Skip to Main Content
Potential carbon emissions dominated by carbon dioxide from thawed permafrost soilsAuthor(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
Source: Nature Climate Change
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Northern Research Station
Download Publication (409.0 KB)
DescriptionIncreasing 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.
- Check the Northern Research Station web site to request a printed copy of this publication.
- Our on-line publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat.
- During the capture process some typographical errors may occur.
- Please contact Sharon Hobrla, email@example.com if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.
- 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.
CitationSchädel, 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.
- Molecular investigations into a globally important carbon pool: permafrost-protected carbon in Alaskan soils
- Long-term CO2 production following permafrost thawing
- Response of anaerobic carbon cycling to water table manipulation in an Alaskan rich fen
XML: View XML