Explaining the seasonal cycle of the globally averaged CO 2 with a carbon-cycle model
The seasonal changes in the globally averaged atmospheric carbon-dioxide concentrations reflect an important aspect of the global carbon cycle: the gas exchange between the atmosphere and terrestrial biosphere. The data on the globally averaged atmospheric carbon-dioxide concentrations, which are reported by Earth System Research Laboratory of the US National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA/ESRL), could be used to demonstrate the adequacy of the global carbon-cycle models. However, it was recently found that the observed amplitude of seasonal variations in the atmospheric carbon-dioxide concentrations is higher than simulated. In this paper, the factors that affect the amplitude of seasonal variations are explored using a carbon-cycle model of reduced complexity. The model runs show that the low amplitude of the simulated seasonal variations may result from underestimated effect of substrate limitation on the seasonal pattern of heterotrophic respiration and from an underestimated magnitude of the annual gross primary production (GPP) in the terrestrial ecosystems located to the north of 25° N.