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Title: Warm spring reduced carbon cycle impact of the 2012 US summer drought

Abstract

The global terrestrial carbon sink offsets one-third of the world's fossil fuel emissions, but the strength of this sink is highly sensitive to large-scale extreme events. In 2012, the contiguous United States experienced exceptionally warm temperatures and the most severe drought since the Dust Bowl era of the 1930s, resulting in substantial economic damage. It is crucial to understand the dynamics of such events because warmer temperatures and a higher prevalence of drought are projected in a changing climate. Here in this paper, we combine an extensive network of direct ecosystem flux measurements with satellite remote sensing and atmospheric inverse modeling to quantify the impact of the warmer spring and summer drought on biosphereatmosphere carbon and water exchange in 2012. We consistently find that earlier vegetation activity increased spring carbon uptake and compensated for the reduced uptake during the summer drought, which mitigated the impact on net annual carbon uptake. The early phenological development in the Eastern Temperate Forests played a major role for the continental-scale carbon balance in 2012. The warm spring also depleted soil water resources earlier, and thus exacerbated water limitations during summer. Our results show that the detrimental effects of severe summer drought on ecosystem carbonmore » storage can be mitigated by warming-induced increases in spring carbon uptake. However, the results also suggest that the positive carbon cycle effect of warm spring enhances water limitations and can increase summer heating through biosphere-atmosphere feedbacks.« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo; ; ; ORCiD logo; ORCiD logo; ; ; ; ; ; ; ORCiD logo
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC); National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA); National Science Foundation (NSF); European Commission (EC)
OSTI Identifier:
1249736
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1379355
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC02-05CH11231; 300083; EF-1065029
Resource Type:
Published Article
Journal Name:
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America Journal Volume: 113 Journal Issue: 21; Journal ID: ISSN 0027-8424
Publisher:
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; seasonal climate anomalies; carbon uptake; ecosystem fluxes; biosphere–atmosphere feedbacks; eddy covariance

Citation Formats

Wolf, Sebastian, Keenan, Trevor F., Fisher, Joshua B., Baldocchi, Dennis D., Desai, Ankur R., Richardson, Andrew D., Scott, Russell L., Law, Beverly E., Litvak, Marcy E., Brunsell, Nathaniel A., Peters, Wouter, and van der Laan-Luijkx, Ingrid T. Warm spring reduced carbon cycle impact of the 2012 US summer drought. United States: N. p., 2016. Web. doi:10.1073/pnas.1519620113.
Wolf, Sebastian, Keenan, Trevor F., Fisher, Joshua B., Baldocchi, Dennis D., Desai, Ankur R., Richardson, Andrew D., Scott, Russell L., Law, Beverly E., Litvak, Marcy E., Brunsell, Nathaniel A., Peters, Wouter, & van der Laan-Luijkx, Ingrid T. Warm spring reduced carbon cycle impact of the 2012 US summer drought. United States. doi:10.1073/pnas.1519620113.
Wolf, Sebastian, Keenan, Trevor F., Fisher, Joshua B., Baldocchi, Dennis D., Desai, Ankur R., Richardson, Andrew D., Scott, Russell L., Law, Beverly E., Litvak, Marcy E., Brunsell, Nathaniel A., Peters, Wouter, and van der Laan-Luijkx, Ingrid T. Mon . "Warm spring reduced carbon cycle impact of the 2012 US summer drought". United States. doi:10.1073/pnas.1519620113.
@article{osti_1249736,
title = {Warm spring reduced carbon cycle impact of the 2012 US summer drought},
author = {Wolf, Sebastian and Keenan, Trevor F. and Fisher, Joshua B. and Baldocchi, Dennis D. and Desai, Ankur R. and Richardson, Andrew D. and Scott, Russell L. and Law, Beverly E. and Litvak, Marcy E. and Brunsell, Nathaniel A. and Peters, Wouter and van der Laan-Luijkx, Ingrid T.},
abstractNote = {The global terrestrial carbon sink offsets one-third of the world's fossil fuel emissions, but the strength of this sink is highly sensitive to large-scale extreme events. In 2012, the contiguous United States experienced exceptionally warm temperatures and the most severe drought since the Dust Bowl era of the 1930s, resulting in substantial economic damage. It is crucial to understand the dynamics of such events because warmer temperatures and a higher prevalence of drought are projected in a changing climate. Here in this paper, we combine an extensive network of direct ecosystem flux measurements with satellite remote sensing and atmospheric inverse modeling to quantify the impact of the warmer spring and summer drought on biosphereatmosphere carbon and water exchange in 2012. We consistently find that earlier vegetation activity increased spring carbon uptake and compensated for the reduced uptake during the summer drought, which mitigated the impact on net annual carbon uptake. The early phenological development in the Eastern Temperate Forests played a major role for the continental-scale carbon balance in 2012. The warm spring also depleted soil water resources earlier, and thus exacerbated water limitations during summer. Our results show that the detrimental effects of severe summer drought on ecosystem carbon storage can be mitigated by warming-induced increases in spring carbon uptake. However, the results also suggest that the positive carbon cycle effect of warm spring enhances water limitations and can increase summer heating through biosphere-atmosphere feedbacks.},
doi = {10.1073/pnas.1519620113},
journal = {Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America},
number = 21,
volume = 113,
place = {United States},
year = {2016},
month = {4}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
Publisher's Version of Record
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1519620113

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Cited by: 41 works
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