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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 1, 2024
  2. Abstract

    Long-term soil CO2emission measurements are necessary for detecting trends and interannual variability in the terrestrial carbon cycle. Such records are becoming increasingly valuable as ecosystems experience altered environmental conditions associated with climate change. From 2013 to 2021, we continuously measured soil CO2concentrations in the two dominant high elevation forest types, mixed conifer and aspen, in the upper Colorado River basin. We quantified the soil CO2flux during the summer months, and found that the mean and total CO2flux in both forests was related to the prior winter’s snowfall and current summer’s rainfall, with greater sensitivity to rainfall. We observed a decline in surface soil CO2production, which we attributed to warming and a decrease in amount and frequency of summer rains. Our results demonstrate strong precipitation control on the soil CO2flux in mountainous regions, a finding which has important implications for carbon cycling under future environmental change.

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  3. Abstract

    We examined the seasonality of photosynthesis in 46 evergreen needleleaf (evergreen needleleaf forests (ENF)) and deciduous broadleaf (deciduous broadleaf forests (DBF)) forests across North America and Eurasia. We quantified the onset and end (StartGPPand EndGPP) of photosynthesis in spring and autumn based on the response of net ecosystem exchange of CO2to sunlight. To test the hypothesis that snowmelt is required for photosynthesis to begin, these were compared with end of snowmelt derived from soil temperature. ENF forests achieved 10% of summer photosynthetic capacity ∼3 weeks before end of snowmelt, while DBF forests achieved that capacity ∼4 weeks afterward. DBF forests increased photosynthetic capacity in spring faster (1.95% d−1) than ENF (1.10% d−1), and their active season length (EndGPP–StartGPP) was ∼50 days shorter. We hypothesized that warming has influenced timing of the photosynthesis season. We found minimal evidence for long‐term change in StartGPP, EndGPP, or air temperature, but their interannual anomalies were significantly correlated. Warmer weather was associated with earlier StartGPP(1.3–2.5 days °C−1) or later EndGPP(1.5–1.8 days °C−1, depending on forest type and month). Finally, we tested whether existing phenological models could predict StartGPPand EndGPP. For ENF forests, air temperature‐ and daylength‐based models provided best predictions for StartGPP, while a chilling‐degree‐day model was best for EndGPP. The root mean square errors (RMSE) between predicted and observed StartGPPand EndGPPwere 11.7 and 11.3 days, respectively. For DBF forests, temperature‐ and daylength‐based models yielded the best results (RMSE 6.3 and 10.5 days).

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 1, 2025
  4. Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 1, 2024
  5. Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 1, 2025
  6. Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 1, 2024
  7. Abstract

    Evergreen needleleaf forests (ENFs) play a sizable role in the global carbon cycle, but the biological and physical controls on ENF carbon cycle feedback loops are poorly understood and difficult to measure. To address this challenge, a growing appreciation for the stress physiology of photosynthesis has inspired emerging techniques designed to detect ENF photosynthetic activity with optical signals. This Overview summarizes how fundamental plant biological and biophysical processes control the fate of photons from leaf to globe, ultimately enabling remote estimates of ENF photosynthesis. We demonstrate this using data across four ENF sites spanning a broad range of environmental conditions and link leaf- and stand-scale observations of photosynthesis (i.e., needle biochemistry and flux towers) with tower- and satellite-based remote sensing. The multidisciplinary nature of this work can serve as a model for the coordination and integration of observations made at multiple scales.

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    We present a timeseries of14CO2for the period 1910–2021 recorded by annual plants collected in the southwestern United States, centered near Flagstaff, Arizona. This timeseries is dominated by five commonly occurring annual plant species in the region, which is considered broadly representative of the southern Colorado Plateau. Most samples (1910–2015) were previously archived herbarium specimens, with additional samples harvested from field experiments in 2015–2021. We used this novel timeseries to develop a smoothed local record with uncertainties for “bomb spike”14C dating of recent terrestrial organic matter. Our results highlight the potential importance of local records, as we document a delayed arrival of the 1963–1964 bomb spike peak, lower values in the 1980s, and elevated values in the last decade in comparison to the most current Northern Hemisphere Zone 2 record. It is impossible to retroactively collect atmospheric samples, but archived annual plants serve as faithful scribes: samples from herbaria around the Earth may be an under-utilized resource to improve understanding of the modern carbon cycle.

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