EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

The use of multi-tracer flask-measurements to understand changes in the land-surface processes.

Theertha Kariyathan1,2, Wouter Peters2, Julia Marshall3, Ana Bastos1, and Markus Reichstein1
Theertha Kariyathan et al.
  • 1Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Jena, Germany
  • 2Wageningen University and Research, Netherlands
  • 3Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR), Institut für Physik der Atmosphäre, Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is an important greenhouse gas, and it accounts for about 20% of the present-day anthropogenic greenhouse effect. Atmospheric CO2 is cycled between the terrestrial biosphere and the atmosphere through various land-surface processes and thus links the atmosphere and terrestrial biosphere through positive and negative feedback. Since multiple trace gas elements are linked by common biogeochemical processes, multi-species analysis is useful for reinforcing our understanding and can help in partitioning CO2 fluxes. For example, in the northern hemisphere, CO2 has a distinct seasonal cycle mainly regulated by plant photosynthesis and respiration and it has a distinct negative correlation with the seasonal cycle of the δ13C isotope of CO2, due to a stronger isotopic fractionation associated with terrestrial photosynthesis. Therefore, multi-species flask-data measurements are useful for the long-term analysis of various green-house gases. Here we try to infer the complex interaction between the atmosphere and the terrestrial biosphere by multi-species analysis using atmospheric flask measurement data from different NOAA flask measurement sites across the northern hemisphere.

This study focuses on the long-term changes in the seasonal cycle of CO2 over the northern hemisphere and tries to attribute the observed changes to driving land-surface processes through a combined analysis of the δ13C seasonal cycle. For this we generate metrics of different parameters of the CO2 and δ13C seasonal cycle like the seasonal cycle amplitude given by the peak-to-peak difference of the cycle (indicative of the amount of CO2 taken up by terrestrial uptake),  the intensity of plant productivity inferred from the slope of the seasonal cycle during the growing season , length of growing season and the start of the growing season. We analyze the inter-relation between these metrics and how they change across latitude and over time. We hypothesize that the CO2 seasonal cycle amplitude is controlled both by the intensity of plant productivity and period of the active growing season and that the timing of the growing season can affect the intensity of plant productivity. We then quantify these relationships, including their variation over time and latitudes and describe the effects of an earlier start of the growing season on the intensity of plant productivity and the CO2 uptake by plants.

How to cite: Kariyathan, T., Peters, W., Marshall, J., Bastos, A., and Reichstein, M.: The use of multi-tracer flask-measurements to understand changes in the land-surface processes., EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-15179,, 2021.


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