A large terrestrial carbon sink in North America implied by atmospheric and oceanic carbon dioxide data and models

S. Fan, M. Gloor, J. Mahlman, Stephen Wilson Pacala, Jorge Louis Sarmiento, T. Takahashi, P. Tans

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

629 Scopus citations

Abstract

Atmospheric carbon dioxide increased at a rate of 2.8 petagrams of carbon per year (Pg C year-1 during 1988 to 1992) (1 Pg = 1015 grams). Given estimates of fossil carbon dioxide emissions, and net oceanic uptake, this implies a global terrestrial uptake of 1.0 to 2.2 Pg C year-1. The spatial distribution of the terrestrial carbon dioxide uptake is estimated by means of the observed spatial patterns of the greatly increased atmospheric carbon dioxide data set available from 1988 onward, together with two atmospheric transport models, two estimates of the sea-air flux, and an estimate of the spatial distribution of fossil carbon dioxide uptake of 1.7 ± 0.5 Pg C year-1, mostly south of 51 degrees north. Eurasia-North Africa is relatively weakly constrained, with a mean uptake of 0.1 ± 0.6 Pg C year-1. The rest of the world's land surface is poorly constrained, with a mean source of 0.2 ± 0.9 Pg C year-1.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)442-446
Number of pages5
JournalScience
Volume282
Issue number5388
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 16 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General

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