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Net carbon dioxide losses of northern ecosystems in response to autumn warming

Shilong Piao, Philippe Ciais, Pierre Friedlingstein, Philippe Peylin, Markus Reichstein, Sebastiaan Luyssaert, Hank Margolis, Jingyun Fang, Alan Barr, Anping Chen, Achim Grelle, David Y. Hollinger, Tuomas Laurila, Anders Lindroth, Andrew D. Richardson & Timo Vesala

Nature 451, 49-52(3 January 2008)

This study finds that the duration of the net carbon uptake period (CUP) in northern ecosystems has on average decreased due to warmer autumn temperatures. Simulations and observations indicate that northern terrestrial ecosystems may currently lose carbon dioxide in response to autumn warming, with a sensitivity of about 0.2 PgC °C-1, offsetting 90% of the increased carbon dioxide uptake during spring. If future autumn warming occurs at a faster rate than in spring, the ability of northern ecosystems to sequester carbon may be diminished earlier than previously suggested.

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Illustrative Photos (available free if credited as specified)
Marc André Giasson Zhehao Shen  
Mont Wright – Northern hardwood forest near Quebec City, Canada.  Photo credit: Marc André Giasson
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Mixed Beech forest in the mountains of warm temperate region in China. Photo credit: Zhehao Shen
(1220 x 936 jpg 592 kb)
Wei Wang Onil Bergeron
Deciduous broad leaf forests dominated by Betula Platyphylla in Saihanba area of northern China in Autumn. Photo credit: Wei Wang
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Tour-Bluets - Flux tower on a recently harvest boreal black spruce site with lowbush blueberry ground cover, Chibougamau, Quebec. Photo credit: Onil Bergeron
(1600 x 1200 jpg 379 kb)