Enhanced regional terrestrial carbon uptake over Korea revealed by atmospheric CO₂ measurements from 1999 to 2017

Yun, Jeongmin; Jeong, Su‐Jong; Ho, Chang‐Hoi; Park, Hoonyoung; Liu, Junjie; Lee, Haeyoung; Sitch, Stephen; Friedlingstein, Pierre; Lienert, Sebastian; Lombardozzi, Danica; Haverd, Vanessa; Jain, Atual; Zaehle, Sönke; Kato, Etsushi; Tian, Hanqin; Vuichard, Nicolas; Wiltshire, Andy; Zeng, Ning (2020). Enhanced regional terrestrial carbon uptake over Korea revealed by atmospheric CO₂ measurements from 1999 to 2017. Global change biology, 26(6), pp. 3368-3383. Wiley 10.1111/gcb.15061

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Understanding changes in terrestrial carbon balance is important to improve our knowledge of the regional carbon cycle and climate change. However, evaluating regional changes in the terrestrial carbon balance is challenging due to the lack of surface flux measurements. This study reveals that the terrestrial carbon uptake over the Republic of Korea has been enhanced from 1999 to 2017 by analyzing long-term atmospheric CO₂ concentration measurements at Anmyeondo Station (36.53°N, 126.32°E) located in the western coast. The influence of terrestrial carbon flux on atmospheric CO₂ concentrations (ΔCO₂) is estimated from the difference of CO₂ concentrations that were influenced by the land sector (through easterly winds) and the Yellow Sea sector (through westerly winds). We find a significant trend in ΔCO₂ of -4.75 ppmv decade⁻¹ (p < 0.05) during the vegetation growing season (May through October), suggesting that the regional terrestrial carbon uptake has increased relative to the surrounding ocean areas. Combined analysis with satellite measured normalized difference vegetation index and gross primary production shows that the enhanced carbon uptake is associated with significant nationwide increases in vegetation and its production. Process-based terrestrial model and inverse model simulations Estimate that regional terrestrial carbon uptake increases by up to 9.9 and 4.2 Tg C decade⁻¹, accounting for 13.4 and 5.7% of annual domestic carbon emissions averaged for the study period, respectively. Atmospheric chemical transport model simulations indicate that the enhanced terrestrial carbon sink is the primary reason for the observed ΔCO₂trend rather than anthropogenic emissions and atmospheric circulation changes. Our results highlight the fact that atmospheric CO₂ measurements could open up the possibility of detecting regional changes in the terrestrial carbon cycle even where anthropogenic emissions are not negligible.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute > Climate and Environmental Physics

UniBE Contributor:

Lienert, Sebastian


500 Science > 530 Physics








Fortunat Joos

Date Deposited:

15 Apr 2020 14:06

Last Modified:

04 Mar 2021 02:30

Publisher DOI:






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