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Journal Articles Biogeosciences Year : 2012

The European land and inland water CO2, CO, CH4 and N2O balance between 2001 and 2005

1 LSCE - Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement [Gif-sur-Yvette]
2 UB - Université de Bordeaux
3 Environmental Sciences Division [Oak Ridge]
4 The Department of Thematic Studies - Water and Environmental Studies
5 IES - JRC Institute for Environment and Sustainability
6 SATINV - Modélisation INVerse pour les mesures atmosphériques et SATellitaires
8 Institute for Agricultural Climate Research
9 Institute of Social Ecology Vienna (SEC)
10 Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia
11 Institute for Biogeochemistry and Marine Chemistry
12 MPI-BGC - Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry
13 MERMAID - Modelling the Earth Response to Multiple Anthropogenic Interactions and Dynamics
14 Climate and Global Change Research [Helsinki]
15 APL-UW - Applied Physics Laboratory [Seattle]
16 Researchgroup Plant and Vegetation Ecology
17 Department for innovation in biological, agro-food and forest systems (DIBAF)
18 MAQ - Meteorology and Air Quality Department [Wageningen]
19 MOSAIC - Modélisation des Surfaces et Interfaces Continentales
20 School of Forestry and Environmental Studies
21 Biogeochemical Systems Department [Jena]
22 Department of Biology and Finnish Environment Institute
23 Department Biogeochemical Processes [Jena]
24 CLIM - Modélisation du climat
25 Sustainability and Climate Change Program
26 Key Laboratory for Earth Surface Processes of the Ministry of Education
27 GFZ - German Research Centre for Geosciences - Helmholtz-Centre Potsdam
Gwenaël Abril
Rene Dechow
  • Function : Author
  • PersonId : 966350
Karlheinz Erb
  • Function : Author
  • PersonId : 966351
Emilio Mayorga
  • Function : Author
  • PersonId : 966354
Sönke Zaehle
  • Function : Author
  • PersonId : 966364


Globally, terrestrial ecosystems have absorbed about 30% of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions over the period 2000–2007 and inter-hemispheric gradients indicate that a significant fraction of terrestrial carbon sequestration must be north of the Equator. We present a compilation of the CO$_2$, CO, CH$_4$ and N$_2$O balances of Europe following a dual constraint approach in which a land-based balance derived mainly from ecosystem carbon inventories and a land-based balance derived from flux measurements are compared to the atmospheric data-based balance derived from inversions constrained by measurements of atmospheric GHG (greenhouse gas) concentrations. Good agreement between the GHG balances based on fluxes (1294 ± 545 Tg C in CO$_2$-eq yr$^{−1}$), inventories (1299 ± 200 Tg C in CO$_2$-eq yr$^{−1}$) and inversions (1210 ± 405 Tg C in CO$_2$-eq yr$^{−1}$) increases our confidence that the processes underlying the European GHG budget are well understood and reasonably sampled. However, the uncertainty remains large and largely lacks formal estimates. Given that European net land to atmosphere exchanges are determined by a few dominant fluxes, the uncertainty of these key components needs to be formally estimated before efforts could be made to reduce the overall uncertainty. The net land-to-atmosphere flux is a net source for CO$_2$, CO, CH$_4$ and N$_2$O, because the anthropogenic emissions by far exceed the biogenic sink strength. The dual-constraint approach confirmed that the European biogenic sink removes as much as 205 ± 72 Tg C yr$^{−1}$ from fossil fuel burning from the atmosphere. However, This C is being sequestered in both terrestrial and inland aquatic ecosystems. If the C-cost for ecosystem management is taken into account, the net uptake of ecosystems is estimated to decrease by 45% but still indicates substantial C-sequestration. However, when the balance is extended from CO$_2$ towards the main GHGs, C-uptake by terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems is offset by emissions of non-CO$_2$ GHGs. As such, the European ecosystems are unlikely to contribute to mitigating the effects of climate change.


Global Changes
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Dates and versions

hal-01150807 , version 1 (11-05-2015)
hal-01150807 , version 2 (13-05-2015)





Sebastiaan Luyssaert, Gwenaël Abril, Robert J. Andres, David Bastviken, Valentin Bellassen, et al.. The European land and inland water CO2, CO, CH4 and N2O balance between 2001 and 2005. Biogeosciences, 2012, 9, pp.3357-3380. ⟨10.5194/bg-9-3357-2012⟩. ⟨hal-01150807v2⟩
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