Hydroclimatic extremes contribute to asymmetric trends in ecosystem productivity loss

Jun Li, Emanuele Bevacqua, Zhaoli Wang, Stephen Sitch, Vivek Arora, Almut Arneth, Atul K. Jain, Daniel Goll, Hanqin Tian, Jakob Zscheischler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Gross primary production is the basis of global carbon uptake. Gross primary production losses are often related to hydroclimatic extremes such as droughts and heatwaves, but the trend of such losses driven by hydroclimatic extremes remains unclear. Using observationally-constrained and process-based model data from 1982-2016, we show that drought-heat events, drought-cold events, droughts and heatwaves are the dominant drivers of gross primary production loss. Losses associated with these drivers increase in northern midlatitude ecosystem but decrease in pantropical ecosystems, thereby contributing to around 70% of the variability in total gross primary production losses. These asymmetric trends are caused by an increase in the magnitude of gross primary production losses in northern midlatitudes and by a decrease in the frequency of gross primary production loss events in pantropical ecosystems. Our results suggest that the pantropics may have become less vulnerable to hydroclimatic variability over recent decades whereas gross primary production losses and hydroclimatic extremes in northern midlatitudes have become more closely entangled.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number197
JournalCommunications Earth and Environment
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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