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

Britton B. Stephens, Kevin R. Gurney, Pieter P. Tans, Colm Sweeney, Wouter Peters, Lori Bruhwiler, Philippe Ciais, Michel Ramonet, Philippe Bousquet, Takakiyo Nakazawa, Shuji Aoki, Toshinobu Machida, Gen Inoue, Nikolay Vinnichenko, Jon Lloyd, Armin Jordan, Martin Heimann, Olga Shibistova, Ray L. Langenfelds, L. Paul SteeleRoger J. Francey, A. Scott Denning

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

510 Scopus citations

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 (US)
Pages (from-to)1732-1735
Number of pages4
JournalScience
Volume316
Issue number5832
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 22 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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    Stephens, B. B., Gurney, K. R., Tans, P. P., Sweeney, C., Peters, W., Bruhwiler, L., Ciais, P., Ramonet, M., Bousquet, P., Nakazawa, T., Aoki, S., Machida, T., Inoue, G., Vinnichenko, N., Lloyd, J., Jordan, A., Heimann, M., Shibistova, O., Langenfelds, R. L., ... Denning, A. S. (2007). Weak northern and strong tropical land carbon uptake from vertical profiles of atmospheric CO2. Science, 316(5832), 1732-1735. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1137004