Annual and seasonal variations in gross primary productivity across the agro-climatic regions in India

  • Roma VargheseEmail author
  • M. D. Behera


Gross primary productivity (GPP) is a vital ecosystem variable that is used as a proxy to study the functional behaviour of a terrestrial ecosystem and its ability to regulate atmospheric CO2 by working as a carbon pool. India, having the potential terrestrial ecosystem dynamics to absorb the atmospheric carbon dioxide to some extent, is one of the least-explored regions in terms of carbon monitoring studies. The current study evaluates the applicability of a newly developed, quantum yield–based, remote sensing data–driven diagnostic model called the Southampton Carbon Flux (SCARF). This model was used to estimate the annual and seasonal variability of the terrestrial GPP over the Indian region with a spatial resolution of 1 km during 2008. This modified version of the conventional production efficiency model successfully predicted GPP using meteorological variables (PAR, air temperature and dew point temperature), the fraction of photosynthetically active radiation and quantum yield of C3 and C4 plants as the key input parameters. The annual GPP values were in the range from 0 to 4147.55 g C m−2 year−1, with a mean value of 1507.32 g C m−2 year−1. The maximum and minimum GPP were during the summer monsoon and pre-monsoon, respectively. The seasonal and annual distributions of GPP over the study area obtained using the SCARF model, and the MODIS GPP product (MOD17A2H) were similar. However, MODIS was found to underestimate the GPP in all regions and an overestimation in eastern Himalaya region. The study reveals that environmental scalars, specifically water stress, are the pivotal controlling variables responsible for the variation of GPP in India. The estimates of the GPP in different regions of the study area were made using SCARF, and an eddy covariance technique was similar. The SCARF model can be used to estimate GPP on a global scale. SCARF appears to be a better model in terms of the simplicity of the algorithm, performance and resolution. Thus, it may give higher accuracy in carbon monitoring studies.


Photosynthetically active radiation C3 & C4 photosynthetic pathways Quantum yield Vapour pressure deficit 



This study has been carried out under the framework of “Climate Change Effects on Indian Forest Cover, the project under DST CoE in Climate Change”. The authors are thankful to Prof. Jadunandan Dash of the University of Southampton, UK, for useful discussion during his visit to IIT Kharagpur under the RAJGARIA programme. We would like to thank Dr RM Panda and Mr P Das of SAM LAb, CORAL, IIT Kharagpur, for their useful discussion at various stages of the model run.

Supplementary material

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Oceans, Rivers, Atmosphere and Land Sciences (CORAL)Indian Institute of Technology KharagpurKharagpurIndia

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