02 Mar 2022
02 Mar 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal BG.

Multi-year observations reveal a larger than expected autumn respiration signal across northeast Eurasia

Brendan Byrne1, Junjie Liu1,2, Yonghong Yi3,4, Abhishek Chatterjee1, Sourish Basu5,6, Rui Cheng2, Russell Doughty2,7, Frédéric Chevallier8, Kevin W. Bowman1,3, Nicholas C. Parazoo1, David Crisp1, Xing Li9, Jingfeng Xiao10, Stephen Sitch11, Bertrand Guenet12, Feng Deng13, Matthew S. Johnson14, Sajeev Philip15, Patrick C. McGuire16, and Charles E. Miller1 Brendan Byrne et al.
  • 1Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USA
  • 2Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USA
  • 3Joint Institute for Regional Earth System Science and Engineering, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, USA
  • 4College of Surveying and Geo-Informatics, Tongji University, China
  • 5Global Modeling and Assimilation Office, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, USA
  • 6Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, USA
  • 7College of Atmospheric and Geographic Sciences, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK USA
  • 8Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement/IPSL, CEA-CNRS-UVSQ, Université Paris-Saclay, 91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, France
  • 9Research Institute of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Seoul National University, Seoul, South Korea
  • 10Earth Systems Research Center, Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH, USA
  • 11College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter, Exeter EX4 4RJ, UK
  • 12Laboratoire de Géologie, Ecole Normale Supérieure/CNRS UMR8538, IPSL, PSL Research University, Paris, France
  • 13Department of Physics, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • 14NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA, USA
  • 15Centre for Atmospheric Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, New Delhi, India
  • 16Department of Meteorology and National Centre for Atmospheric Science, University of Reading, Reading, UK

Abstract. Site-level observations have shown pervasive cold season CO2 release across Arctic and boreal ecosystems, impacting annual carbon budgets. Still, the seasonality of CO2 emissions are poorly quantified across much of the high latitudes due to the sparse coverage of site-level observations. Space-based observations provide the opportunity to fill some observational gaps for studying these high latitude ecosystems, particularly across poorly sampled regions of Eurasia. Here, we show that data-driven net ecosystem exchange (NEE) from atmospheric CO2 observations implies strong summer uptake followed by strong autumn release of CO2 over the entire cold northeastern region of Eurasia during the 2015–2019 study period. Combining data-driven NEE with satellite-based estimates of gross primary production (GPP), we show that this seasonality implies less summer heterotrophic respiration (Rh) and greater autumn Rh than would be expected given an exponential relationship between respiration and surface temperature. Furthermore, we show that this seasonality of NEE and Rh over northeastern Eurasia is not captured by the TRENDY v8 ensemble of dynamic global vegetation models (DGVMs), which estimate that only 52 % of annual Rh occurs during Aug–Apr, while the data-driven estimate suggests 64–70 % of annual Rh occurs over this period. We explain this seasonal shift in Rh by respiration from soils at depth during the zero curtain period, when sub-surface soils remain unfrozen up to several months after the surface has frozen. Additional impacts of physical processes related to freeze-thaw dynamics may contribute to the seasonality of Rh. This study confirms a significant and spatially extensive early cold season CO2 efflux in the permafrost rich region of northeast Eurasia, and suggests that autumn Rh from subsurface soils in the northern high latitudes is not well captured by current DGVMs.

Brendan Byrne 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-2022-40', Ashley Ballantyne, 30 Mar 2022
  • RC2: 'Comment on bg-2022-40', Anonymous Referee #2, 06 Jun 2022

Brendan Byrne et al.

Brendan Byrne et al.


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Short summary
Growing season plant growth draws CO2 out of the atmosphere while respiration releases CO2 back to the atmosphere, driving seasonal variations in atmospheric CO2 that can be observed by satellites, such as the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2). Using OCO-2 CO2 data with space-based constraints on plant growth, we show that the permafrost-rich northeast Eurasia has a strong seasonal release of CO2 during the autumn, hinting at a unexpectedly large respiration signal from soils.