Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub
    Author(s): Guido Grosse; Jennifer Harden; Merritt Turetsky; A. David McGuire; Philip Camill; Charles Tarnocai; Steve Frolking; Edward Schuur; Torre Jorgenson; Sergei Marchenko; Vladimir Romanovsky; Kimberly P. Wickland; Nancy French; Mark Waldrop; Laura Bourgeau-Chavez; Robert G. Streigl
    Date: 2011
    Source: Journal of Geophysical Research. 116: G00K06. 23 p. doi:10.1029/2010JG001507
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Pacific Northwest Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (2.53 MB)


    This synthesis addresses the vulnerability of the North American high-latitude soil organic carbon (SOC) pool to climate change. Disturbances caused by climate warming in arctic, subarctic, and boreal environments can result in significant redistribution of C among major reservoirs with potential global impacts. We divide the current northern high-latitude SOC pools into (1) near-surface soils where SOC is affected by seasonal freeze-thaw processes and changes in moisture status, and (2) deeper permafrost and peatland strata down to several tens of meters depth where SOC is usually not affected by short-term changes. We address key factors (permafrost, vegetation, hydrology, paleoenvironmental history) and processes (C input, storage, decomposition, and output) responsible for the formation of the large high-latitude SOC pool in North America and highlight how climate-related disturbances could alter this pool's character and size. Press disturbances of relatively slow but persistent nature such as top-down thawing of permafrost, and changes in hydrology, microbiological communities, pedological processes, and vegetation types, as well as pulse disturbances of relatively rapid and local nature such as wildfires and thermokarst, could substantially impact SOC stocks. Ongoing climate warming in the North American high-latitude region could result in crossing environmental thresholds, thereby accelerating press disturbances and increasingly triggering pulse disturbances and eventually affecting the C source/sink net character of northern high-latitude soils. Finally, we assess postdisturbance feedbacks, models, and predictions for the northern high-latitude SOC pool, and discuss data and research gaps to be addressed by future research.

    Publication Notes

    • Visit PNW's Publication Request Page to request a hard copy of this publication.
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Grosse, Guido; Harden, Jennifer; Turetsky, Merritt; McGuire, A. David; Camill, Philip; Tarnocai, Charles; Frolking, Steve; Schuur, Edward, A.G.; Jorgenson, Torre; Marchenko, Sergei; Romanovsky, Vladimir; Wickland, Kimberly P.; French, Nancy; Waldrop, Mark; Bourgeau-Chavez, Laura; Streigl, Robert G. 2011. Vulnerability of high-latitude soil organic carbon in North America to disturbance. Journal of Geophysical Research. 116: G00K06. 23 p. doi:10.1029/2010JG001507.


    climate, carbon, warming, disturbance

    Related Search

    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page