Forests dominate the interannual variability of the North American carbon sink

Yoichi P. Shiga, Anna M. Michalak, Yuanyuan Fang, Kevin Schaefer, Arlyn E. Andrews, Deborah N Huntzinger, Christopher R Schwalm, Kirk Thoning, Yaxing Wei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Understanding what drives the interannual variability (IAV) of the land carbon sink is crucial for improving future predictions of this important, yet uncertain, component of the climate system. While drivers of global and hemispheric-scale net ecosystem exchange (NEE) IAV have been investigated, our understanding of the drivers of NEE IAV at regional scales (e.g. sub-continental, biome-level) is quite poor. Here we explore the biome-level attribution and drivers of North American NEE using inverse estimates derived from a dense network of atmospheric CO2 observations. We find that deciduous broadleaf and mixed forests are the primary regions responsible for North American NEE IAV, which differs from the ecoregions identified for the globe and Northern Hemisphere. We also find that a suite of terrestrial biosphere models (TBMs) do not agree on the dominant biome contributing to NEE IAV, with TBMs falling along an apparent spectrum ranging between those with IAV dominated primarily by forested ecosystems to those with IAV dominated by non-forested ecosystems. Furthermore, this regional trade-off in TBM NEE IAV is found to be linked to differing regional responses to environmental drivers among TBMs. This work displays the importance of extra-tropical forests in driving continental NEE IAV and also highlights the challenges and limitations of using TBMs to inform regional-scale carbon flux dynamics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberaad505
JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
Volume13
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

Fingerprint

Carbon Sequestration
net ecosystem exchange
carbon sink
Ecosystems
Ecosystem
biosphere
Carbon
biome
regional trade
ecosystem
ecoregion
carbon flux
mixed forest
Forests
deciduous forest
trade-off
tropical forest
Northern Hemisphere
Carbon Cycle
Climate

Keywords

  • Atmospheric CO
  • Attribution
  • Carbon cycle
  • Drivers
  • Net ecosystem exchange
  • Regional scale

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Cite this

Shiga, Y. P., Michalak, A. M., Fang, Y., Schaefer, K., Andrews, A. E., Huntzinger, D. N., ... Wei, Y. (2018). Forests dominate the interannual variability of the North American carbon sink. Environmental Research Letters, 13(8), [aad505]. https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/aad505

Forests dominate the interannual variability of the North American carbon sink. / Shiga, Yoichi P.; Michalak, Anna M.; Fang, Yuanyuan; Schaefer, Kevin; Andrews, Arlyn E.; Huntzinger, Deborah N; Schwalm, Christopher R; Thoning, Kirk; Wei, Yaxing.

In: Environmental Research Letters, Vol. 13, No. 8, aad505, 01.01.2018.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Shiga, Yoichi P. ; Michalak, Anna M. ; Fang, Yuanyuan ; Schaefer, Kevin ; Andrews, Arlyn E. ; Huntzinger, Deborah N ; Schwalm, Christopher R ; Thoning, Kirk ; Wei, Yaxing. / Forests dominate the interannual variability of the North American carbon sink. In: Environmental Research Letters. 2018 ; Vol. 13, No. 8.
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