, Volume 47, Issue 3, pp 457–470 | Cite as

Modelling of carbon isotope discrimination by vegetation

  • D. Hidy
  • L. Haszpra
  • Z. Barcza
  • A. Vermeulen
  • Z. Tuba
  • Z. NagyEmail author
Original Papers


The paper presents a simple box model simulating the temporal variation of atmospheric 13CO2 concentration, atmospheric CO2 mixing ratio and 13C content of plant material. The model is driven by observed meteorological and measured biosphere-atmosphere CO2 exchange data. The model was calibrated and validated using measurements from a Hungarian atmospheric monitoring station. The simulated atmospheric stable carbon isotope ratio data agreed well with the measured ratios considering both the magnitude and the seasonal dynamics. Observed deviations between the measured and simulated δ13Cair values were systematically negative in winters, while deviations were random in sign and smaller by an order of magnitude during periods when the vegetation was photosynthetically active. This difference, supported by a significant correlation between the deviation and modeled fossil fuel contributions to CO2 concentration, suggests the increased contribution of 13C-depleted fossil fuel CO2 from heating and the lower boundary layer heights during winter.

Additional key words

atmospheric modelling 13carbon flux data carbon isotope discrimination carbon stable isotopes discrimination 



mixing ratio


transpiration rate


airmixing function


gaseous conductance


gross primary production




latent heat flux


average molar mass of carbon


net ecosystem exchange


net primary production




planetary boundary layer height


gas constant


global radiation


root mean square error




top of the nocturnal boundary layer


total ecosystem respiration


top of the residual layer


vapor pressure deficit


adiabatic temperature lapse rate


isotopic abundance


discrimination against 13CO2


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. Hidy
    • 1
  • L. Haszpra
    • 2
  • Z. Barcza
    • 3
  • A. Vermeulen
    • 4
  • Z. Tuba
    • 5
  • Z. Nagy
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Institute of Botany and EcophysiologySzent István UniversityGödöllőHungary
  2. 2.Hungarian Meteorological ServiceBudapestHungary
  3. 3.Department of MeteorologyEötvös Loránd UniversityBudapestHungary
  4. 4.Department of. Air Quality & Climate ChangeEnergy Research Center of the NetherlandsPettenThe Netherlands
  5. 5.Plant Ecological Research Group at Botanical and Ecophysiological InstituteGödöllő Páter 1.Hungary

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