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Empirical estimates of regional carbon budgets imply reduced global soil heterotrophic respiration

Ciais, Philippe and Yao, Yitong and Gasser, Thomas and Baccini, Alessandro and Wang, Yilong and Lauerwald, Ronny and Peng, Shushi and Bastos, Ana and Li, Wei and Raymond, Peter A. and Canadell, Josep G. and Peters, Glen P. and Andres, Rob J. and Chang, Jinfeng and Yue, Chao and Dolman, A. Johannes and Haverd, Vanessa and Hartmann, Jens and Laruelle, Goulven and Konings, Alexandra G. and King, Anthony W. and Liu, Yi and Luyssaert, Sebastiaan and Maignan, Fabienne and Patra, Prabir K. and Peregon, Anna and Regnier, Pierre and Pongratz, Julia and Poulter, Benjamin and Shvidenko, Anatoly and Valentini, Riccardo and Wang, Rong and Broquet, Grégoire and Yin, Yi and Zscheischler, Jakob and Guenet, Bertrand and Goll, Daniel S. and Ballantyne, Ashley P. and Yang, Hui and Qiu, Chunjing and Zhu, Dan (2021) Empirical estimates of regional carbon budgets imply reduced global soil heterotrophic respiration. National Science Review, 8 (2). Art. No. nwaa145. ISSN 2095-5138. PMCID PMC8288404. doi:10.1093/nsr/nwaa145.

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Resolving regional carbon budgets is critical for informing land-based mitigation policy. For nine regions covering nearly the whole globe, we collected inventory estimates of carbon-stock changes complemented by satellite estimates of biomass changes where inventory data are missing. The net land–atmospheric carbon exchange (NEE) was calculated by taking the sum of the carbon-stock change and lateral carbon fluxes from crop and wood trade, and riverine-carbon export to the ocean. Summing up NEE from all regions, we obtained a global ‘bottom-up’ NEE for net land anthropogenic CO₂ uptake of –2.2 ± 0.6 PgC yr⁻¹ consistent with the independent top-down NEE from the global atmospheric carbon budget during 2000–2009. This estimate is so far the most comprehensive global bottom-up carbon budget accounting, which set up an important milestone for global carbon-cycle studies. By decomposing NEE into component fluxes, we found that global soil heterotrophic respiration amounts to a source of CO₂ of 39 PgC yr⁻¹ with an interquartile of 33–46 PgC yr⁻¹—a much smaller portion of net primary productivity than previously reported.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription CentralArticle
Ciais, Philippe0000-0001-8560-4943
Wang, Yilong0000-0001-7176-2692
Peng, Shushi0000-0001-5098-726X
Bastos, Ana0000-0002-7368-7806
Li, Wei0000-0003-2543-2558
Haverd, Vanessa0000-0003-4359-5895
Maignan, Fabienne0000-0001-5024-5928
Patra, Prabir K.0000-0001-5700-9389
Wang, Rong0000-0003-1962-0165
Yin, Yi0000-0003-4750-4997
Goll, Daniel S.0000-0001-9246-9671
Yang, Hui0000-0001-6454-8954
Zhu, Dan0000-0002-5857-1899
Additional Information:© The Author(s) 2020. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of China Science Publishing & Media Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Received: 10 June 2020; Revision received: 17 June 2020; Accepted: 24 June 2020; Published: 07 July 2020. We are grateful to G. van der Werf and M. Gloor and to J. Gash for their remarks on an earlier version of the manuscript. This work is a collaborative effort from the Global Carbon Project. P.C. acknowledges support from the European Research Council through Synergy grant ERC-2013-SyG-610028 ‘IMBALANCE-P’. G.P.P. was supported by the Norwegian Research Council (236296). Support for the two initial workshops of RECCAP was provided by the EU FP7 project COCOS (212196). P.A.R. would like to acknowledge NSF grants 1840243 and 1340749. J.G.C. and V.H. acknowledge support from the Australian Climate Change Science Program-Earth Systems and Climate Change Hub. G.G.L. is ‘Chercheur Qualifié du F.R.S.-FNRS’ at the Université Libre de Bruxelles. R.L. has received funding from the Bureau des relations internationales (BRIC) of the ULB and the French National Research Agency (‘Investissement d’Avenir’, ANR-10-LABX-0018). J.P. was supported by the German Research Foundation's Emmy Noether Program. P.P. is partly supported by the Environment Research and Technology Development Fund (2-1701) of the Ministry of the Environment, Japan. A.P. was partly supported by the Russian Science Foundation (20-67-46018). B.P. acknowledges support through the NASA Terrestrial Ecology Program. A.G.K. was funded by NASA NNH16ZDA001N-IDS. A.P.B. was supported by the MOPGA award with collaborators at LSCE. R.V. was supported by RSF project #19-77-30012. Author contributions: P. Ciais designed the study and wrote the manuscript. Y. Yao computed estimates of heterotrophic respiration and key figures. T. Gasser designed and performed simulations with the OSCAR model. A. Baccini provided new estimates of biomass changes from EO-data. Y. Wang prepared key figures and performed the uncertainty analysis. Other co-authors contributed specific data and analysis and helped to improve the manuscript. Conflict of interest statement: None declared.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
European Research Council (ERC)610028
Research Council of Norway236296
European Research Council (ERC)212196
Australian Climate Change Science Program-Earth Systems and Climate Change HubUNSPECIFIED
Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique (FNRS)UNSPECIFIED
Université Libre de BruxellesUNSPECIFIED
Agence Nationale pour la Recherche (ANR)ANR-10-LABX-0018
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)UNSPECIFIED
Ministry of the Environment (Japan)2-1701
Russian Science Foundation20-67-46018
Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'EnvironnementUNSPECIFIED
Russian Science Foundation19-77-30012
Subject Keywords:carbon budget, human appropriation of ecosystems, soil carbon
Issue or Number:2
PubMed Central ID:PMC8288404
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20210414-143012343
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Philippe Ciais, Yitong Yao, Thomas Gasser, Alessandro Baccini, Yilong Wang, Ronny Lauerwald, Shushi Peng, Ana Bastos, Wei Li, Peter A Raymond, Josep G Canadell, Glen P Peters, Rob J Andres, Jinfeng Chang, Chao Yue, A Johannes Dolman, Vanessa Haverd, Jens Hartmann, Goulven Laruelle, Alexandra G Konings, Anthony W King, Yi Liu, Sebastiaan Luyssaert, Fabienne Maignan, Prabir K Patra, Anna Peregon, Pierre Regnier, Julia Pongratz, Benjamin Poulter, Anatoly Shvidenko, Riccardo Valentini, Rong Wang, Grégoire Broquet, Yi Yin, Jakob Zscheischler, Bertrand Guenet, Daniel S Goll, Ashley-P Ballantyne, Hui Yang, Chunjing Qiu, Dan Zhu, Empirical estimates of regional carbon budgets imply reduced global soil heterotrophic respiration, National Science Review, Volume 8, Issue 2, February 2021, nwaa145,
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:108734
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:16 Apr 2021 20:01
Last Modified:08 Feb 2022 23:58

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