The enhanced vegetation productivity driven by increased concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) [i.e., the CO2 fertilization effect (CFE)] sustains an important negative feedback on climate warming, but the temporal dynamics of CFE remain unclear. Using multiple long-term satellite- and ground-based datasets, we showed that global CFE has declined across most terrestrial regions of the globe from 1982 to 2015, correlating well with changing nutrient concentrations and availability of soil water. Current carbon cycle models also demonstrate a declining CFE trend, albeit one substantially weaker than that from the global observations. This declining trend in the forcing of terrestrial carbon sinks by increasing amounts of atmospheric CO2 implies a weakening negative feedback on the climatic system and increased societal dependence on future strategies to mitigate climate warming.
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