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Title: Increasing summer net CO 2 uptake in high northern ecosystems inferred from atmospheric inversions and comparisons to remote-sensing NDVI

Warmer temperatures and elevated atmospheric CO 2 concentrations over the last several decades have been credited with increasing vegetation activity and photosynthetic uptake of CO 2 from the atmosphere in the high northern latitude ecosystems: the boreal forest and arctic tundra. At the same time, soils in the region have been warming, permafrost is melting, fire frequency and severity are increasing, and some regions of the boreal forest are showing signs of stress due to drought or insect disturbance. The recent trends in net carbon balance of these ecosystems, across heterogeneous disturbance patterns, and the future implications of these changes are unclear. Here, we examine CO 2 fluxes from northern boreal and tundra regions from 1985 to 2012, estimated from two atmospheric inversions (RIGC and Jena). Both used measured atmospheric CO 2 concentrations and wind fields from interannually variable climate reanalysis. In the arctic zone, the latitude region above 60°N excluding Europe (10 W-63°E), neither inversion finds a significant long-term trend in annual CO 2 balance. The boreal zone, the latitude region from approximately 50–60°N, again excluding Europe, showed a trend of 8–11 TgCyr -2 over the common period of validity from 1986 to 2006, resulting in an annual COmore » 2 sink in 2006 that was 170–230 TgCyr -1 larger than in 1986. This trend appears to continue through 2012 in the Jena inversion as well. In both latitudinal zones, the seasonal amplitude of monthly CO 2 fluxes increased due to increased uptake in summer, and in the arctic zone also due to increased fall CO 2 release. These findings suggest that the boreal zone has been maintaining and likely increasing CO 2 sink strength over this period, despite browning trends in some regions and changes in fire frequency and land use. Meanwhile, the arctic zone shows that increased summer CO 2 uptake, consistent with strong greening trends, is offset by increased fall CO 2 release, resulting in a net neutral trend in annual fluxes. Finally, the inversion fluxes from the arctic and boreal zones covering the permafrost regions showed no indication of a large-scale positive climate–carbon feedback caused by warming temperatures on high northern latitude terrestrial CO 2 fluxes from 1985 to 2012.« less
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [1]
  1. Univ. of California, San Diego, CA (United States). Scripps Inst. of Oceanography
  2. Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, Yokahama (Japan)
  3. Max Planck Inst. for Biogeochemistry, Jena (Germany)
  4. NASA Ames Research Center (ARC), Moffett Field, Mountain View, CA (United States)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
SC0005090; SC0012167
Published Article
Journal Name:
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (Online)
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (Online); Journal Volume: 16; Journal Issue: 14; Journal ID: ISSN 1680-7324
European Geosciences Union
Research Org:
Whitworth Univ., Spokane, WA (United States); Univ. of California, San Diego, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE; National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA); National Science Foundation (NSF); Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT)
Country of Publication:
United States
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1436131