Barichivich J, Briffa KR, Myneni RB, Osborn TJ, Melvin TM, Ciais P, Piao S, Tucker C

Global Change Biology

Published date October 19, 2013

Large-scale variations in the vegetation growing season and annual cycle of atmospheric CO2 at high northern latitudes from 1950 to 2011

  • Combines satellite and ground observations during 1950-2011 to study the long-term links between multiple climate (air temperature and cryospheric dynamics) and vegetation (greenness and atmospheric CO(2) concentrations) indicators of the growing season of northern ecosystems (>45°N) and their connection with the carbon cycle
  • Finds that the thermal potential growing season has lengthened by about 10.5 days (P < 0.01, 1982-2011), which is unprecedented in the context of the past 60 years
  • Finds the overall lengthening has been stronger and more significant in Eurasia (12.6 days, P < 0.01) than North America (6.2 days, P > 0.05)
  • States this lengthening and intensification of the photosynthetic growing season, manifested principally over Eurasia rather than North America, is associated with a long-term increase (22.2% since 1972, P < 0.01) in the amplitude of the CO(2) annual cycle at northern latitudes
  • Finds the springtime extension of the photosynthetic and potential growing seasons has apparently stimulated earlier and stronger net CO(2) uptake by northern ecosystems, while the autumnal extension is associated with an earlier net release of CO(2) to the atmosphere