The Australian terrestrial carbon budget 1CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, P.O. Box 3023, Canberra ACT 2601, Australia
07 Feb 2013
2University of California, Irvine, Dept. of Earth System Science, CA, USA
3CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, PB1, Aspendale, Victoria 3195, Australia
4Center for International Climate and Environmental Research – Oslo (CICERO), P. B. 1129 Blindern, 0318 Oslo, Norway
5CSIRO Land and Water, P.O. Box 1666, Canberra ACT 2600, Australia
Received: 31 July 2012 – Published in Biogeosciences Discuss.: 12 September 2012 Abstract. This paper reports a study of the full carbon (C-CO2) budget of the
Australian continent, focussing on 1990–2011 in the context of estimates
over two centuries. The work is a contribution to the RECCAP (REgional Carbon
Cycle Assessment and Processes) project, as one of numerous regional studies.
In constructing the budget, we estimate the following component carbon
fluxes: net primary production (NPP); net ecosystem production (NEP); fire;
land use change (LUC); riverine export; dust export; harvest (wood, crop and
livestock) and fossil fuel emissions (both territorial and non-territorial).
Major biospheric fluxes were derived using BIOS2 (Haverd et al., 2012), a
fine-spatial-resolution (0.05°) offline modelling environment in which
predictions of CABLE (Wang et al., 2011), a sophisticated land surface model
with carbon cycle, are constrained by multiple observation types.
The mean NEP reveals that climate variability and rising CO2 contributed
12 ± 24 (1σ error on mean) and 68 ± 15 TgC yr−1,
respectively. However these gains were partially offset by fire and LUC
(along with other minor fluxes), which caused net losses of
26 ± 4 TgC yr−1 and 18 ± 7 TgC yr−1, respectively.
The resultant net biome production (NBP) is 36 ± 29 TgC yr−1, in
which the largest contributions to uncertainty are NEP, fire and LUC. This
NBP offset fossil fuel emissions (95 ± 6 TgC yr−1) by
38 ± 30%. The interannual variability (IAV) in the Australian
carbon budget exceeds Australia's total carbon emissions by fossil fuel
combustion and is dominated by IAV in NEP. Territorial fossil fuel emissions
are significantly smaller than the rapidly growing fossil fuel exports: in
2009–2010, Australia exported 2.5 times more carbon in fossil fuels than it
emitted by burning fossil fuels.
Revised: 14 December 2012 – Accepted: 26 December 2012 – Published: 07 February 2013
Citation: Haverd, V., Raupach, M. R., Briggs, P. R., J. G. Canadell., Davis, S. J., Law, R. M., Meyer, C. P., Peters, G. P., Pickett-Heaps, C., and Sherman, B.: The Australian terrestrial carbon budget, Biogeosciences, 10, 851-869, doi:10.5194/bg-10-851-2013, 2013.