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Published May 15, 2002 | Published
Journal Article Open

Satellite-derived increases in net primary productivity across North America, 1982-1998


We used a new 17‐year, high spatial resolution satellite record and a carbon cycle model to explore how changing net primary productivity (NPP) contributed to a proposed carbon (C) sink in North America. We found a small but significant increase in NPP, 0.03 Pg C yr^(−2) or 8% over 17 years, that could explain a substantial fraction of the C sink. The largest increases occurred in the central and southeastern United States, eastern Canada, and northwestern North America, and were consistent with NPP trends derived from forest inventories and crop yields. Interannual NPP variability was small, implying that the large interannual variability in the C sink found in previous studies were driven by changes in heterotrophic respiration.

Additional Information

© 2002 by the American Geophysical Union. Received 5 June 2001; revised 4 September 2001; accepted 17 October 2001; published 25 May 2002. We thank R. Staufer for assistance with the litterfall database. We also thank Dave Schimel and an anonymous reviewer for helpful comments that improved the paper. This work was funded by NASA EOS grants NAG5‐9356 and NAG5‐9462 and NASA NIP grant NAG5‐8709.

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August 19, 2023
October 19, 2023