EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Is destabilisation risk increasing in land carbon sinks?

Marcos Fernández-Martínez1, Josep Peñuelas2, Frederic Chevallier3, Philippe Ciais3, Michael Obersteiner4, Christian Rödenbeck5, Jordi Sardans2, Sara Vicca6, Hui Yang3, Stephen Sitch7, Pierre Friedlingstein8, Vivek K. Arora9, Daniel Goll3, Atul K. Jain10, Danica L. Lombardozzi11, and Patrick C. McGuire12
Marcos Fernández-Martínez et al.
  • 1CREAF, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Bellaterra, Catalonia, Spain (
  • 2CSIC, Global Ecology Unit, CREAF-CSIC-UAB, Bellaterra, 08193 Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
  • 3Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement, LSCE/IPSL, CEA-CNRS-UVSQ, Université Paris-Saclay, Gif-sur-Yvette, France
  • 4School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
  • 5Department of Biogeochmical Systems, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Jena, Germany
  • 6PLECO (Plants and Ecosystems), Department of Biology, University of Antwerp, 2610 Wilrijk, Belgium
  • 7College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK
  • 8College of Engineering, Mathematics, and Physical Sciences, University of Exeter, Exeter, United Kingdom
  • 9Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis, Climate Research Division, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Victoria, BC, Canada
  • 10Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61801, USA
  • 11Climate and Global Dynamics Laboratory, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO 80302, United States of America
  • 12Department of Meteorology, Department of Geography & Environmental Science, National Centre for Atmospheric Science, University of Reading, Reading, UK

Global net biome production (NBP), or net land carbon uptake, has been repeatedly shown to increase during recent decades. However, whether the temporal variability and autocorrelation of NBP has changed during this period remains elusive. Answering this question is particularly relevant given that an increase in both could indicate destabilising C sinks and potentially lead to abrupt changes. We investigated the trends and controls of net land C uptake and its temporal variability and autocorrelation, from 1981 to 2018, using two atmospheric inversion models, the amplitude of the seasonal cycle of atmospheric CO2 derived from nine monitoring stations distributed across the Pacific Ocean, and 12 dynamic global vegetation models. Spatially, we found that plant biodiversity presented a convex parabolic relationship with NBP and its temporal variability at the global scale while nitrogen deposition generally increased annual NBP. We also found that annual NBP and its interdecadal temporal variability globally increased, but temporal autocorrelation decreased. Regions characterized by increasingly variable NBP were usually with warmer and with increasingly variable temperatures, and lower and weaker trends in NBP compared to those where NBP variability did not increase, where NBP became stronger. Annual temperature increase and its increasing temporal variability were the most important drivers of declining NBP and increasingly its variability. Our results show that increasing regional NBP variability can be mostly attributed to climate change.

How to cite: Fernández-Martínez, M., Peñuelas, J., Chevallier, F., Ciais, P., Obersteiner, M., Rödenbeck, C., Sardans, J., Vicca, S., Yang, H., Sitch, S., Friedlingstein, P., Arora, V. K., Goll, D., Jain, A. K., Lombardozzi, D. L., and McGuire, P. C.: Is destabilisation risk increasing in land carbon sinks?, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-2813,, 2023.