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Synthesis of the land carbon fluxes of the Amazon region between 2010 and 2020

by Thais Rosan, S Sitch, Michael O'sullivan, Luis Aragao, Anthony P Walker
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Communications Earth & Environment
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The Amazon is the largest continuous tropical forest in the world and plays a key role in the global carbon cycle. Human-induced disturbances and climate change have impacted the Amazon carbon balance. Here we conduct a comprehensive synthesis of existing state-of-the-art estimates of the contemporary land carbon fluxes in the Amazon using a set of bottom-up methods (i.e., dynamic vegetation models and bookkeeping models) and a top-down inversion (atmospheric inversion model) over the Brazilian Amazon and the whole Biogeographical Amazon domain. Over the whole biogeographical Amazon region bottom-up methodologies suggest a small average carbon sink over 2010-2020, in contrast to a small carbon source simulated by top-down inversion (2010-2018). However, these estimates are not significantly different from one another when accounting for their large individual uncertainties, highlighting remaining knowledge gaps, and the urgent need to reduce such uncertainties. Nevertheless, both methodologies agreed that the Brazilian Amazon has been a net carbon source during recent climate extremes and that the south-eastern Amazon was a net land carbon source over the whole study period (2010-2020). Overall, our results point to increasing human-induced disturbances (deforestation and forest degradation by wildfires) and reduction in the old-growth forest sink during drought.