Temperature extremes of 2022 reduced carbon uptake by forests in Europe

Auke M van der Woude, Wouter Peters*, Emilie Joetzjer, Sébastien Lafont, Gerbrand Koren, Philippe Ciais, Michel Ramonet, Yidi Xu, Ana Bastos, Santiago Botía, Stephen Sitch, Remco de Kok, Tobias Kneuer, Dagmar Kubistin, Adrien Jacotot, Benjamin Loubet, Pedro-Henrique Herig-Coimbra, Denis Loustau, Ingrid T Luijkx

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

The year 2022 saw record breaking temperatures in Europe during both summer and fall. Similar to the recent 2018 drought, close to 30% (3.0 million km 2) of the European continent was under severe summer drought. In 2022, the drought was located in central and southeastern Europe, contrasting the Northern-centered 2018 drought. We show, using multiple sets of observations, a reduction of net biospheric carbon uptake in summer (56-62 TgC) over the drought area. Specific sites in France even showed a widespread summertime carbon release by forests, additional to wildfires. Partial compensation (32%) for the decreased carbon uptake due to drought was offered by a warm autumn with prolonged biospheric carbon uptake. The severity of this second drought event in 5 years suggests drought-induced reduced carbon uptake to no longer be exceptional, and important to factor into Europe's developing plans for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions that rely on carbon uptake by forests.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6218
Number of pages11
JournalNature Communications
Volume14
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 6-Oct-2023

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