CO2 flux measurements give access to two critical terms of the carbon budget of terrestrial ecosystems, the gross primary productivity (GPP) and the net ecosystem productivity (NEP). CO2 fluxes measured by micrometeorological methods have spatial and temporal characteristics that make them potentially useful in modelling the global terrestrial carbon budget. The first use is in parameterizing ecosystem physiological processes. We present an example, based on parameterizing the mean light response of GPP. This parameterization can be used in diagnostic, satellite-based GPP models. A global application leads to realistic estimates of global GPP. The second use is in testing the seasonality of fluxes predicted by global models. Our example of this use tests two global GPP models. One is a diagnostic, satellite-based model, and one is a prognostic, process-based model. Despite the limitations of the models, both agree reasonably well with the measurements. The agreements and disagreements are useful in addressing the problems of available input datasets and representation of processes, in global models. Long-term CO2 flux measurements give access to key variables of terrestrial vegetation models and therefore offer exciting perspectives.
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