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Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2016-1167
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
12 Jan 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of this manuscript was accepted for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP) and is expected to appear here in due course.
Abrupt seasonal transitions in land carbon uptake in 2015
Chao Yue1, Philippe Ciais1, Ana Bastos1, Frederic Chevallier1, Yi Yin1, and Christian Rödenbeck2 1Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement, CEA-CNRS-UVSQ, UMR8212, Gif-sur-Yvette, France
2Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Jena, Germany
Abstract. The year 2015 saw a record atmospheric CO2 growth rate associated with a weaker than usual land carbon sink. Paradoxically, it was also the greenest year since 2000 according to satellite observations of vegetation greenness. To reconcile these two seemingly paradoxical observations, we examined the patterns of CO2 fluxes using two atmospheric inversions. Inversion results indicate that the year 2015 had a higher than usual northern land carbon uptake in spring and summer, consistent with the greening anomaly. This higher uptake was however followed by a larger source of CO2 in autumn, suggesting a coupling between growing season uptake and late season release of CO2. For the tropics and Southern Hemisphere, a strong and abrupt transition toward a large carbon source for the last trimester of 2015 is discovered, concomitant with the El Niño development. This abrupt transition of terrestrial tropical CO2 fluxes between two consecutive seasons is the largest ever found in the inversion records.

Citation: Yue, C., Ciais, P., Bastos, A., Chevallier, F., Yin, Y., and Rödenbeck, C.: Abrupt seasonal transitions in land carbon uptake in 2015, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2016-1167, in review, 2017.
Chao Yue et al.

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Short summary
The year 2015 appeared as a seeming paradox regarding how global carbon cycle has responded to climate variation: it is the greenest year since 2000 according to satellite observation, but the atmospheric CO2 growth rate is also the highest since 1959. We found this is due to a only moderate land carbon sink, because high growing-season sink in northern land has been partly offset by autumn and winter release and the late-year El Niño has led to abrupt transition to land source in the tropics.
The year 2015 appeared as a seeming paradox regarding how global carbon cycle has responded to...
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