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Enhanced regional terrestrial carbon uptake over Korea revealed by atmospheric CO₂ measurements from 1999 to 2017

Yun, Jeongmin and Jeong, Su-Jong and Ho, Chang-Hoi and Park, Hoonyoung and Liu, Junjie and Lee, Haeyoung and Sitch, Stephen and Friedlingstein, Pierre and Lienert, Sebastian and Lombardozzi, Danica and Haverd, Vanessa and Jain, Atual and Zaehle, Sönke and Kato, Etsushi and Tian, Hanqin and Vuichard, Nicolas and Wiltshire, Andy and Zeng, Ning (2020) Enhanced regional terrestrial carbon uptake over Korea revealed by atmospheric CO₂ measurements from 1999 to 2017. Global Change Biology, 26 (6). pp. 3368-3383. ISSN 1354-1013. doi:10.1111/gcb.15061.

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Understanding changes in terrestrial carbon balance is important to improve our knowledge of the regional carbon cycle and climate change. However, evaluating regional changes in the terrestrial carbon balance is challenging due to the lack of surface flux measurements. This study reveals that the terrestrial carbon uptake over the Republic of Korea has been enhanced from 1999 to 2017 by analyzing long‐term atmospheric CO₂ concentration measurements at the Anmyeondo Station (36.53°N, 126.32°E) located in the western coast. The influence of terrestrial carbon flux on atmospheric CO₂ concentrations (ΔCO₂) is estimated from the difference of CO₂ concentrations that were influenced by the land sector (through easterly winds) and the Yellow Sea sector (through westerly winds). We find a significant trend in ΔCO₂ of −4.75 ppm per decade (p < .05) during the vegetation growing season (May through October), suggesting that the regional terrestrial carbon uptake has increased relative to the surrounding ocean areas. Combined analysis with satellite measured normalized difference vegetation index and gross primary production shows that the enhanced carbon uptake is associated with significant nationwide increases in vegetation and its production. Process‐based terrestrial model and inverse model simulations estimate that regional terrestrial carbon uptake increases by up to 18.9 and 8.0 Tg C for the study period, accounting for 13.4% and 5.7% of the average annual domestic carbon emissions, respectively. Atmospheric chemical transport model simulations indicate that the enhanced terrestrial carbon sink is the primary reason for the observed ΔCO₂ trend rather than anthropogenic emissions and atmospheric circulation changes. Our results highlight the fact that atmospheric CO₂ measurements could open up the possibility of detecting regional changes in the terrestrial carbon cycle even where anthropogenic emissions are not negligible.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Yun, Jeongmin0000-0002-3072-905X
Jeong, Su-Jong0000-0003-4586-4534
Ho, Chang-Hoi0000-0002-1372-0037
Park, Hoonyoung0000-0002-7856-5218
Liu, Junjie0000-0002-7184-6594
Lienert, Sebastian0000-0003-1740-918X
Lombardozzi, Danica0000-0003-3557-7929
Haverd, Vanessa0000-0003-4359-5895
Jain, Atual0000-0002-4051-3228
Zaehle, Sönke0000-0001-5602-7956
Kato, Etsushi0000-0001-8814-804X
Additional Information:© 2020 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Received: 30 June 2019; Revised: 14 January 2020; Accepted: 5 February. The authors thank three anonymous reviewers for their helpful feedback and suggestions. This study was supported by the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA) Research and Development Program under grant KMI2018‐03711 and the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korean Government (MSIT; no. NRF‐2019R1A2C3002868 and NRF‐2019R1A2C2084294). The data at AMY and ULD was from the project funded by the Korea Meteorological Administration Research and Development Program ‘Research and Development for KMA Weather, Climate, and Earth system Services—Development of Monitoring and Analysis Techniques for Atmospheric Composition in Korea' under grant 1365003041. Vanessa Haverd was supported from the Earth Systems and Climate Change Hub, funded by the Australian Government's National Environmental Science Program. We are grateful to Benjamin Poulter for providing LPJ model simulation results and Hayoung Park for editing the manuscript. Data Availability Statement: The atmospheric CO2 measurement datasets at AMY and ULD Stations are available at and from Haeyoung Lee ( through e‐mail request. The GIMMS NDVI is publicly available at MODIS NDVI and GPP are publicly available at and The TRENDY model simulation results are available from Stephen Sitch ( or Pierre Friedlingstein ( through e‐mail request. CarbonTracker results are publicly available at ODIAC dataset are publicly available at The GEOS‐Chem model simulation results that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Korea Meteorological Administration Research and Development ProgramKMI2018‐03711
National Research Foundation of KoreaNRF-2019R1A2C3002868
National Research Foundation of KoreaNRF-2019R1A2C2084294
Korea Meteorological Administration Research and Development Program1365003041
Australian GovernmentUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:atmospheric CO2 measurements; carbon cycle; CT2017; GEOS‐Chem; NDVI; Republic of Korea; terrestrial carbon flux; terrestrial ecosystems; TRENDY
Issue or Number:6
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20200331-130807969
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Yun J, Jeong S-J, Ho C-H, et al. Enhanced regional terrestrial carbon uptake over Korea revealed by atmospheric CO2 measurements from 1999 to 2017. Glob Change Biol. 2020;26:3368–3383. https://doi. org/10.1111/gcb.15061
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:102204
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:31 Mar 2020 20:30
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 18:09

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