• China’s emissions glimpsing the peak


    China recently announced its intention to peak its carbon-dioxide emissions. How soon could the emissions peak and at what absolute value? Libo Wu explores.
  • The greening of the Southern Hemisphere


    The 2010-2011 La Niña weather event brought lush vegetation to vast semi-arid regions in the Southern Hemisphere and altered the delicate balance of the global carbon sinks. Owen Gaffney explores how La Niña might change in the future and what that might imply.
photo: NASA-Visible Earth

Background

Global-change research requires long-term coordinated efforts from an international research community.
IGBP networks:
  • share expertise on experimental technologies
  • help transfer this expertise to developing countries
  • interact with modeling communities to ensure the latest understanding is used
  • conduct periodic syntheses on focused topics.

This approach leads to faster scientific progress and more comprehensive understanding of global processes and their regional variations.

An example of this approach is FLUXNET, a global network of over 240 flux towers across all major ecosystems continuously measuring key fluxes between the land and the atmosphere. Supported by IGBP's project iLEAPS and others, FLUXNET is making major contributions to the understanding of processes that control the land-atmosphere exchanges of water, energy and carbon dioxide.

FLUXNET has helped:

  • reveal the effect of changing growing season length on net carbon dioxide exchange
  • quantify variations in light-use efficiency (and hence gross primary production) with cloudiness
  • test remote sensing algorithms used in seasonal forcing of models for computing carbon exchange.
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