Eddy-covariance and biometeorological methods show significant net annual carbon uptake in an old-growth Douglas-fir forest in southwestern Washington, USA. These results contrast with previous assumptions that old-growth forest ecosystems are in carbon equilibrium. The basis for differences between conventional biomass-based carbon sequestration estimates and the biometeorologic estimates are discussed. Annual net ecosystem exchange was comparable to younger ecosystems at the same latitude, as quantified in the AmeriFlux program. Net ecosystem carbon uptake was significantly correlated with photosynthetically active radiation and air temperature, as well as soil moisture and precipitation. Optimum ecosystem photosynthesis occurred at relatively cool temperatures (5°–10°C). Understory and soil carbon exchange always represented a source of carbon to the atmosphere, with a strong seasonal cycle in source strength. Understory and soil carbon exchange showed a Q10 temperature dependence and represented a substantial portion of the ecosystem carbon budget. The period of main carbon uptake and the period of soil and ecosystem respiration are out of phase, however, and driven by different climatic boundary conditions. The period of strongest ecosystem carbon uptake coincides with the lowest observed values of soil and ecosystem respiration. Despite the substantial contribution of soil, the overall strength of the photosynthetic sink resulted in the net annual uptake. The net uptake estimates here included two correction methods, one for advection and the other for low levels of turbulence.