Progress and Future Directions in North American Carbon Cycle Science

A. Michalak, D. Huntzinger and G. Shrestha

This short article reports on key themes that emerged from a meeting of researchers involved in understanding the North American carbon cycle. Research is increasingly being conducted across multiple institutions, focusing on multiple greenhouse gases, including both biospheric and anthropogenic components, spanning across scales, and focusing on key vulnerabilities in carbon stocks.


The North American Carbon Program (NACP) convened its fourth biennial “All Investigators” meeting (AIM4, to review progress in understanding the dynamics of the carbon cycle of North America and adjacent oceans and to chart a course for a more integrative and holistic approach to future research. The meeting was structured around the six decadal goals outlined in the new “A U.S. Carbon Cycle Science Plan” (Michalak et al., University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, 2011, available at and focused on (1) diagnosis of the atmospheric carbon cycle, (2) drivers of anthropogenic emissions, (3) vulnerability of carbon stocks to change, (4) ecosystem impacts of change, (5) carbon management, and (6) decision support.

Michalak, A.M., D. Huntzinger, G. Shrestha (2013) "Progress and future directions in North American carbon cycle science", North American Carbon Program 4th All Investigators Meeting, Albuquerque, NM, 4–7 February 2013, Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union, 94:20, 184, DOI: 10.1002/2013EO200004