Journal cover Journal topic
Biogeosciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
Biogeosciences, 13, 223-238, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-13-223-2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
15 Jan 2016
The carbon cycle in Mexico: past, present and future of C stocks and fluxes
G. Murray-Tortarolo1, P. Friedlingstein1, S. Sitch2, V. J. Jaramillo3, F. Murguía-Flores4, A. Anav1, Y. Liu5, A. Arneth6, A. Arvanitis6, A. Harper1, A. Jain7, E. Kato8, C. Koven9, B. Poulter10, B. D. Stocker11, A. Wiltshire12, S. Zaehle13, and N. Zeng14 1College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK
2College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK
3Instituto de Investigaciones en Ecosistemas y Sustentabilidad, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Morelia, Mexico
4School of Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
5Climate Change Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
6Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Karlsruhe, Germany
7Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois, USA
8Global Environment Program, Research & Development Division, The Institute of Applied Energy, Tokyo, Japan
9Earth Sciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, California, USA
10Institute on Ecosystems and the Department of Ecology, Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana, USA
11Department of Life Sciences, Imperial College, London, UK
12Met Office Hadley Centre, Exeter, UK
13Biogeochemical Intergration Department, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Jena, Germany
14Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science and Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, USA
Abstract. We modeled the carbon (C) cycle in Mexico with a process-based approach. We used different available products (satellite data, field measurements, models and flux towers) to estimate C stocks and fluxes in the country at three different time frames: present (defined as the period 2000–2005), the past century (1901–2000) and the remainder of this century (2010–2100). Our estimate of the gross primary productivity (GPP) for the country was 2137 ± 1023 TgC yr−1 and a total C stock of 34 506 ± 7483 TgC, with 20 347 ± 4622 TgC in vegetation and 14 159 ± 3861 in the soil.

Contrary to other current estimates for recent decades, our results showed that Mexico was a C sink over the period 1990–2009 (+31 TgC yr−1) and that C accumulation over the last century amounted to 1210 ± 1040 TgC. We attributed this sink to the CO2 fertilization effect on GPP, which led to an increase of 3408 ± 1060 TgC, while both climate and land use reduced the country C stocks by −458 ± 1001 and −1740 ± 878 TgC, respectively. Under different future scenarios, the C sink will likely continue over the 21st century, with decreasing C uptake as the climate forcing becomes more extreme. Our work provides valuable insights on relevant driving processes of the C cycle such as the role of drought in drylands (e.g., grasslands and shrublands) and the impact of climate change on the mean residence time of soil C in tropical ecosystems.

Citation: Murray-Tortarolo, G., Friedlingstein, P., Sitch, S., Jaramillo, V. J., Murguía-Flores, F., Anav, A., Liu, Y., Arneth, A., Arvanitis, A., Harper, A., Jain, A., Kato, E., Koven, C., Poulter, B., Stocker, B. D., Wiltshire, A., Zaehle, S., and Zeng, N.: The carbon cycle in Mexico: past, present and future of C stocks and fluxes, Biogeosciences, 13, 223-238, https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-13-223-2016, 2016.

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We modelled the carbon (C) cycle in Mexico for three different time periods: past (20th century), present (2000-2005) and future (2006-2100). We used different available products to estimate C stocks and fluxes in the country. Contrary to other current estimates, our results showed that Mexico was a C sink and this is likely to continue in the next century (unless the most extreme climate-change scenarios are reached).
We modelled the carbon (C) cycle in Mexico for three different time periods: past (20th...
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