Journal cover Journal topic
Biogeosciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
Biogeosciences, 11, 6553-6571, 2014
© Author(s) 2014. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
01 Dec 2014
Terrestrial cycling of 13CO2 by photosynthesis, respiration, and biomass burning in SiBCASA
I. R. van der Velde1, J. B. Miller2,3, K. Schaefer4, G. R. van der Werf5, M. C. Krol1, and W. Peters1,6 1Meteorology and Air Quality, Wageningen University, Wageningen, the Netherlands
2NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory, Boulder, Colorado, USA
3CIRES, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, USA
4National Snow and Ice Data Center, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, USA
5Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences, VU University, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
6Centre for Isotope Research, University of Groningen, Groningen, the Netherlands
Abstract. We present an enhanced version of the SiBCASA terrestrial biosphere model that is extended with (a) biomass burning emissions from the SiBCASA carbon pools using remotely sensed burned area from the Global Fire Emissions Database (GFED), (b) an isotopic discrimination scheme that calculates 13C signatures of photosynthesis and autotrophic respiration, and (c) a separate set of 13C pools to carry isotope ratios into heterotrophic respiration. We quantify in this study the terrestrial exchange of CO2 and 13CO2 as a function of environmental changes in humidity and biomass burning.

The implementation of biomass burning yields similar fluxes as CASA-GFED both in magnitude and spatial patterns. The implementation of isotope exchange gives a global mean discrimination value of 15.2‰, ranges between 4 and 20‰ depending on the photosynthetic pathway in the plant, and compares favorably (annually and seasonally) with other published values. Similarly, the isotopic disequilibrium is similar to other studies that include a small effect of biomass burning as it shortens the turnover of carbon. In comparison to measurements, a newly modified starch/sugar storage pool propagates the isotopic discrimination anomalies to respiration much better. In addition, the amplitude of the drought response by SiBCASA is lower than suggested by the measured isotope ratios. We show that a slight increase in the stomatal closure for large vapor pressure deficit would amplify the respired isotope ratio variability. Our study highlights the importance of isotope ratio observations of 13C to assess and improve biochemical models like SiBCASA, especially with regard to the allocation and turnover of carbon and the responses to drought.

Citation: van der Velde, I. R., Miller, J. B., Schaefer, K., van der Werf, G. R., Krol, M. C., and Peters, W.: Terrestrial cycling of 13CO2 by photosynthesis, respiration, and biomass burning in SiBCASA, Biogeosciences, 11, 6553-6571,, 2014.
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