Negative extreme events in gross primary productivity and their drivers in China during the past three decades

Weizhe Chen, Dan Zhu, Chunju Huang, Philippe Ciais, Yitong Yao, Pierre Friedlingstein, Stephen Sitch, Vanessa Haverd, Atul K. Jain, Etsushi Kato, Markus Kautz, Sebastian Lienert, Danica Lombardozzi, Benjamin Poulter, Hanqin Tian, Nicolas Vuichard, Anthony P. Walker, Ning Zeng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Climate extremes have remarkable impacts on ecosystems and are expected to increase with future global warming. However, only few studies have focused on the ecological extreme events and their drivers in China. In this study, we carried out an analysis of negative extreme events in gross primary productivity (GPP)in China and the sub-regions during 1982–2015, using monthly GPP simulated by 12 process-based models (TRENDYv6)and an observation-based model (Yao-GPP). Extremes were defined as the negative 5th percentile of GPP anomalies, which were further merged into individual extreme events using a three-dimensional contiguous algorithm. Spatio-temporal patterns of negative GPP anomalies were analyzed by taking the 1000 largest extreme events into consideration. Results showed that the effects of extreme events decreased annual GPP by 2.8% (i.e. 208 TgC year−1)in TRENDY models and 2.3% (i.e. 151 TgC year−1)in Yao-GPP. Hotspots of extreme GPP deficits were mainly observed in North China (−53 gC m−2 year−1)in TRENDY models and Northeast China (−42 gC m−2 year−1)in Yao-GPP. For China as a whole, attribution analyses suggested that extreme low precipitation was associated with 40%–50% of extreme negative GPP events. Most events in northern and western China could be explained by meteorological droughts (i.e. low precipitation)while GPP extreme events in southern China were more associated with temperature extremes, in particular with cold spells. GPP was revealed to be much more sensitive to heat/drought than to cold/wet extreme events. Combined with projected changes in climate extremes in China, GPP negative anomalies caused by drought events in northern China and by temperature extremes in southern China might be more prominent in the future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)47-58
Number of pages12
JournalAgricultural and Forest Meteorology
StatePublished - Sep 15 2019


  • China
  • Climate change
  • Extreme events
  • Gross primary production
  • Power law distribution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Atmospheric Science


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