The carbon cycle in Mexico: Past, present and future of C stocks and fluxes

G. Murray-Tortarolo, P. Friedlingstein, S. Sitch, V. J. Jaramillo, F. Murguia-Flores, A. Anav, Y. Liu, A. Arneth, A. Arvanitis, A. Harper, A. Jain, E. Kato, C. Koven, B. Poulter, B. D. Stocker, A. Wiltshire, S. Zaehle, N. Zeng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We modeled the carbon (C) cycle in Mexico with a process-based approach. We used different available products (satellite data, field measurements, models and flux towers) to estimate C stocks and fluxes in the country at three different time frames: present (defined as the period 2000-2005), the past century (1901-2000) and the remainder of this century (2010-2100). Our estimate of the gross primary productivity (GPP) for the country was 2137 ± 1023 TgCyr-1 and a total C stock of 34506 ± 7483 TgC, with 20347 ± 4622TgC in vegetation and 14159 ± 3861 in the soil. Contrary to other current estimates for recent decades, our results showed that Mexico was a C sink over the period 1990-2009 (+31 TgCyr-1) and that C accumulation over the last century amounted to 1210 ± 1040TgC. We attributed this sink to the CO2 fertilization effect on GPP, which led to an increase of 3408 ± 1060TgC, while both climate and land use reduced the country C stocks by-458 ± 1001 and-1740 ± 878TgC, respectively. Under different future scenarios, the C sink will likely continue over the 21st century, with decreasing C uptake as the climate forcing becomes more extreme. Our work provides valuable insights on relevant driving processes of the C cycle such as the role of drought in drylands (e.g., grasslands and shrublands) and the impact of climate change on the mean residence time of soil C in tropical ecosystems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)223-238
Number of pages16
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 15 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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