Significant interaction occurs between ecosystem physiological processes and climate. Studying this interaction is beneficial for understanding dynamics of climate change as well as forecasting future climate change. On the Qinghai-Xizang Plateau, the highest plateau in the world, interaction between ecosystem physiological processes and climate affect mid-levels of the atmosphere, so the study of this interaction has a special significance. We use two models, a carbon cycle model (CCM3) and a land surface model (LSM), to simulate ecosystem carbon cycle characteristics over the Tibetan Plateau and its influence on climate. The CO2 flux varies seasonally with ecosystem physiology processes on the Plateau: fluxes are highest in summer and lowest in winter. The seasonal variation of vegetation net CO2 flux shows that vegetation is an atmospheric carbon sink during most of the year, except in winter. This means that vegetation could weaken the greenhouse effect, which is important in terms of global warming. The land ecosystem is a weak carbon source from October to April, and it is a carbon sink from May to September (especially between June and August). The Tibetan Plateau CO2 fluxes vary spatially. The fluxes are highest over the southwest and southeast boundary areas and the northeast region of the Plateau in summer, and are lowest in the middle and northwest regions in winter. The interaction of CO2 flux and temperature shows that higher temperatures increase vegetation photosynthesis and all respiration. The abrupt increase in land ecosystem physiological processes with increasing temperature indicates that any warming due to increased atmospheric CO2 caused by human activity will be weakened by the land ecosystem over the Tibetan Plateau.
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Vol. 39 • No. 4