Eddy-covariance based carbon flux datasets spanning decades are becoming available worldwide due to the effort of associated scientists. Tall tower based monitoring stations are relatively rare, but provide important information about the carbon balance of a larger region surrounding the tower. In this study we report and analyze the 21-year-long dataset provided by the Hungarian tall tower site, Hegyhátsál. The daily and annual cycles of net ecosystem exchange (NEE), gross primary production, and total ecosystem respiration are presented. Footprint analysis reveals that the fluxes mostly originate from the surrounding arable lands; the main source region is located within 1 km around the tower. Long-term, mean NEE was -0.467 gC m-2 day-1, or -170 gC m-2 year-1, revealing that the complex region was a net carbon sink from the atmospheric perspective. Trend analysis indicates that overall, NEE decreased (i.e. became more negative, which means stronger sink) by 12 gC m-2 year-1, a trend that is explained by improved agrotechnology and climate change. Net biome production (NBP) was estimated using crop census data and assumptions about the management practices that affect lateral carbon flux. Long term mean NBP was -30 gC m-2 year-1, which indicates that the soils may be losing carbon, though this loss is within the range of uncertainty of the measurements (~50 gC m-2 year-1). Analysis of county-scale yield statistics suggested that the results can be representative to at least county scale (1651 km2). Interannual variability was analyzed by using environmental variables such as maximum and minimum temperature, precipitation, vapor pressure deficit, soil water content, and satellite based vegetation index aggregated at monthly and longer time intervals. The results indicate that environmental conditions in spring have a major role in the annual carbon balance. Moreover, water availability represented by soil water content rather than by precipitation is a major driver of the interannual variability of NEE. The statistical analysis suggested that the large positive NEE anomaly during 2001–2003 was caused by interplay among the environmental drivers, in particular maximum temperature, vapor pressure deficit and radiation in April, followed by a soil water content deficit during the growing season. This novel statistical analysis provides insight into the drivers of the carbon balance of a mixed agricultural region.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Global and Planetary Change
- Agronomy and Crop Science
- Atmospheric Science