Measurements of midday vertical atmospheric CO2 distributions reveal annual-mean vertical CO2 gradients that are inconsistent with atmospheric models that estimate a large transfer of terrestrial carbon from tropical to northern latitudes. The three models that most closely reproduce the observed annual-mean vertical CO2 gradients estimate weaker northern uptake of ¿1.5 petagrams of carbon per year (Pg C year¿1) and weaker tropical emission of +0.1 Pg C year¿1 compared with previous consensus estimates of ¿2.4 and +1.8 Pg C year¿1, respectively. This suggests that northern terrestrial uptake of industrial CO2 emissions plays a smaller role than previously thought and that, after subtracting land-use emissions, tropical ecosystems may currently be strong sinks for CO2.
- terrestrial biosphere
- forest ecosystems