Biophysical effects on the interannual variation in carbon dioxide exchange of an alpine meadow on the Tibetan Plateau
Abstract. Eddy covariance measurements from 2012 to 2015 were used to investigate the interannual variation in carbon dioxide exchange and its control over an alpine meadow on the south-east margin of the Tibetan Plateau. The annual net ecosystem exchange (NEE) in the 4 years from 2012 to 2015 was −114.2, −158.5, −159.9 and −212.6 g C m−2 yr−1, and generally decreased with the mean annual air temperature (MAT). An exception occurred in 2014, which had the highest MAT. This was attributed to higher ecosystem respiration (RE) and similar gross primary production (GPP) in 2014 because the GPP increased with the MAT, but became saturated due to the limit in photosynthetic capacity. In the spring (March to May) of 2012, low air temperature (Ta) and drought events delayed grass germination and reduced GPP. In the late wet season (September to October) of 2012 and 2013, the low Ta in September and its negative effects on vegetation growth caused earlier grass senescence and significantly lower GPP. This indicates that the seasonal pattern of Ta has a substantial effect on the annual total GPP, which is consistent with results obtained using the homogeneity-of-slopes (HOS) model. The model results showed that the climatic seasonal variation explained 48.6 % of the GPP variability, while the percentages explained by climatic interannual variation and the ecosystem functional change were 9.7 and 10.6 %, respectively.