The 2015–2016 El Niño led to historically high temperatures and low precipitation over the tropics, while the growth rate of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) was the largest on record. Here we quantify the response of tropical net biosphere exchange, gross primary production, biomass burning, and respiration to these climate anomalies by assimilating column CO 2 , solar-induced chlorophyll fluorescence, and carbon monoxide observations from multiple satellites. Relative to the 2011 La Niña, the pantropical biosphere released 2.5 ± 0.34 gigatons more carbon into the atmosphere in 2015, consisting of approximately even contributions from three tropical continents but dominated by diverse carbon exchange processes. The heterogeneity of the carbon-exchange processes indicated here challenges previous studies that suggested that a single dominant process determines carbon cycle interannual variability.
Geochemistry, Geophysics, Online Only
Chemistry and Pharmacology
Natural Sciences in General