From Miami to Madison: Investigating the relationship between climate and terrestrial net primary production

Authors

  • David P. M. Zaks,

    1. Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment (SAGE), Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, USA
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  • Navin Ramankutty,

    1. Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment (SAGE), Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, USA
    2. Department of Geography, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
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  • Carol C. Barford,

    1. Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment (SAGE), Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, USA
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  • Jonathan A. Foley

    1. Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment (SAGE), Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, USA
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Abstract

[1] The 1973 “Miami Model” was the first global-scale empirical model of terrestrial net primary productivity (NPP), and its simplicity and relative accuracy has led to its continued use. However, improved techniques to measure NPP in the field and the expanded spatial and temporal range of observations have prompted this study, which reexamines the relationship of climatic variables to NPP. We developed several statistical models with paired climatic variables in order to investigate their relationships to terrestrial NPP. A reference data set of 3023 NPP field observations was compiled for calibration and parameter optimization. In addition to annual mean temperature and precipitation, as in the Miami Model, we chose more ecologically relevant climatic variables including growing degree-days, a soil moisture stress index, and photosynthetically active radiation (PAR). Calculated annual global NPP ranged from 36 to 74 Pg-C yr−1, comparable with previous studies. Comparisons of geographic patterns of NPP were made using biome and latitudinal averages.

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