Warming and changing fire regimes in the northern (≥45°N) latitudes have consequences for land-atmosphere carbon feedbacks to climate change. A terrestrial carbon flux model integrating satellite Normalized Difference Vegetation Index and burned area records with global meteorology data was used to quantify daily vegetation gross primary productivity (GPP) and net ecosystem CO2 exchange (NEE) over a pan-boreal/Arctic domain and their sensitivity to climate variability, drought, and fire from 2000 to 2010. Model validation against regional tower carbon flux measurements showed overall good agreement for GPP (47 sites: R = 0.83, root mean square difference (RMSD) = 1.93 g C m−2 d−1) and consistency for NEE (22 sites: R = 0.56, RMSD = 1.46 g C m−2 d−1). The model simulations also tracked post-fire NEE recovery indicated from three boreal tower fire chronosequence networks but with larger model uncertainty during early succession. Annual GPP was significantly (p < 0.005) larger in warmer years than in colder years, except for Eurasian boreal forest, which showed greater drought sensitivity due to characteristic warmer, drier growing seasons relative to other areas. The NEE response to climate variability and fire was mitigated by compensating changes in GPP and respiration, though NEE carbon losses were generally observed in areas with severe drought or burning. Drought and temperature variations also had larger regional impacts on GPP and NEE than fire during the study period, though fire disturbances were heterogeneous, with larger impacts on carbon fluxes for some areas and years. These results are being used to inform development of similar operational carbon products for the NASA Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) mission.
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