Decadal trends in the seasonal-cycle amplitude of terrestrial CO2 exchange resulting from the ensemble of terrestrial biosphere models

Akihiko Ito, Motoko Inatomi, Deborah N. Huntzinger, Christopher Schwalm, Anna M. Michalak, Robert Cook, Anthony W. King, Jiafu Mao, Yaxing Wei, W. Mac Post, Weile Wang, M. Altaf Arain, Suo Huang, Daniel J. Hayes, Daniel M. Ricciuto, Xiaoying Shi, Maoyi Huang, Huimin Lei, Hanqin Tian, Chaoqun LuJia Yang, Bo Tao, Atul Jain, Benjamin Poulter, Shushi Peng, Philippe Ciais, Joshua B. Fisher, Nicholas Parazoo, Kevin Schaefer, Changhui Peng, Ning Zeng, Fang Zhao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


The seasonal-cycle amplitude (SCA) of the atmosphere-ecosystem carbon dioxide (CO2) exchange rate is a useful metric of the responsiveness of the terrestrial biosphere to environmental variations. It is unclear, however, what underlying mechanisms are responsible for the observed increasing trend of SCA in atmospheric CO2 concentration. Using output data from the Multi-scale Terrestrial Model Intercomparison Project (MsTMIP), we investigated how well the SCA of atmosphere-ecosystem CO2 exchange was simulated with 15 contemporary terrestrial ecosystem models during the period 1901-2010. Also, we made attempt to evaluate the contributions of potential mechanisms such as atmospheric CO2, climate, land-use, and nitrogen deposition, through factorial experiments using different combinations of forcing data. Under contemporary conditions, the simulated global-scale SCA of the cumulative net ecosystem carbon flux of most models was comparable in magnitude with the SCA of atmospheric CO2 concentrations. Results from factorial simulation experiments showed that elevated atmospheric CO2 exerted a strong influence on the seasonality amplification. When the model considered not only climate change but also land-use and atmospheric CO2 changes, the majority of the models showed amplification trends of the SCAs of photosynthesis, respiration, and net ecosystem production (+0.19 % to +0.50 % yr-1). In the case of land-use change, it was difficult to separate the contribution of agricultural management to SCA because of inadequacies in both the data and models. The simulated amplification of SCA was approximately consistent with the observational evidence of the SCA in atmospheric CO2 concentrations. Large inter-model differences remained, however, in the simulated global tendencies and spatial patterns of CO2 exchanges. Further studies are required to identify a consistent explanation for the simulated and observed amplification trends, including their underlying mechanisms. Nevertheless, this study implied that monitoring of ecosystem seasonality would provide useful insights concerning ecosystem dynamics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number28968
JournalTellus, Series B: Chemical and Physical Meteorology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2016


  • Atmospheric carbon dioxide
  • Carbon cycle
  • Climate change
  • Land-use change
  • Seasonal cycle
  • Terrestrial ecosystem

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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