Terrestrial primary productivity indicators for inclusion in the National Climate Indicators System

  • Matthew O. JonesEmail author
  • Steven W. Running
  • John S. Kimball
  • Nathaniel P. Robinson
  • Brady W. Allred


The National Climate Indicators System (NCIS) aims to provide a suite of systematically updated, easily interpretable, and policy relevant national metrics of key physical, ecological, and societal conditions. The NCIS will distill and communicate complex scientific information to a broad audience as part of sustained National Climate Assessments. The current NCIS has made significant strides in defining its scope, providing an initial suite of indicators, and outlining its future development goals. In line with the scope and aims of the NCIS, we present a set of terrestrial primary productivity indicators that are scientifically defensible, scalable, directly related to climate, nationally important, built on existing agency efforts, and linked to the conceptual framework of the NCIS. The Gross Primary Productivity (GPP) and Net Primary Productivity (NPP) indicators provide seasonal and annual metrics of the growth of all plant material across the contiguous U.S., Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico. The GPP and NPP products used to produce the indicators have become key carbon measurements of environmental health and ecosystem services, including food, fiber, and fuels supporting national economies, human sustainability, and quality of life. We demonstrate how the proposed GPP and NPP indicators are relevant across indicator system sector topics of Forests, Grassland/Rangelands/Pastures, Agriculture, Wildfire, and Seasonal Timing and Phenology, can be used in concert with existing proposed indicators, and will aid to filling current gaps in the NCIS.



Funding for this work was provided by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration; Research Announcement (NRA) NNH12ZDA001N Research Opportunities in Space and Earth Science (ROSES-2012) and NNX14AI69G Providing Continuity for the MODIS Land Gross Primary Production, Net Primary Production and Evapotranspiration Datasets. This work used eddy covariance data acquired and shared by the FLUXNET community, including these networks: AmeriFlux. The ERA-Interim reanalysis data are provided by ECMWF and processed by LSCE. The FLUXNET eddy covariance data processing and harmonization was carried out by the European Fluxes Database Cluster, AmeriFlux Management Project, and Fluxdata project of FLUXNET, with the support of CDIAC and ICOS Ecosystem Thematic Center, and the OzFlux, ChinaFlux and AsiaFlux offices.

Supplementary material

10584_2018_2155_MOESM1_ESM.docx (767 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 766 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthew O. Jones
    • 1
    Email author
  • Steven W. Running
    • 2
  • John S. Kimball
    • 2
  • Nathaniel P. Robinson
    • 1
  • Brady W. Allred
    • 1
  1. 1.Numerical Terradynamic Simulation Group, Forest Management, W.A. Franke College of Forestry and ConservationUniversity of MontanaMissoulaUSA
  2. 2.Numerical Terradynamic Simulation Group, Ecosystem and Conservation Sciences, W.A. Franke College of Forestry and ConservationUniversity of MontanaMissoulaUSA

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