Global Convergence In The Temperature Sensitivity Of Respiration At Ecosystem Level

  • Sites: BR-Ma2
  • Publication Type: JOUR
  • Authors: Mahecha, M. D.; Reichstein, M.; Carvalhais, N.; Lasslop, G.; Lange, H.; Seneviratne, S. I.; Vargas, R.; Ammann, C.; Arain, M. A.; Cescatti, A.; Janssens, I. A.; Migliavacca, M.; Montagnani, L.; Richardson, A. D.

  • As climate change accelerates, it is important to know the likely impact of climate change on the carbon cycle (see the Perspective by Reich). Gross primary production (GPP) is a measure of the amount of CO2 removed from the atmosphere every year to fuel photosynthesis. Beer et al. (p. 834, published online 5 July) used a combination of observation and calculation to estimate that the total GPP by terrestrial plants is around 122 billion tons per year; in comparison, burning fossil fuels emits about 7 billion tons annually. Thirty-two percent of this uptake occurs in tropical forests, and precipitation controls carbon uptake in more than 40% of vegetated land. The temperature sensitivity (Q10) of ecosystem respiratory processes is a key determinant of the interaction between climate and the carbon cycle. Mahecha et al. (p. 838, published online 5 July) now show that the Q10 of ecosystem respiration is invariant with respect to mean annual temperature, independent of the analyzed ecosystem type, with a global mean value for Q10 of 1.6. This level of temperature sensitivity suggests a less-pronounced climate sensitivity of the carbon cycle than assumed by recent climate models.


  • Journal: Science
  • Funding Agency: —
  • Citation Information:
  • Volume: 329
  • No: 5993
  • Pages: 838-840
  • Publication Year: 2010/08
  • DOI: 10.1126/science.1189587