EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Cropland carbon uptake delayed by 2019 U.S. Midwest floods

Yi Yin1, Branden Byrne2, Junjie Liu2, Paul Wennberg1, Philipp Köhler1, Vincent Humphrey1, Troy Magney1,5, Kenneth Davis3, Tobias Gerken3, Sha Feng3, Joshua Digangi4, and Christian Frankenberg1,2
Yi Yin et al.
  • 1California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA , USA
  • 2Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, CA, USA
  • 3The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, USA
  • 4Langley Research Center, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Hampton, VA, USA
  • 5University of California, Davis, Davis, CA, USA

While large-scale floods directly impact human lives and infrastructures, they also profoundly impact agricultural productivity. New satellite observations of vegetation activity and atmospheric CO2 offer the opportunity to quantify the effects of such extreme events on cropland carbon sequestration, which are important for mitigation strategies. Widespread flooding during spring and early summer 2019 delayed crop planting across the U.S. Midwest. As a result, satellite observations of solar-induced chlorophyll fluorescence (SIF) from TROPOspheric Monitoring Instrument (TROPOMI) and Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO-2) reveal a shift of 16 days in the seasonal cycle of photosynthetic activity relative to 2018, along with a 15% lower peak photosynthesis. We estimate the 2019 anomaly to have led to a reduction of -0.21 PgC in gross primary production (GPP) in June and July, partially compensated in August and September (+0.14 PgC). The extension of the 2019 growing season into late September is likely to have benefited from increased water availability and late-season temperature. Ultimately, this change is predicted to reduce the crop yield over most of the midwest Corn/Soy belt by ~15%. Using an atmospheric transport model, we show that a decline of ~0.1 PgC in the net carbon uptake during June and July is consistent with observed CO2 enhancements from Atmospheric Carbon and Transport - America (ACT-America) aircraft and OCO-2. This study quantifies the impact of floods on cropland productivity and demonstrates the potential of combining SIF with atmospheric CO2 observations to monitor regional carbon flux anomalies.

How to cite: Yin, Y., Byrne, B., Liu, J., Wennberg, P., Köhler, P., Humphrey, V., Magney, T., Davis, K., Gerken, T., Feng, S., Digangi, J., and Frankenberg, C.: Cropland carbon uptake delayed by 2019 U.S. Midwest floods, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-12141,, 2020


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