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Published December 1993 | Published
Journal Article Open

Terrestrial ecosystem production: A process model based on global satellite and surface data


This paper presents a modeling approach aimed at seasonal resolution of global climatic and edaphic controls on patterns of terrestrial ecosystem production and soil microbial respiration. We use satellite imagery (Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer and International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project solar radiation), along with historical climate (monthly temperature and precipitation) and soil attributes (texture, C and N contents) from global (1°) data sets as model inputs. The Carnegie‐Ames‐Stanford approach (CASA) Biosphere model runs on a monthly time interval to simulate seasonal patterns in net plant carbon fixation, biomass and nutrient allocation, litterfall, soil nitrogen mineralization, and microbial CO2 production. The model estimate of global terrestrial net primary production is 48 Pg C yr^(−1) with a maximum light use efficiency of 0.39 g C MJ^(−1) PAR. Over 70% of terrestrial net production takes place between 30°N and 30°S latitude. Steady state pools of standing litter represent global storage of around 174 Pg C (94 and 80 Pg C in nonwoody and woody pools, respectively), whereas the pool of soil C in the top 0.3 m that is turning over on decadal time scales comprises 300 Pg C. Seasonal variations in atmospheric CO_2 concentrations from three stations in the Geophysical Monitoring for Climate Change Flask Sampling Network correlate significantly with estimated net ecosystem production values averaged over 50°–80° N, 10°–30° N, and 0°–10° N.

Additional Information

© 1993 American Geophysical Union. (Received June 14, 1993; revised September 21, 1993; accepted September 24, 1993.) Page number 93GB02725. We thank D. Schimel and two anonymous reviewers for comments on an earlier version of the manuscript. I. Fung and E. Rastetter provided valuable discussions. This work was supported by grants from a NASA EOS-IDS project (P. Sellers and H. Mooney, Principal Investigators) and from NASA's Earth System Science Modeling and Satellite Data Analysis program in Ecosystems and Land-Atmosphere Interactions (ref. 2539-MD/BGE-0019). C. Potter was also supported by a National Research Council Associateship to NASA Ames Research Center and a research stipend from Stanford University, Department of Biological Sciences. S. Los assisted in interpretation of satellite data sets. We are grateful to T. Maxwell, University of Maryland, for assistance in model code development. Thanks to S. Benjamin (U.S. Geological Survey), E. Matthews and J. John (NASA-GISS) for GIS data support. Graphics and computational support was provided by the Numerical Aerodynamic Simulation facility at NASA Ames Research Center. This is CIW-DPB publication number1 170.

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