• CO2 land flux;
  • interannual variability;
  • inverse modeling

[1] A Time-dependent inverse (TDI) model is used to estimate carbon dioxide (CO2) fluxes for 64 regions of the globe from atmospheric measurements in the period January 1994 to December 2001. The global land anomalies agree fairly well with earlier results. Large variability in CO2 fluxes are recorded from the land regions, which are typically controlled by the available water for photosynthesis, and air temperature and soil moisture dependent heterotrophic respiration. For example, the anomalous CO2 emissions during the 1997/1998 El Niño period are estimated to be about 1.27 ± 0.22, 2.06 ± 0.37, and 1.17 ± 0.20 Pg-C yr−1 from tropical regions in Asia, South America, and Africa, respectively. The CO2 flux anomalies for boreal Asia region are estimated to be 0.83 ± 0.19 and 0.45 ± 0.14 Pg-C yr−1 of CO2 during 1996 and 1998, respectively. Comparison of inversion results with biogeochemical model simulations provide strong evidence that biomass burning (natural and anthropogenic) constitutes the major component in land-atmosphere carbon flux anomalies. The net biosphere-atmosphere carbon exchanges based on the biogeochemical model used in this study are generally lower than those estimated from TDI model results, by about 1.0 Pg-C yr−1 for the periods and regions of intense fire. The correlation and principal component analyses suggest that changes in meteorology (i.e., rainfall and air temperature) associated with the El Niño Southern Oscillation are the most dominant controlling factors of CO2 flux anomaly in the tropics, followed by the Indian Ocean Dipole Oscillation. Our results indicate that the Arctic and North Atlantic Oscillations are closely linked with CO2 flux variability in the temperate and high-latitude regions.