A Comprehensive Assessment of Anthropogenic and Natural Sources and Sinks of Australasia's Carbon Budget

Yohanna Villalobos, Josep G. Canadell, Elizabeth D. Keller, Peter R. Briggs, Beata Bukosa, Donna L. Giltrap, Ian Harman, Timothy W. Hilton, Miko U.F. Kirschbaum, Ronny Lauerwald, Liyin L. Liang, Taylor Maavara, Sara E. Mikaloff-Fletcher, Peter J. Rayner, Laure Resplandy, Judith Rosentreter, Eva Marie Metz, Oscar Serrano, Benjamin Smith

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Regional carbon budget assessments attribute and track changes in carbon sources and sinks and support the development and monitoring the efficacy of climate policies. We present a comprehensive assessment of the natural and anthropogenic carbon (C-CO2) fluxes for Australasia as a whole, as well as for Australia and New Zealand individually, for the period from 2010 to 2019, using two approaches: bottom-up methods that integrate flux estimates from land-surface models, data-driven models, and inventory estimates; and top-down atmospheric inversions based on satellite and in situ measurements. Our bottom-up decadal assessment suggests that Australasia's net carbon balance was close to carbon neutral (−0.4 ± 77.0 TgC yr−1). However, substantial uncertainties remain in this estimate, primarily driven by the large spread between our regional terrestrial biosphere simulations and predictions from global ecosystem models. Within Australasia, Australia was a net source of 38.2 ± 75.8 TgC yr−1, and New Zealand was a net CO2 sink of −38.6 ± 13.4 TgC yr−1. The top-down approach using atmospheric CO2 inversions indicates that fluxes derived from the latest satellite retrievals are consistent within the range of uncertainties with Australia's bottom-up budget. For New Zealand, the best agreement was found with a national scale flux inversion estimate based on in situ measurements, which provide better constrained of fluxes than satellite flux inversions. This study marks an important step toward a more comprehensive understanding of the net CO2 balance in both countries, facilitating the improvement of carbon accounting approaches and strategies to reduce emissions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2023GB007845
JournalGlobal Biogeochemical Cycles
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • General Environmental Science
  • Atmospheric Science


  • Australasia carbon budget assessment
  • RECCAP-2
  • bottom-up and top-dow approaches
  • carbon cycle and climate


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