Recent changes in global photosynthesis and terrestrial ecosystem respiration constrained from multiple observations

Wei Li, Philippe Ciais, Yilong Wang, Yi Yin, Shushi Peng, Zaichun Zhu, Ana Bastos, Chao Yue, Ashley P. Ballantyne, Gregoire Broquet, Josep G. Canadell, Alessandro Cescatti, Chi Chen, Leila Cooper, Pierre Friedlingstein, Corinne Le Quere, Ranga B. Myneni, Shilong Piao

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To assess global carbon cycle variability, we decompose the net land carbon sink into the sum of gross primary productivity (GPP), terrestrial ecosystem respiration (TER), and fire emissions and apply a Bayesian framework to constrain these fluxes between 1980 and 2014. The constrained GPP and TER fluxes show an increasing trend of only half of the prior trend simulated by models. From the optimization, we infer that TER increased in parallel with GPP from 1980 to 1990, but then stalled during the cooler periods, in 1990-1994 coincident with the Pinatubo eruption, and during the recent warming hiatus period. After each of these TER stalling periods, TER is found to increase faster than GPP, explaining a relative reduction of the net land sink. These results shed light on decadal variations of GPP and TER and suggest that they exhibit different responses to temperature anomalies over the last 35 years.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1058-1068
Number of pages11
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number2
Early online date8 Jan 2018
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jan 2018


  • GPP trend
  • Bayesian constraint
  • terrestrial ecosystem respiration

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