Next-generation terrestrial carbon monitoring
Carbon Sequestration and Its Role in the Global Carbon Cycle
The first glimpse for humanity of global carbon monitoring was the invaluable record of atmospheric carbon dioxide measurements on the summit of Mauna Loa, initiated in 1958 by Charles David Keeling. Terrestrial carbon monitoring at the global scale only became possible with the advent of earth observation satellites in the early 1980s. Current science now allows an integration of satellite data, ground stations, and field observations integrated by mechanistic carbon cycle models. However this
... observational potential has not been realized by current systems, and international investments and coordination are needed. Future policy decisions on mitigating climate change, monitoring carbon credits, and developing biofuels will put a high demand on accurate monitoring and understanding of the global carbon cycle. "The rise in CO 2 is proceeding so slowly that most of us today will, very likely, live out our lives without perceiving that a problem may exist. But CO 2 is just one index of man's rising activity today. We have rising numbers of college degrees, rising steel production, rising costs of television programming and broadcasting, high rising apartments, rising number of marriages, relatively more rapidly rising numbers of divorces, rising employment, and rising unemployment. At the same time we have diminishing natural resources, diminishing distract-free time, diminishing farm land around cities, diminishing virgin lands in the distant country side...[viewed over thousands of years] I am struck by the obvious transient nature of the CO 2 rise. The rapid changes in all factors I [have just] mentioned, including the rapid rise in world population, are probably also transient; these changes, so familiar to us today, not only were unknown to all but the most recent of our ancestors but will be unknown to all but the most immediate of our descendants." Keeling et al. [1968, pp. 4511-4528] 50 NExT-GENERATION TERRESTRIAL CARBON MONITORING Plate 5. Spatial pattern of MODIS NPP anomalies from 2000 thru 2005 [Zhao and Running, 2008]. Plate 6. Interannual variations in global total MODIS NPP driven by different global meteorology sources, NCEP and GMAO, respectively, in relation to inverted atmospheric CO 2 growth rate. A Multivariate ENSO Index (MEI) is shown in gray scale, where darker shades represent higher MEI values [Zhao et al., 2008]. Plate 7. Global distribution of long-term carbon dioxide, water vapor and energy flux measurement sites, associated with the FLUxNET program and its regional partners. The sites overlay the International Geosphere-Biosphere Program land cover map.