plant water use efficiency1. Because of these water savings2, the CO2 fertilisation effect should be stronger in drier sites3, yet large differences among experiments in grassland biomass response to elevated CO2 appear unrelated to annual precipitation2,4, preventing useful generalisations. Here we show that, as predicted, the impact of elevated CO2 on biomass production in 19 globally-distributed temperate grassland experiments reduces as mean precipitation in seasons other than spring increases but, unexpectedly, rises as mean spring precipitation increases. Moreover, because sites with high spring precipitation also tend to have high precipitation at other times, these effects of spring and non-spring precipitation on the CO2 response offset each other, constraining the response of ecosystem productivity to rising CO2. This explains why previous analyses were unable to discern a reliable trend between site dryness and the CO2 fertilisation effect2,4. Thus, the CO2 fertilisation effect in temperate grasslands worldwide will be constrained by their natural rainfall seasonality such that the stimulation of biomass by rising CO2 could be substantially less than anticipated.},
doi = {10.1038/s41477-018-0356-x},
journal = {Nature Plants},
issn = {2055-0278},
number = 2,
volume = 5,
place = {United States},
year = {2019},
month = {2}
}

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