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Satellite passive microwaves reveal recent climate-induced carbon losses in African drylands

Brandt, Martin ; Wigneron, Jean Pierre ; Chave, Jerome ; Tagesson, Torbern LU ; Penuelas, Josep ; Ciais, Philippe ; Rasmussen, Kjeld ; Tian, Feng LU ; Mbow, Cheikh and Al-Yaari, Amen , et al. (2018) In Nature Ecology and Evolution 2(5). p.827-835
Abstract

The African continent is facing one of the driest periods in the past three decades as well as continued deforestation. These disturbances threaten vegetation carbon (C) stocks and highlight the need for improved capabilities of monitoring large-scale aboveground carbon stock dynamics. Here we use a satellite dataset based on vegetation optical depth derived from low-frequency passive microwaves (L-VOD) to quantify annual aboveground biomass-carbon changes in sub-Saharan Africa between 2010 and 2016. L-VOD is shown not to saturate over densely vegetated areas. The overall net change in drylands (53% of the land area) was-0.05 petagrams of C per year (Pg C yr-1) associated with drying trends, and a net change of-0.02 Pg C... (More)

The African continent is facing one of the driest periods in the past three decades as well as continued deforestation. These disturbances threaten vegetation carbon (C) stocks and highlight the need for improved capabilities of monitoring large-scale aboveground carbon stock dynamics. Here we use a satellite dataset based on vegetation optical depth derived from low-frequency passive microwaves (L-VOD) to quantify annual aboveground biomass-carbon changes in sub-Saharan Africa between 2010 and 2016. L-VOD is shown not to saturate over densely vegetated areas. The overall net change in drylands (53% of the land area) was-0.05 petagrams of C per year (Pg C yr-1) associated with drying trends, and a net change of-0.02 Pg C yr-1 was observed in humid areas. These trends reflect a high inter-Annual variability with a very dry year in 2015 (net change,-0.69 Pg C) with about half of the gross losses occurring in drylands. This study demonstrates, first, the applicability of L-VOD to monitor the dynamics of carbon loss and gain due to weather variations, and second, the importance of the highly dynamic and vulnerable carbon pool of dryland savannahs for the global carbon balance, despite the relatively low carbon stock per unit area.

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publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Nature Ecology and Evolution
volume
2
issue
5
pages
9 pages
publisher
Nature Publishing Group
external identifiers
  • pmid:29632351
  • scopus:85045081642
ISSN
2397-334X
DOI
10.1038/s41559-018-0530-6
language
English
LU publication?
no
id
21613f38-189e-42fb-bd84-6069575f3a10
date added to LUP
2018-06-08 13:44:50
date last changed
2020-09-30 05:34:43
@article{21613f38-189e-42fb-bd84-6069575f3a10,
  abstract     = {<p>The African continent is facing one of the driest periods in the past three decades as well as continued deforestation. These disturbances threaten vegetation carbon (C) stocks and highlight the need for improved capabilities of monitoring large-scale aboveground carbon stock dynamics. Here we use a satellite dataset based on vegetation optical depth derived from low-frequency passive microwaves (L-VOD) to quantify annual aboveground biomass-carbon changes in sub-Saharan Africa between 2010 and 2016. L-VOD is shown not to saturate over densely vegetated areas. The overall net change in drylands (53% of the land area) was-0.05 petagrams of C per year (Pg C yr<sup>-1</sup>) associated with drying trends, and a net change of-0.02 Pg C yr<sup>-1</sup> was observed in humid areas. These trends reflect a high inter-Annual variability with a very dry year in 2015 (net change,-0.69 Pg C) with about half of the gross losses occurring in drylands. This study demonstrates, first, the applicability of L-VOD to monitor the dynamics of carbon loss and gain due to weather variations, and second, the importance of the highly dynamic and vulnerable carbon pool of dryland savannahs for the global carbon balance, despite the relatively low carbon stock per unit area.</p>},
  author       = {Brandt, Martin and Wigneron, Jean Pierre and Chave, Jerome and Tagesson, Torbern and Penuelas, Josep and Ciais, Philippe and Rasmussen, Kjeld and Tian, Feng and Mbow, Cheikh and Al-Yaari, Amen and Rodriguez-Fernandez, Nemesio and Schurgers, Guy and Zhang, Wenmin and Chang, Jinfeng and Kerr, Yann and Verger, Aleixandre and Tucker, Compton and Mialon, Arnaud and Rasmussen, Laura Vang and Fan, Lei and Fensholt, Rasmus},
  issn         = {2397-334X},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {05},
  number       = {5},
  pages        = {827--835},
  publisher    = {Nature Publishing Group},
  series       = {Nature Ecology and Evolution},
  title        = {Satellite passive microwaves reveal recent climate-induced carbon losses in African drylands},
  url          = {https://lup.lub.lu.se/search/ws/files/45733820/Brandt_et_al_2018_NEE.pdf},
  doi          = {10.1038/s41559-018-0530-6},
  volume       = {2},
  year         = {2018},
}