Temperature Sensitivity of Canopy Photosynthesis Phenology in Northern Ecosystems

  • Shuli NiuEmail author
  • Yuling Fu
  • Lianhong Gu
  • Yiqi Luo


Northern Hemisphere terrestrial ecosystems have been recognized as areas with large carbon uptake capacity and sinks and are sensitive to temperature change. However, the temperature sensitivity of ecosystem carbon uptake phenology in different biomes of northern ecosystems has not been well explored. In this study, based on our previous effort in characterizing canopy photosynthesis phenology indices, we analyzed how these phenology indices responded to temperature changes by using spatial temperature variability in the temperate and boreal ecosystems in the north hemisphere. Eddy covariance flux measurements of canopy photosynthesis were used to examine the temperature sensitivity of canopy photosynthesis phenology in different biomes and seasons (spring and autumn). Over all the 68 sites, the upturning day, peak recovery day, peak recession day, and senescence day of canopy photosynthesis were all sensitive to mean annual air temperature. Sites with higher mean annual air temperature had earlier carbon uptake and peak recovery day, but later ending of carbon uptake and peak recession day. As a consequence, effective growing season length was linearly increased with temperature for all the biomes. Spring phenology indices were more sensitive to temperature change than fall phenology. Besides phenology, peak canopy photosynthesis capacity was also linearly increased with temperature, and contributed even more to annual carbon assimilation changes than growing season length. These findings suggest a predominant temperature controls on annual carbon assimilation in northern ecosystems by changing both canopy photosynthesis phenology and physiology. The temperature sensitivity of canopy photosynthesis phenology and physiology indices revealed in this study are helpful to develop better models to predict impacts of global climate change on vegetation activities.


Gross Primary Productivity Ecosystem Respiration Carbon Uptake Grow Season Length Peak Senescence 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This work was financially supported by the Terrestrial Carbon Program at the Office of Science, US Department of Energy, Grants DE-FG02-006ER64317 and DE-FG02-01ER63198 and US National Science Foundation (NSF) grant DEB 0444518, DEB 0743778, DEB 0840964, DBI 0850290, and EPS 0919466 to YL. Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is managed by UT-Battelle, LLC, for the U.S. Department of Energy under contract DE-AC05-00OR22725.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Geographical Sciences and Natural Resources ResearchChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.Department of Microbiology and Plant BiologyUniversity of OklahomaNormanUSA
  3. 3.Environmental Sciences DivisionOak Ridge National LaboratoryOak RidgeUSA

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