The annual net uptake of C[O.sub.2] by a deciduous forest in New England varied from 1.4 to 2.8 metric tons of carbon per hectare between 1991 and 1995. Carbon sequestration was higher than average in 1991 because of increased photosynthesis and in 1995 because of decreased respiration. Interannual shifts in photosynthesis were associated with the timing of leaf expansion and senescence. Shifts in annual respiration were associated with anomalies in soil temperature, deep snow in winter, and drought in summer. If this ecosystem is typical of northern biomes, interannual climate variations on seasonal time scales may modify annual C[O.sub.2] exchange in the Northern Hemisphere by 1 gigaton of carbon or more each year.