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Innovations in Understanding Land Carbon Uptake

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Wednesday, 02 May 2018, 9:30

Wednesday, May 2, 2018.  9:30 AM. Innovations in Understanding Land Carbon Uptake. Mary Whelan, Carnegie Mellon. Sponsored by Department of Environmental Sciences. Candidate for Atmospheric Chemistry position. Refreshments at 9:15 am.


Land carbon uptake is the largest flux in the carbon cycle and estimates of its global impact vary by a factor of two.  One of the problems with observing this flux is the confounding influence of simultaneous and co-located carbon respiration.  Carbonyl sulfide (OCS) observations enable us to observe carbon uptake distinct from respiration.  OCS is an atmospheric compound that is taken up through plant stomata at a known ratio to CO2, and major OCS sources are geographically distinct from terrestrial ecosystems.  OCS can fill in the gaps in terrestrial carbon uptake at important spatial and temporal scale, particularly in places where supporting satellite data are limited because of cloud cover, such as the tropics.  Here I present the theoretical framework for using OCS, explore two examples of the power of OCS for making new land carbon uptake estimates, and discuss how this and other innovative tools can be used to understand changes in the carbon cycle within the Mid-Atlantic states and New England. Developing this independent measure of land carbon uptake allows us to evaluate and improve process-oriented models and better predict future carbon fluxes under climate change.


Location  Room 205, Institute for Food, Nutrition and Health, Room, 61 Dudley Road, Cook Campus