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Title: Large historical growth in global terrestrial gross primary production

Growth in terrestrial gross primary production (GPP) may provide a negative feedback for climate change. It remains uncertain, however, to what extent biogeochemical processes can suppress global GPP growth. In consequence, model estimates of terrestrial carbon storage and carbon cycle –climate feedbacks remain poorly constrained. Here we present a global, measurement-based estimate of GPP growth during the twentieth century based on long-term atmospheric carbonyl sulphide (COS) records derived from ice core, firn, and ambient air samples. Here, we interpret these records using a model that simulates changes in COS concentration due to changes in its sources and sinks, including a large sink that is related to GPP. We find that the COS record is most consistent with climate-carbon cycle model simulations that assume large GPP growth during the twentieth century (31% ± 5%; mean ± 95% confidence interval). Finally, while this COS analysis does not directly constrain estimates of future GPP growth it provides a global-scale benchmark for historical carbon cycle simulations.
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [5] ;  [6] ;  [7] ;  [7] ;  [8]
  1. Univ. of California, Merced, CA (United States). Sierra Nevada Research Inst.
  2. Carnegie Inst. for Science, Stanford, CA (United States). Dept. of Global Ecology
  3. Univ. of California, Los Angeles, CA (United States). Dept. of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences
  4. Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States). Joint Global Change Research Inst.
  5. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Boulder, CO (United States). Earth System Research Lab.
  6. Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement (LSCE), Gif-sur-Yvette (France); French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA), Villenave-d'Ornon (France)
  7. Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement (LSCE), Gif-sur-Yvette (France)
  8. Finnish Meteorological Inst. (FMI), Helsinki (Finland)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
SC0011999; 267442; 641816; 338264
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Nature (London)
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Nature (London); Journal Volume: 544; Journal Issue: 7648; Journal ID: ISSN 0028-0836
Nature Publishing Group
Research Org:
UC Merced
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23); European Research Council (ERC); National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
Country of Publication:
United States
58 GEOSCIENCES; 54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; carbon cycle; carbon dioxide; gross primary production; co2 fertilization; photosynthesis; carbonyl sulfide
OSTI Identifier: