Weak northern and strong tropical land carbon uptake from vertical profiles of atmospheric CO2

B.B. Stephens, K.R. Gurney, P.P. Tans, C. Sweeney, W. Peters

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515 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1732-1735
JournalScience
Volume316
Issue number5832
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2007

Keywords

  • long-term
  • terrestrial biosphere
  • forest ecosystems
  • plant-growth
  • transport
  • sink
  • sequestration
  • inversions
  • emissions
  • dioxide

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