Warmer spring alleviated the impacts of 2018 European summer heatwave and drought on vegetation photosynthesis

Songhan Wang, Yongguang Zhang*, Weimin Ju, Albert Porcar-Castell, Shanshan Ye, Zhaoying Zhang, Christian Brümmer, Marek Urbaniak, Ivan Mammarella, Radosław Juszczak, K.F. Boersma

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Future projections of climate extremes are expected to become more frequent. Parts of Europe experienced an extensive heatwave and drought during 2018. However, its impacts on terrestrial carbon cycle remain elusive. Here we investigated the vegetation responses to the heatwave and drought during 2018 based on satellite solar-induced chlorophyll fluorescence (SIF) and near-infrared reflectance (NIRv) data, which were used to estimate gross primary productivity (GPP). Results showed that there were no significant (p= 0.60) reductions in GPP across most of Europe during April–August of 2018. The higher temperatures in spring enhanced vegetation GPP, largely alleviated the negative impacts of heatwave and drought on vegetation photosynthesis during the subsequent summer, which resulted in evident compensation effects. Concurrently, warmer spring also had lagged effects by diminishing soil moisture, accompanied by scarce precipitation, leading to water stress on plant growth during summer. This observation-based study highlights the need for more considerations of seasonal compensation and lagged effects on the interactions between climate extreme events and biosphere.
Original languageEnglish
Article number108195
JournalAgricultural and Forest Meteorology
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2020


  • 2018 european heatwave and drought
  • Gross primary productivity
  • Seasonal compensation and lagged effects
  • Solar-induced chlorophyll fluorescence

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