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Biogeosciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2017-345
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2017-345
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 21 Aug 2017

Submitted as: research article | 21 Aug 2017

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It has been under review for the journal Biogeosciences (BG). The manuscript was not accepted for further review after discussion.

A temperature threshold to identify the driving climate forces of the respiratory process in terrestrial ecosystems

Zhiyuan Zhang1, Renduo Zhang1, Yang Zhou1,2, Alessandro Cescatti3, Georg Wohlfahrt4, Minmin Sun1, Juan Zhu1, Vincenzo Magliulo5, Feng Tao1, and Guanhong Chen1 Zhiyuan Zhang et al.
  • 1School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Environmental Pollution Control and Remediat ion Technology, Sun Yat -sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China
  • 2College of Environmental Science and Engineering, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
  • 3Institute for Environment and Sustainability, Climate Risk Management Unit, European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Ispra 21027, Italy
  • 4Institute of Ecology, University of Innsbruck, Sternwartestr 15, Innsbruck 6020, Austria
  • 5Institute for Mediterranean Agricultural and Forest Systems, National Research Council, Ercolano (Napoli) 80040, Italy

Abstract. Terrestrial ecosystem respiration (Re) is the major source of CO2 release and constitutes the second largest carbon flux between the biosphere and atmosphere. Therefore, climate-driven changes of Re may greatly impact on future atmospheric CO2 concentration. The aim of this study was to derive an air temperature threshold for identifying the driving climate forces of the respiratory process in terrestrial ecosystems within different temperature zones. For this purpose, a global dataset of 647 site-years of ecosystem flux data collected at 152 sites has been examined. Our analysis revealed an ecosystem threshold of mean annual air temperature (MAT) of 11 ± 2.3 °C. In ecosystems with the MAT below this threshold, the maximum Re rates were primarily dependent on temperature and respiration was mainly a temperature-driven process. On the contrary, in ecosystems with the MAT greater than 11 ± 2.3 °C, in addition to temperature, other driving forces, such as water availability and surface heat flux, became significant drivers of the maximum Re rates and respiration was a multi-factor-driven process. The information derived from this study highlight the key role of temperature as main controlling factor of the maximum Re rates on a large fraction of the terrestrial biosphere, while other driving forces reduce the maximum Re rates and temperature sensitivity of the respiratory process. These findings are particularly relevant under the current scenario of rapid global warming, given that the potential climate-induced changes in ecosystem respiration may lead to substantial anomalies in the seasonality and magnitude of the terrestrial carbon budget.

Zhiyuan Zhang et al.
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AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
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Zhiyuan Zhang et al.
Zhiyuan Zhang et al.
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Short summary
This study highlight the key role of temperature as main controlling factor of the maximum respiration rates in most terrestrial ecosystems, while other driving forces reduce the maximum respiration rates and temperature sensitivity of the respiratory process. These findings are particularly relevant under the current scenario of rapid global warming, given that the potential climate-induced changes in ecosystem respiration may lead to substantial anomalies in terrestrial carbon budget.
This study highlight the key role of temperature as main controlling factor of the maximum...
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