27 Oct 2022
27 Oct 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal BG.

Technical note: Novel estimates of the leaf relative uptake rate of carbonyl sulfide from optimality theory

Georg Wohlfahrt1, Albin Hammerle1, Felix M. Spielmann1, Florian Kitz1, and Chuixiang Yi2,3 Georg Wohlfahrt et al.
  • 1Department of Ecology, University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, 6020, Austria
  • 2School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Queens College, City University of New York, New York 11367, USA
  • 3Earth and Environmental Sciences Department, Graduate Center, City University of New York, New York, NY 10016, USA

Abstract. In order to estimate the gross primary productivity (GPP) of terrestrial ecosystems from the canopy uptake of carbonyl sulfide (COS), the leaf relative uptake rate (LRU) of COS with respect to carbon dioxide needs to be known a priori. Currently, the variability of the LRU between plant species in different biomes of the world is poorly understood, making the choice of an appropriate LRU uncertain and hampering further progress towards developing COS as an alternative tracer of GPP. Here we propose a novel approach for estimating LRU based on plant optimality principles, validate it against in situ leaf gas exchange measurements and provide global monthly climatological estimates. The global vegetation season average simulated LRUs fall into the range of 0.5–1.4 and are thus lower than any other published global estimates. We advocate these LRU estimates to be adopted by global modellers in order to test to what degree these are compatible with our current understanding of the sources and sinks in the global COS budget.

Georg Wohlfahrt et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on bg-2022-210', Anonymous Referee #1, 30 Nov 2022
  • RC2: 'Comment on bg-2022-210', Anonymous Referee #2, 06 Dec 2022

Georg Wohlfahrt et al.

Georg Wohlfahrt et al.


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Short summary
The trace gas carbonyl sulfide (COS), which is taken up by plant leaves in a process very similar to photosynthesis, is thought to be a promising proxy for the gross uptake of carbon dioxide by plants. Here we propose a new framework for estimating a key metric to that end, the so-called leaf relative uptake rate. The values we deduce by applying principles of plant optimality are considerably lower than published values and may help reducing the uncertainty of the global COS budget.