DOE’s AmeriFlux Network Improves Understanding of Global Carbon Cycle


A critical uncertainty in the terrestrial carbon cycle is the relationship between incoming solar radiation and the productivity of plants receiving that radiation. Data was collected from 35 carbon flux measurement sites around the world, including 13 U.S. AmeriFlux sites. By combining carbon flux and supporting biological and meteorological data with NASA satellite data, water availability was shown to have a larger impact on the function of vegetation than other measured physical parameters such as temperature. These results will improve estimates of how plant function is likely to respond to changing climate. The DOE-led multi-agency Ameriflux network provides measurements on the function and carbon cycle of ecosystems that advances understanding of processes regulating carbon assimilation, respiration, and storage, and linkages between carbon, water, energy, and nitrogen through measurements and modeling.


Martín F. Garbulsky, Josep Peñuelas, Dario Papale, Jonas Ardö, Michael L. Goulden, Gerard Kiely, Andrew D. Richardson, Eyal Rotenberg, Elmar M. Veenendaal and Iolanda Filella; 2010; “Patterns and controls of the variability of radiation use efficiency and primary productivity across terrestrial ecosystems,” Global Ecology and Biogeography, 19, 253-267.