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https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2020-80
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2020-80
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  27 Mar 2020

27 Mar 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal BG.

Vegetation modulates the impact of climate extremes on gross primary production

Milan Flach1,2, Alexander Brenning2, Fabian Gans1, Markus Reichstein1,3, Sebastian Sippel4,5, and Miguel D. Mahecha1,3,6 Milan Flach et al.
  • 1Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Department Biogeochemical Integration, P. O. Box 10 01 64, D-07701 Jena, Germany
  • 2Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Department of Geography, Jena, Germany
  • 3German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv), Leipzig, Germany
  • 4Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research, Ås, Norway
  • 5ETH Zürich, Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science, Switzerland
  • 6University of Leipzig, Remote Sensing Center for Earth System Research, Germany

Abstract. Drought and heat events affect the uptake and sequestration of carbon in terrestrial ecosystems. Factors such as the duration, timing and intensity of extreme events influence the magnitude of impacts on ecosystem processes such as gross primary production (GPP), i.e. the ecosystem uptake of CO2. Preceding soil moisture depletion may exacerbate these impacts. However, some vegetation types may be more resilient to climate extremes than others. This effect is insufficiently understood at the global scale and is the focus of this study. Using a global upscaled product of GPP that scales up in-situ land CO2 flux observations with global satellite remote sensing, we study the impact of climate extremes at the global scale. We find that GPP in grasslands and agricultural areas is generally reduced during heat and drought events. However, we also find that forests, if considered globally, appear not in general to be particularly sensitive to droughts and heat events that occurred during the analyzed period or even show increased GPP values during these events. On the one hand, this is in many cases plausible, e.g. when no negative preconditioning has occurred. On the other hand, however, this may also reflect a lack of sensitivity in current remote sensing derived GPP products to the effects of droughts and heatwaves. The overall picture calls for a differentiated consideration of different land cover types in the assessments of risks of climate extremes for ecosystem functioning.

Milan Flach et al.

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Milan Flach et al.

Milan Flach et al.

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Short summary
Drought and heat events affect the uptake and sequestration of carbon in terrestrial ecosystems. We study the impact of droughts and heatwaves on the uptake of CO2 of different vegetation types at the global scale. We find that agricultural areas are generally strongly affected. Forests instead are not particularly sensitive to the events under scrutiny. This implies different water management strategies of forests, but also a lack of sensitivity in remote sensing derived vegetation activity.
Drought and heat events affect the uptake and sequestration of carbon in terrestrial ecosystems....
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