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    Author(s): Christina Schädel; Martin K.-F. Bader; Edward A. G. Schuur; Christina Biasi; Rosvel Bracho; Petr Čapek; Sarah De Baets; Kateřina Diáková; Jessica Ernakovich; Cristian Estop-Aragones; David E. Graham; Iain P. Hartley; Colleen M. Iversen; Evan Kane; Christian Knoblauch; Massimo Lupascu; Pertti J. Martikainen; Susan M. Natali; Richard J. Norby; Jonathan A O'Donnell; Taniya Roy Chowdhury; Hana Šantrůčková; Gaius Shaver; Victoria L Sloan; Claire C. Treat; Merritt R. Turetsky; Mark P. Waldrop; Kimberly P. Wickland
    Date: 2016
    Source: Nature Climate Change
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Northern Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (409.0 KB)

    Description

    Increasing temperatures in northern high latitudes are causing permafrost to thaw1, making large amounts of previously frozen organic matter vulnerable to microbial decomposition2. Permafrost thaw also creates a fragmented landscape of drier and wetter soil conditions3,4 that determine the amount and form (carbon dioxide (CO2), or methane (CH4)) of carbon (C) released to the atmosphere. The rate and form of C release control the magnitude of the permafrost C feedback, so their relative contribution with a warming climate remains unclear5,6. We quantified the eect of increasing temperature and changes from aerobic to anaerobic soil conditions using 25 soil incubation studies from the permafrost zone. Here we show, using two separate meta-analyses, that a 10 °C increase in incubation temperature increased C release by a factor of 2.0 (95% confidence interval (CI), 1.8 to 2.2). Under aerobic incubation conditions, soils released 3.4 (95% CI, 2.2 to 5.2) times more C than under anaerobic conditions. Even when accounting for the higher heat trapping capacity of CH4, soils released 2.3 (95% CI, 1.5 to 3.4) times more C under aerobic conditions. These results imply that permafrost ecosystems thawing under aerobic conditions and releasing CO2 will strengthen the permafrost C feedback more than waterlogged systems releasing CO2 and CH4 for a given amount of C.

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    Citation

    Schädel, Christina; Bader, Martin K.-F.; Schuur, Edward A. G.; Biasi, Christina; Bracho, Rosvel; Čapek, Petr; De Baets, Sarah; Diáková, Kateřina; Ernakovich, Jessica; Estop-Aragones, Cristian; Graham, David E.; Hartley, Iain P.; Iversen, Colleen M.; Kane, Evan; Knoblauch, Christian; Lupascu, Massimo; Martikainen, Pertti J.; Natali, Susan M.; Norby, Richard J.; O'Donnell, Jonathan A.; Chowdhury, Taniya Roy; Šantrůčková, Hana; Shaver, Gaius; Sloan, Victoria L.; Treat, Claire C.; Turetsky, Merritt R.; Waldrop, Mark P.; Wickland, Kimberly P. 2016. Potential carbon emissions dominated by carbon dioxide from thawed permafrost soils. Nature Climate Change. 6(10): 950-953. https://doi.org/10.1038/NCLIMATE3054.

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