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Long series relationships between global interannual CO2 increment and climate: evidence for stability and change in role of the tropical and boreal-temperate zones

Jonathan M Adams, Gianluca Piovesan
Chemosphere 2005, 59 (11): 1595-612
15878607
Interannual variability in global CO2 increment (averaged from the Mauna Loa and South Pole Stations) shows certain strong spatial relationships to both tropical and temperate temperatures. There is a fairly strong positive year-round correlation between tropical mean annual temperatures (leading by 4 months) and annual CO2 throughout the time series since 1960, agreeing with the generally held view that the tropics play a major role in determining inter-annual variability in CO2 increment, with a major CO2 pulse following a warm year in the tropics. This 'almost no lag' climatic response is very strong during winter and relatively stable in time. However, the correlation with tropical temperature appears to have weakened in the first years of the 1990s in correspondence of the Pinatubo eruption and the positive phase of the AO/NAO. A secondary concurrent temperature signal is linked to summer variations of north temperate belt. Northern summer temperatures in the region 30-60 degrees N-and especially in the land area corresponding to the central east USA-have become relatively more closely correlated with CO2 increment. This trend has become increasingly stronger in recent years, suggesting an increasing role for growing season processes in the northern midlatitudes in affecting global CO2 increment. Once non-lagged annual tropical temperature variations are accounted for, terrestrial ecosystems, especially the temperate-boreal biomes, also show a coherent large scale lagged response. This involves an inverse response to annual temperature of preceding years centered at around 2 years before. This lagged response is most likely linked to internal biogeochemical cycles, in particular N cycling. During the study period north boreal ecosystems show a strengthening of the lagged correlation with temperature in recent years, while the lagged correlation with areas of tropical ecosystems has weakened. Residuals from a multiple correlations based on these climatic signals are directly correlated with SO, confirming an additional important role of upwelling in interannual variability of CO2 increment. Cooler summers following the Pinatubo eruption and the possible influence of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO/AO) are discussed as factors responsible for the shift in the relative importance of different regions over time during the series of data.

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