Assimilation exceeds respiration sensitivity to drought

A FLUXNET synthesis

Christopher R Schwalm, Christopher A. Williams, Kevin Schaefer, Almut Arneth, Damien Bonal, Nina Buchmann, Jiquan Chen, Beverlye Law, Anders Lindroth, Sebastiaan Luyssaert, Markus Reichstein, Andrew D. Richardson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

158 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The intensification of the hydrological cycle, with an observed and modeled increase in drought incidence and severity, underscores the need to quantify drought effects on carbon cycling and the terrestrial sink. FLUXNET, a global network of eddy covariance towers, provides dense data streams of meteorological data, and through flux partitioning and gap filling algorithms, estimates of net ecosystem productivity (FNEP), gross ecosystem productivity (P), and ecosystem respiration (R). We analyzed the functional relationship of these three carbon fluxes relative to evaporative fraction (EF), an index of drought and site water status, using monthly data records from 238 micrometeorological tower sites distributed globally across 11 biomes. The analysis was based on relative anomalies of both EF and carbon fluxes and focused on drought episodes by biome and climatic season. Globally P was ≈ 50% more sensitive to a drought event than R. Network-wide drought-induced decreases in carbon flux averaged -16.6 and -9.3 gCm-2 month-1 for P and R, i.e., drought events induced a net decline in the terrestrial sink. However, in evergreen forests and wetlands drought was coincident with an increase in P or R during parts of the growing season. The most robust relationships between carbon flux and EF occurred during climatic spring for FNEP and in climatic summer for P and R. Upscaling flux sensitivities to a global map showed that spatial patterns for all three carbon fluxes were linked to the distribution of croplands. Agricultural areas exhibited the highest sensitivity whereas the tropical region had minimal sensitivity to drought. Combining gridded flux sensitivities with their uncertainties and the spatial grid of FLUXNET revealed that a more robust quantification of carbon flux response to drought requires additional towers in all biomes of Africa and Asia as well as in the cropland, shrubland, savannah, and wetland biomes globally.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)657-670
Number of pages14
JournalGlobal Change Biology
Volume16
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2010
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Drought
respiration
drought
carbon flux
Fluxes
Carbon
biome
Ecosystems
Towers
ecosystem
Productivity
Wetlands
productivity
wetland
assimilation
upscaling
evergreen forest
hydrological cycle
eddy covariance
shrubland

Keywords

  • Biome
  • Carbon cycling
  • Drought
  • Eddy covariance
  • Evaporative fraction
  • FLUXNET
  • Synthesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry

Cite this

Schwalm, C. R., Williams, C. A., Schaefer, K., Arneth, A., Bonal, D., Buchmann, N., ... Richardson, A. D. (2010). Assimilation exceeds respiration sensitivity to drought: A FLUXNET synthesis. Global Change Biology, 16(2), 657-670. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2486.2009.01991.x

Assimilation exceeds respiration sensitivity to drought : A FLUXNET synthesis. / Schwalm, Christopher R; Williams, Christopher A.; Schaefer, Kevin; Arneth, Almut; Bonal, Damien; Buchmann, Nina; Chen, Jiquan; Law, Beverlye; Lindroth, Anders; Luyssaert, Sebastiaan; Reichstein, Markus; Richardson, Andrew D.

In: Global Change Biology, Vol. 16, No. 2, 02.2010, p. 657-670.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Schwalm, CR, Williams, CA, Schaefer, K, Arneth, A, Bonal, D, Buchmann, N, Chen, J, Law, B, Lindroth, A, Luyssaert, S, Reichstein, M & Richardson, AD 2010, 'Assimilation exceeds respiration sensitivity to drought: A FLUXNET synthesis', Global Change Biology, vol. 16, no. 2, pp. 657-670. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2486.2009.01991.x
Schwalm, Christopher R ; Williams, Christopher A. ; Schaefer, Kevin ; Arneth, Almut ; Bonal, Damien ; Buchmann, Nina ; Chen, Jiquan ; Law, Beverlye ; Lindroth, Anders ; Luyssaert, Sebastiaan ; Reichstein, Markus ; Richardson, Andrew D. / Assimilation exceeds respiration sensitivity to drought : A FLUXNET synthesis. In: Global Change Biology. 2010 ; Vol. 16, No. 2. pp. 657-670.
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