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Bultan, Selma ORCID: 0000-0002-9191-9906; Nabel, Julia E. M. S. ORCID: 0000-0002-8122-5206; Hartung, Kerstin ORCID: 0000-0001-9211-6200; Ganzenmüller, Raphael ORCID: 0000-0002-2337-0915; Xu, Liang ORCID: 0000-0001-7400-3827; Saatchi, Sassan; Pongratz, Julia (2022): Tracking 21st century anthropogenic and natural carbon fluxes through model-data integration. Nature Communications, 13: 5516. ISSN 2041-1723

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Monitoring the implementation of emission commitments under the Paris agreement relies on accurate estimates of terrestrial carbon fluxes. Here, we assimilate a 21st century observation-based time series of woody vegetation carbon densities into a bookkeeping model (BKM). This approach allows us to disentangle the observation-based carbon fluxes by terrestrial woody vegetation into anthropogenic and environmental contributions. Estimated emissions (from land-use and land cover changes) between 2000 and 2019 amount to 1.4 PgC yr −1 , reducing the difference to other carbon cycle model estimates by up to 88% compared to previous estimates with the BKM (without the data assimilation). Our estimates suggest that the global woody vegetation carbon sink due to environmental processes (1.5 PgC yr −1 ) is weaker and more susceptible to interannual variations and extreme events than estimated by state-of-the-art process-based carbon cycle models. These findings highlight the need to advance model-data integration to improve estimates of the terrestrial carbon cycle under the Global Stocktake.

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