Spatial variations in terrestrial net ecosystem productivity and its local indicators

Published by Stephanie Mayer on

Multiple lines of evidence have demonstrated the persistence of global land carbon (C) sink during the past several decades. However, both annual net ecosystem productivity (NEP) and its inter-annual variation (IAVNEP) keep varying over space. Thus, identifying local indicators for the spatially varying NEP and IAVNEP is critical for locating the major and sustainable C sinks on land. Here, based on daily NEP observations from FLUXNET sites and large-scale estimates from an atmospheric-inversion product, we found a robust logarithmic correlation between annual NEP and seasonal carbon uptake–release ratio (i.e. U ∕ R). The cross-site variation in mean annual NEP could be logarithmically indicated by U ∕ R, while the spatial distribution of IAVNEP was associated with the slope (i.e. β) of the logarithmic correlation between annual NEP and U ∕ R. Among biomes, for example, forests and croplands had the largest U ∕ R ratio (1.06 ± 0.83) and β (473 ± 112 g C m−2 yr−1), indicating the highest NEP and IAVNEP in forests and croplands, respectively. We further showed that these two simple indicators could directly infer the spatial variations in NEP and IAVNEP in global gridded NEP products. Overall, this study provides two simple local indicators for the intricate spatial variations in the strength and stability of land C sinks. These indicators could be helpful for locating the persistent terrestrial C sinks and provide valuable constraints for improving the simulation of land–atmospheric C exchanges.