The Human Impacts Database

A collection of useful numbers for quantifying the impacts of the human presence on Earth.

Growth in terrestrial gross primary production during the 20th century

Flora & FaunaCarbon Dioxide

This quantity is a single measurement of the quantity at a given point in time (1900-2013).

Value: 31 ± 5 %
HuID: 44893
Relevant Year(s): 1900-2013
Summary: Growth in terrestrial gross primary production (GPP) during the period 1900-2013. GPP is defined as the amount of carbon dioxide that is taken up by land plants through photosynthesis. Increments in GPP may represent a negative feedback for climate change, reducing the amount of carbon in the atmosphere. However, an increase in GPP may not necessarily represent a higher CO2 sink, since the net effect of plants on atmospheric CO2 also depends on respiration, which releases CO2 and partially offsets GPP. The difference between GPP and respiration is referred to as net primary production.
Method: The estimate is obtained using a top-down approach, constrained by global atmospheric concentrations of carbonyl sulfide (COS), an atmospheric tracer. The historical trend of COS concentration was obtained from ice-core and firn measurements in Antarctica. The GPP growth is then derived using a Bayesian Monte Carlo analysis of historical trends of the global COS sink due to plant photosynthesis. The reported value represents the range of GPP growth that maximizes the likelihood of the COS concentration observations. The uncertainty band represents the 95% confidence interval derived from the analysis.
Source: Campbell, J.E., Berry, J.A., Seibt, U., Montzka, S.A., Launois, T., Belviso, S., Bopp, L. and Laine, M. Large historical growth in global terrestrial gross primary production. Nature (2017)
Dataset: Growth in global terrestrial gross primary production during the 20th century (campbell2017_gpp_growth)
global resolution
Original Data License: CC-BY 4.0
Added By: ilopezgo