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Contrasting carbon cycle responses of the tropical continents to the 2015–2016 El Niño

Liu, Junjie and Bowman, Kevin W. and Schimel, David S. and Parazoo, Nicolas C. and Jiang, Zhe and Lee, Meemong and Bloom, A. Anthony and Wunch, Debra and Frankenberg, Christian and Sun, Ying and O’Dell, Christopher W. and Gurney, Kevin R. and Menemenlis, Dimitris and Gierach, Michelle and Crisp, David and Eldering, Annmarie (2017) Contrasting carbon cycle responses of the tropical continents to the 2015–2016 El Niño. Science, 358 (6360). Art. No. eaam5690. ISSN 0036-8075. doi:10.1126/science.aam5690.

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The 2015–2016 El Niño led to historically high temperatures and low precipitation over the tropics, while the growth rate of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO_2) was the largest on record. Here we quantify the response of tropical net biosphere exchange, gross primary production, biomass burning, and respiration to these climate anomalies by assimilating column CO_2, solar-induced chlorophyll fluorescence, and carbon monoxide observations from multiple satellites. Relative to the 2011 La Niña, the pantropical biosphere released 2.5 ± 0.34 gigatons more carbon into the atmosphere in 2015, consisting of approximately even contributions from three tropical continents but dominated by diverse carbon exchange processes. The heterogeneity of the carbon-exchange processes indicated here challenges previous studies that suggested that a single dominant process determines carbon cycle interannual variability.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Materials
Liu, Junjie0000-0002-7184-6594
Bowman, Kevin W.0000-0002-8659-1117
Schimel, David S.0000-0003-3473-8065
Parazoo, Nicolas C.0000-0002-4424-7780
Jiang, Zhe0000-0002-0086-7486
Lee, Meemong0000-0002-8797-8209
Bloom, A. Anthony0000-0002-1486-1499
Wunch, Debra0000-0002-4924-0377
Frankenberg, Christian0000-0002-0546-5857
Sun, Ying0000-0002-9819-1241
O’Dell, Christopher W.0000-0002-0271-8433
Gurney, Kevin R.0000-0001-9218-7164
Menemenlis, Dimitris0000-0001-9940-8409
Gierach, Michelle0000-0002-8161-4121
Crisp, David0000-0002-4573-9998
Eldering, Annmarie0000-0003-1080-9922
Additional Information:© 2017 American Association for the Advancement of Science. Received 9 December 2016; accepted 6 July 2017. This research was carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). All the computations were performed on the NASA Ames supercomputers. The data used in this study can be obtained from This work was supported in part by the NASA Carbon Monitoring System program (grant 14-CMS14-0054) and the NASA Orbiting Carbon Observatory Science team program (grant 14-OCO2_14-0007 and 11-OCO211-0024). K.R.G. acknowledges the NSF Faculty Early Career Developent Program award (CAREER 0846358).
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Issue or Number:6360
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20171016-144304419
Persistent URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:82386
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:17 Oct 2017 21:41
Last Modified:15 Nov 2021 19:50

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