Temperature extremes of 2022 reduced carbon uptake by forests in Europe

Auke M. van der Woude, Wouter Peters*, Emilie Joetzjer, Sébastien Lafont, Gerbrand Koren, Philippe Ciais, Michel Ramonet, Yidi Xu, Ana Bastos, Santiago Botía, Stephen Sitch, Remco de Kok, Tobias Kneuer, Dagmar Kubistin, Adrien Jacotot, Benjamin Loubet, Pedro Henrique Herig-Coimbra, Denis Loustau, Ingrid T. Luijkx

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


The year 2022 saw record breaking temperatures in Europe during both summer and fall. Similar to the recent 2018 drought, close to 30% (3.0 million km2) of the European continent was under severe summer drought. In 2022, the drought was located in central and southeastern Europe, contrasting the Northern-centered 2018 drought. We show, using multiple sets of observations, a reduction of net biospheric carbon uptake in summer (56-62 TgC) over the drought area. Specific sites in France even showed a widespread summertime carbon release by forests, additional to wildfires. Partial compensation (32%) for the decreased carbon uptake due to drought was offered by a warm autumn with prolonged biospheric carbon uptake. The severity of this second drought event in 5 years suggests drought-induced reduced carbon uptake to no longer be exceptional, and important to factor into Europe’s developing plans for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions that rely on carbon uptake by forests.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6218
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023


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