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Title: Recent pause in the growth rate of atmospheric CO 2 due to enhanced terrestrial carbon uptake

Terrestrial ecosystems play a significant role in the global carbon cycle and offset a large fraction of anthropogenic CO 2 emissions. The terrestrial carbon sink is increasing, yet the mechanisms responsible for its enhancement, and implications for the growth rate of atmospheric CO 2, remain unclear. Here using global carbon budget estimates, ground, atmospheric and satellite observations, and multiple global vegetation models, we report a recent pause in the growth rate of atmospheric CO 2, and a decline in the fraction of anthropogenic emissions that remain in the atmosphere, despite increasing anthropogenic emissions. We also attribute the observed decline to increases in the terrestrial sink during the past decade, associated with the effects of rising atmospheric CO 2 on vegetation and the slowdown in the rate of warming on global respiration. Furthermore, the pause in the atmospheric CO 2 growth rate provides further evidence of the roles of CO 2 fertilization and warming-induced respiration, and highlights the need to protect both existing carbon stocks and regions, where the sink is growing rapidly.
ORCiD logo [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [4] ; ORCiD logo [5] ;  [3] ;  [6]
  1. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States), Earth Sciences Division; Macquarie Univ., NSW (Australia)
  2. Macquarie Univ., NSW (Australia); Imperial College, London (United Kingdom)
  3. Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), Dickson ACT (Australia)
  4. Clark Univ., Worcester, MA (United States)
  5. Macquarie Univ., NSW (Australia); Northwest A & F Univ., Yanling (China)
  6. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), Greenbelt, MD (United States)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
AC02-05CH11231; FG02-04ER63917; FG02-04ER63911; SC0006708
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Nature Communications
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 7; Journal ID: ISSN 2041-1723
Nature Publishing Group
Research Org:
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23)
Country of Publication:
United States
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; attribution; carbon cycle; climate-change ecology
OSTI Identifier: