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Title: Global land carbon sink response to temperature and precipitation varies with ENSO phase

Climate variability associated with the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and its consequent impacts on land carbon sink interannual variability have been used as a basis for investigating carbon cycle responses to climate variability more broadly, and to inform the sensitivity of the tropical carbon budget to climate change. Past studies have presented opposing views about whether temperature or precipitation is the primary factor driving the response of the land carbon sink to ENSO. We show that the dominant driver varies with ENSO phase. And whereas tropical temperature explains sink dynamics following El Niño conditions (r TG,P = 0.59, p < 0.01), the post La Niña sink is driven largely by tropical precipitation (r PG,T= -0.46, p = 0.04). This finding points to an ENSO-phase-dependent interplay between water availability and temperature in controlling the carbon uptake response to climate variations in tropical ecosystems. Furthermore, we find that none of a suite of ten contemporary terrestrial biosphere models captures these ENSO-phase-dependent responses, highlighting a key uncertainty in modeling climate impacts on the future of the global land carbon sink.
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [1] ;  [4] ;  [5] ;  [6] ;  [7] ;  [8] ;  [9] ;  [10] ;  [11] ;  [12] ;  [13] ;  [14] ;  [8] ;  [7] ;  [5] ;  [8] more »; ORCiD logo [8] ;  [15] ;  [16] ;  [17] ;  [8] ;  [16] « less
  1. Carnegie Inst. of Science, Stanford, CA (United States)
  2. Woods Hole Research Center, Falmouth, MA (United States)
  3. Northern Arizona Univ., Flagstaff, AZ (United States)
  4. Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), Gif sur Yvette (France)
  5. Peking Univ., Beijing (China)
  6. Montana State Univ., Bozeman, MT (United States)
  7. California Inst. of Technology (CalTech), Pasadena, CA (United States)
  8. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
  9. Univ. of Maine, Orno, ME (United States)
  10. Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
  11. National Inst. for Environmental Studies, Tsukuba (Japan)
  12. Univ. of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, IL (United States)
  13. Tsinghua Univ., Beijing (China)
  14. Ames Lab. and Iowa State Univ., Ames, IA (United States)
  15. Univ. of Kentucky, Lexington, KY (United States)
  16. Auburn Univ., AL (United States)
  17. NASA Ames Research Center (ARC), Moffett Field, Mountain View, CA (United States)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Environmental Research Letters
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 12; Journal Issue: 6; Journal ID: ISSN 1748-9326
IOP Publishing
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23)
Country of Publication:
United States
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; climate-carbon feedback; tropical ecosystems; temperature; precipitation; El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO)
OSTI Identifier: