Peak growing season gross uptake of carbon in North America is largest in the Midwest USA

Timothy W. Hilton, Mary E. Whelan, Andrew Zumkehr, Sarika Kulkarni, Joseph A. Berry, Ian T. Baker, Stephen A. Montzka, Colm Sweeney, Benjamin R. Miller, J. Elliott Campbell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Scopus citations


Gross primary production (GPP) is a first-order uncertainty in climate predictions. Large-scale CO2 observations can provide information about the carbon cycle, but are not directly useful for GPP. Recently carbonyl sulfide (COS or OCS) has been proposed as a potential tracer for regional and global GPP. Here we present the first regional assessment of GPP using COS. We focus on the North American growing season - a global hotspot for COS air-monitoring and GPP uncertainty. Regional variability in simulated vertical COS concentration gradients was driven by variation in GPP rather than other modelled COS sources and sinks. Consequently we are able to show that growing season GPP in the Midwest USA significantly exceeds that of any other region of North America. These results are inconsistent with some ecosystem models, but are supportive of new ecosystem models from CMIP6. This approach provides valuable insight into the accuracy of various ecosystem land models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)450-454
Number of pages5
JournalNature Climate Change
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

Cite this

Hilton, T. W., Whelan, M. E., Zumkehr, A., Kulkarni, S., Berry, J. A., Baker, I. T., Montzka, S. A., Sweeney, C., Miller, B. R., & Elliott Campbell, J. (2017). Peak growing season gross uptake of carbon in North America is largest in the Midwest USA. Nature Climate Change, 7(6), 450-454.