Flood Impacts on Net Ecosystem Exchange in the Midwestern and Southern United States in 2019

Nikolay V. Balashov, Lesley E. Ott, Brad Weir, Sourish Basu, Kenneth J. Davis, Natasha L. Miles, Anne M. Thompson, Ryan M. Stauffer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Climate extremes such as droughts, floods, heatwaves, frosts, and windstorms add considerable variability to the global year-to-year increase in atmospheric CO2 through their influence on terrestrial ecosystems. While the impact of droughts on terrestrial ecosystems has received considerable attention, the response to flooding is not well understood. To improve upon this knowledge, the impact of the 2019 anomalously wet conditions over the Midwest and Southern US on CO2 vegetation fluxes is examined in the context of 2017–2018 when such precipitation anomalies were not observed. CO2 is simulated with NASA's Global Earth Observing System (GEOS) combined with the Low-order Flux Inversion, where fluxes of CO2 are estimated using a suite of remote sensing measurements including greenness, night lights, and fire radiative power as well as with a bias correction based on insitu observations. Net ecosystem exchange CO2 tracers are separated into the three regions covering the Midwest, South, and Eastern Texas and adjusted to match CO2 observations from towers located in Iowa, Mississippi, and Texas. Results indicate that for the Midwestern region consisting primarily of corn and soybeans crops, flooding contributes to a 15%–25% reduction of annual net carbon uptake in 2019 in comparison to 2017 and 2018. These results are supported by independent reports of changes in agricultural activity. For the Southern region, comprised mainly of non-crop vegetation, annual net carbon uptake is enhanced in 2019 by about 10%–20% in comparison to 2017 and 2018. These outcomes show the heterogeneity in effects that excess wetness can bring to diverse ecosystems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2022JD037697
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
Issue number18
StatePublished - Sep 27 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)

Cite this