Multi-model assessment of trends, variability and drivers of terrestrial carbon uptake in India

  • Ananya S RaoEmail author
  • Govindasamy Bala
  • N H Ravindranath
  • Rama Nemani


A multi-model-based assessment is made to assess the trends and variability in the land carbon uptake in India during the period 1901–2010. Data from nine models, used in a recent land surface model inter-comparison project called TRENDY, are used for this purpose. Our analysis is focused on the trends and variability in the net primary productivity (NPP), net ecosystem productivity (NEP) and net ecosystem exchange (NEE). The multi-model mean NPP shows a positive trend of 2.03% per decade during this period. The NEP, which is the difference between NPP and heterotrophic respiration, has a mean value of \(-\,0.138\,\pm \,0.086\,\hbox {Pg}\,\hbox {C}\,\hbox {yr}^{-1}\) over this region. According to our analysis of TRENDY multi-models, the inter-annual variation in NPP and NEP is strongly driven by precipitation, but remote drivers such as El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) do not have a strong influence. The water use efficiency (WUE) shows an increase of about 25% over the 110-yr period. Our multi-model-based estimate of the cumulative NEE is \(0.613\,\pm \,0.1\,\hbox {Pg} \,\hbox {C}\) during 1901–2010, indicating that the Indian terrestrial ecosystem was neither a strong source nor a significant sink during this period. However, we caution that our conclusion is based on a limited set of offline land models, and the results presented here have large uncertainties due to model resolution and parameterisation of various land surface processes, the inadequate validation procedures and the use of limited number of models and land use change data sets. Further investigations using more observational data, rigorous validation using extensive observational data sets and a set of comprehensive coupled models that include several feedbacks between land, atmosphere, ocean and the cryosphere are needed to assess the robustness of our results.


TRENDY multi-model regional carbon cycle trends in NPP NEP over India water use efficiency 



We thank the consortium of TRENDY modellers, S Sitch, P Friedlingstein, N Gruber, S D Jones, G Murray-Tortarolo, A Ahlström, S C Doney, H Graven, C Heinze, C Huntingford, S Levis, P E Levy, M Lomas, B Poulter, N Viovy, S Zaehle, N Zeng, A Arneth, G Bonan, L Bopp, J G Canadell, F Chevallier, P Ciais, R Ellis, M Gloor, P Peylin, S L Piao, C Le Quéré, B Smith, Z Zhu and R Myneni, for providing us access to the TRENDY model outputs. We thank G Murray-Tortarolo for providing us links to the TRENDY model data set. We also thank Ms Indu K Murthy for her valuable suggestions and proofreading of the paper. A S Rao acknowledges the scholarship provided by the Indian Institute of Science.

Supplementary material

12040_2019_1120_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (945 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (pdf 945 KB)


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Copyright information

© Indian Academy of Sciences 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ananya S Rao
    • 1
    Email author
  • Govindasamy Bala
    • 1
  • N H Ravindranath
    • 2
  • Rama Nemani
    • 3
  1. 1.Centre for Atmospheric and Oceanic SciencesIndian Institute of ScienceBangaloreIndia
  2. 2.Centre for Sustainable TechnologiesIndian Institute of ScienceBangaloreIndia
  3. 3.NASA Ames Research CenterMountain ViewUSA

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