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Research article 09 Mar 2018

Research article | 09 Mar 2018

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This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Biogeosciences (BG).

Ecosystem fluxes of carbonyl sulfide in an old-growth forest: temporal dynamics and responses to diffuse radiation and heat waves

Bharat Rastogi1, Max Berkelhammer2, Sonia Wharton3, Mary E. Whelan4, Frederick C. Meinzer5, David Noone6, and Christopher J. Still1 Bharat Rastogi et al.
  • 1Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society, Oregon State University, OR 97331, USA
  • 2Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA
  • 3Atmospheric, Earth and Energy Division, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, 7000 East Avenue, L-103, Livermore, CA 94550, USA
  • 4Carnegie Institution for Science, 260 Panama St., Stanford, CA 94305, USA
  • 5USDA Forest Service, PNW Research Station, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA
  • 6College of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, Oregon State University, OR 97331, USA

Abstract. Carbonyl sulfide (OCS) has recently emerged as a tracer for terrestrial carbon uptake. While physiological studies relating OCS fluxes to leaf stomatal dynamics have been established at leaf and branch scales and incorporated in global carbon cycle models, the quantity of data from ecosystem-scale field studies remains limited. In this study we employ established theoretical relationships to infer ecosystem-scale OCS uptake from concentration measurements. OCS uptake was found to scale with independent measurements of CO2 fluxes over a 60-m-tall old-growth forest in the Pacific Northwestern U.S. (45°49′13.76′′N; 121°57′06.88′′) at hourly and monthly timescales across the growing season in 2015. OCS fluxes tracked changes in soil moisture, and were strongly influenced by the fraction of downwelling diffuse light. Fluxes were also strongly affected by sequential heat waves during the growing season. Our results bolster previous evidence that ecosystem OCS uptake is strongly related to stomatal dynamics, and measuring this gas improves constraints on estimating photosynthetic rates at the ecosystem scale.

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Short summary
Measurements of carbonyl sulfide (OCS) have recently gained prominence as an independent tracer for gross primary productivity, which is usually modelled by partitioning net CO2 fluxes. Here, we present a simple empirical model for estimating ecosystem scale OCS fluxes for a temperate old-growth forest, and find that sink strength is highly dependent on soil moisture and the diffuse fraction of downwelling radiation. We also examine the response of OCS and CO2 fluxes to sequential heatwaves.
Measurements of carbonyl sulfide (OCS) have recently gained prominence as an independent tracer...