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New global observations of the terrestrial carbon cycle from GOSAT: Patterns of plant fluorescence with gross primary productivity

Frankenberg, Christian and Fisher, Joshua B. and Worden, John and Badgley, Grayson and Saatchi, Sassan S. and Lee, Jung-Eun and Toon, Geoffrey C. and Butz, André and Jung, M. and Kuze, Akihiko and Yokota, Tatsuya (2011) New global observations of the terrestrial carbon cycle from GOSAT: Patterns of plant fluorescence with gross primary productivity. Geophysical Research Letters, 38 (17). Art. No. L17706. ISSN 0094-8276.

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Our ability to close the Earth's carbon budget and predict feedbacks in a warming climate depends critically on knowing where, when and how carbon dioxide is exchanged between the land and atmosphere. Terrestrial gross primary production (GPP) constitutes the largest flux component in the global carbon budget, however significant uncertainties remain in GPP estimates and its seasonality. Empirically, we show that global spaceborne observations of solar induced chlorophyll fluorescence – occurring during photosynthesis – exhibit a strong linear correlation with GPP. We found that the fluorescence emission even without any additional climatic or model information has the same or better predictive skill in estimating GPP as those derived from traditional remotely-sensed vegetation indices using ancillary data and model assumptions. In boreal summer the generally strong linear correlation between fluorescence and GPP models weakens, attributable to discrepancies in savannas/croplands (18–48% higher fluorescence-based GPP derived by simple linear scaling), and high-latitude needleleaf forests (28–32% lower fluorescence). Our results demonstrate that retrievals of chlorophyll fluorescence provide direct global observational constraints for GPP and open an entirely new viewpoint on the global carbon cycle. We anticipate that global fluorescence data in combination with consolidated plant physiological fluorescence models will be a step-change in carbon cycle research and enable an unprecedented robustness in the understanding of the current and future carbon cycle.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription
Frankenberg, Christian0000-0002-0546-5857
Worden, John0000-0003-0257-9549
Toon, Geoffrey C.0000-0003-4174-7541
Butz, André0000-0003-0593-1608
Additional Information:© 2011 American Geophysical Union. Received 30 June 2011; revised 11 August 2011; accepted 16 August 2011; published 14 September 2011. We gratefully thank M. Reichstein for providing the MPI‐BGC dataset. We acknowledge all MODIS land product science team members for providing an invaluable public dataset. We thank Maosheng Zhao (University of Montana) for providing the updated LAI product used in our analysis. The improved MOD17 GPP/NPP data was provided by the Numerical Terradynamic Simulation Group at the University of Montana. We thank all FLEX science team members for their continuous efforts in understanding and promoting fluorescence measurements from space. We thank A. Damm and L. Guanter for a useful discussion on the fluorescence signal. The research described in this paper was carried out by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. We thank an anonymous reviewer for a detailed review and constructive comments. The Editor thanks an anonymous reviewer for their assistance in evaluating this paper.
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Issue or Number:17
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20150511-100452761
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Official Citation:Frankenberg, C., et al. (2011), New global observations of the terrestrial carbon cycle from GOSAT: Patterns of plant fluorescence with gross primary productivity, Geophys. Res. Lett., 38, L17706, doi:10.1029/2011GL048738.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:57405
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:11 May 2015 17:50
Last Modified:09 Mar 2020 13:19

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