International collaboration research with China: the U.S.-China Carbon Consortium

Members of the U.S.-China Carbon Consortium

SUMMARY: The U.S.-China Carbon Consortium (USCCC) is a collaborative effort between American and Chinese institutions interested in studying the role of managed ecosystems in global carbon and water cycles. The overall goal is to develop a network of study sites so that data and results can be shared and synthesized at broad spatial scales in order to assess the importance of human influences on carbon and water fluxesUSCCC_Carbon_and_water_flux_measurement_sites.jpg in a changing climate. Flux towers (pictured) directly and continuously measure the net ecosystem exchange of carbon dioxide and water, and researchers use an integrated ecosystem approach to explore the underlying mechanisms controlling the fluxes of dominant ecosystems in the United States and China. The central hypothesis is that human disturbances increase variability of carbon sequestration and the water cycle of a landscape through time and space primarily by influencing landscape structure (i.e., composition) that directly affects the underlying mechanisms. Further, researchers hypothesize that human disturbance regimes in the United States and China are significantly different, suggesting that models predicting carbon and water are different. Cross-continent synthesis studies can improve global estimates of ecosystem carbon sequestration capacity.

Pictured: Carbon and water flux measurements are taken at Yaiyuan Urban Wetland Site (left) and a poplar plantation in Daxing District, Beijing, China (right). Click to enlarge.

EFETAC's ROLE: Eastern Threat Center researchers are contributing data and results to improve the global network of carbon and water cycle study sites.

STATUS: Ongoing

PROGRESS: Five special journal issues have highlighted this collaborative work; Eastern Threat Center research hydrologist Ge Sun served as guest editor. A series of data syntheses across all USCCC sites have been published.

Selected publications (a full list of publications can be found on the USCCC web site):

Liu, C., Sun, G., McNulty, S. G., Noormets, A., and Fang, Y.: Environmental controls on seasonal ecosystem evapotranspiration/potential evapotranspiration ratio as determined by the global eddy flux measurements, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 21, 311-322, doi:10.5194/hess-21-311-2017, 2017. (PDF)

Zhang, Y., C. Song, G. Sun, L.E. Band, S.G. McNulty, A. Noormets, Q. Zhang, Z. Zhang 2016. Development of a coupled carbon and water model for estimating global gross primary productivity and evapotranspiration based on eddy flux and remote sensing data. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 223 (2016) 116–131. (PDF)

Fang, Y., G. Sun, P. Caldwell, S.G. McNulty, A. Noormets, J.-C. Domec, J. King, Z. Zhang, X. Zhang, G. Lin, G. Zhou, J. Xiao, anf J. Chen. 2015. Monthly land cover-specific evapotranspiration models derived from global eddy flux measurements and remote sensing data. Ecohydrology. DOI: 10.1002/eco.1629 (PDF)

Xiao, J., G. Sun, J. Chen, H. Chen, S. Chen, G. Dong, S. Gao, H. Guo, J. Guo, S. Han, T. Kato, Y. Li, G. Lin, W. Lu, M. Ma, S. McNulty, C. Shao, X. Wang, X. Xie, X. Zhang, Z. Zhang, B. Zhao, G. Zhou, and J. Zhou. 2013. Carbon fluxes, evapotranspiration, and water use efficiency of terrestrial ecosystems in China. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 182-183:76-90. (PDF)

Li, X., S. Liang, W. Yuan, G. Yu, X. Cheng, Y. Chen, T. Zhao, J. Feng, Z. Ma, M. Ma, S. Liu, J. Chen, C. Shao, S. Li, X. Zhang, Z. Zhang, G. Sun, S. Chen, T. Ohta, A. Varlagin, A. Miyata, K. Takagi, N. Saiqusa, and T. Kato. 2014. Estimation of evapotranspiration over the terrestrial ecosystems in China. Ecohydrology 7(1):139–149. (PDF)

Wei, X., G. Sun, J. Vose, K. Otsuki, Z. Zhang, and K. Smetterm. 2011. Forest ecohydrological processes in a changing environment (Preface). Ecohydrology 4:143-145. (PDF)

Birdsey, R.A., R. Lucas, Y. Pan, G. Sun, E.J. Gustafson, and A.H. Perera, eds. 2010. Managing landscapes at multiple scales for sustainability of ecosystem functions. Forest Ecology and Management 259(7):1213-1346. (PDF)

Sun, G., O.J. Sun, and G. Zhou. 2009. Water and carbon dynamics in selected ecosystems in China (Editorial). Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 149:1789-1790. (PDF)

Sun, G., S. Liu, Z. Zhang, and X. Wei, 2008. Forest hydrology in China: Introduction to the featured collection. Journal of American Water Resources Association. 44(5):1073-1075. (PDF)

Wang, L., J. Liu, G. Sun, X. Wei, S. Liu, and Q. Dong. 2012. Water, climate, and vegetation: ecohydrology in a changing world. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences 16: 4633–4636. (PDF)


Many additional papers and presentations have also been produced as part of this project.


U.S.-China Carbon Consortium brochure

"Estimating Ecosystem Water Use" (related article from CompassLive)

Ge Sun, Eastern Threat Center Research Hydrologist, or 919-549-4070

Updated June 2017

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