Matching Items (3)

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Simulated high-latitude soil thermal dynamics during the past 4 decades

Description

Soil temperature (T[subscript s]) change is a key indicator of the dynamics of permafrost. On seasonal and interannual timescales, the variability of T[subscript s] determines the active-layer depth, which regulates

Soil temperature (T[subscript s]) change is a key indicator of the dynamics of permafrost. On seasonal and interannual timescales, the variability of T[subscript s] determines the active-layer depth, which regulates hydrological soil properties and biogeochemical processes. On the multi-decadal scale, increasing T[subscript s] not only drives permafrost thaw/retreat but can also trigger and accelerate the decomposition of soil organic carbon. The magnitude of permafrost carbon feedbacks is thus closely linked to the rate of change of soil thermal regimes. In this study, we used nine process-based ecosystem models with permafrost processes, all forced by different observation-based climate forcing during the period 1960–2000, to characterize the warming rate of T[subscript s] in permafrost regions. There is a large spread of T[subscript s] trends at 20 cm depth across the models, with trend values ranging from 0.010 ± 0.003 to 0.031 ± 0.005 °C yr[superscript −1]. Most models show smaller increase in T[subscript s] with increasing depth. Air temperature (Tsub>a) and longwave downward radiation (LWDR) are the main drivers of T[subscript s] trends, but their relative contributions differ amongst the models. Different trends of LWDR used in the forcing of models can explain 61 % of their differences in T[subscript s] trends, while trends of T[subscript a] only explain 5 % of the differences in T[subscript s] trends. Uncertain climate forcing contributes a larger uncertainty in T[subscript s] trends (0.021 ± 0.008 °C yr[superscript −1], mean ± standard deviation) than the uncertainty of model structure (0.012 ± 0.001 °C yr[superscript −1]), diagnosed from the range of response between different models, normalized to the same forcing. In addition, the loss rate of near-surface permafrost area, defined as total area where the maximum seasonal active-layer thickness (ALT) is less than 3 m loss rate, is found to be significantly correlated with the magnitude of the trends of T[subscript s] at 1 m depth across the models (R = −0.85, P = 0.003), but not with the initial total near-surface permafrost area (R = −0.30, P = 0.438). The sensitivity of the total boreal near-surface permafrost area to T[subscript s] at 1 m is estimated to be of −2.80 ± 0.67 million km[superscript 2 ]°C[superscript −1]. Finally, by using two long-term LWDR data sets and relationships between trends of LWDR and T[subscript s] across models, we infer an observation-constrained total boreal near-surface permafrost area decrease comprising between 39 ± 14  ×  10[superscript 3] and 75 ± 14  ×  10[superscript 3 ]km[superscript 2 ]yr[superscript −1] from 1960 to 2000. This corresponds to 9–18 % degradation of the current permafrost area.

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Date Created
  • 2016-01-20

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Assessment of model estimates of land-atmosphere CO2 exchange across Northern Eurasia

Description

A warming climate is altering land-atmosphere exchanges of carbon, with a potential for increased vegetation productivity as well as the mobilization of permafrost soil carbon stores. Here we investigate land-atmosphere

A warming climate is altering land-atmosphere exchanges of carbon, with a potential for increased vegetation productivity as well as the mobilization of permafrost soil carbon stores. Here we investigate land-atmosphere carbon dioxide (CO[superscript 2]) cycling through analysis of net ecosystem productivity (NEP) and its component fluxes of gross primary productivity (GPP) and ecosystem respiration (ER) and soil carbon residence time, simulated by a set of land surface models (LSMs) over a region spanning the drainage basin of Northern Eurasia. The retrospective simulations cover the period 1960–2009 at 0.5° resolution, which is a scale common among many global carbon and climate model simulations. Model performance benchmarks were drawn from comparisons against both observed CO[superscript 2] fluxes derived from site-based eddy covariance measurements as well as regional-scale GPP estimates based on satellite remote-sensing data. The site-based comparisons depict a tendency for overestimates in GPP and ER for several of the models, particularly at the two sites to the south. For several models the spatial pattern in GPP explains less than half the variance in the MODIS MOD17 GPP product. Across the models NEP increases by as little as 0.01 to as much as 0.79 g C m[superscript −2] yr[superscript −2], equivalent to 3 to 340 % of the respective model means, over the analysis period. For the multimodel average the increase is 135 % of the mean from the first to last 10 years of record (1960–1969 vs. 2000–2009), with a weakening CO[superscript 2] sink over the latter decades. Vegetation net primary productivity increased by 8 to 30 % from the first to last 10 years, contributing to soil carbon storage gains. The range in regional mean NEP among the group is twice the multimodel mean, indicative of the uncertainty in CO[superscript 2] sink strength. The models simulate that inputs to the soil carbon pool exceeded losses, resulting in a net soil carbon gain amid a decrease in residence time. Our analysis points to improvements in model elements controlling vegetation productivity and soil respiration as being needed for reducing uncertainty in land-atmosphere CO[superscript 2] exchange. These advances will require collection of new field data on vegetation and soil dynamics, the development of benchmarking data sets from measurements and remote-sensing observations, and investments in future model development and intercomparison studies.

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Date Created
  • 2015-07-28

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Current systematic carbon-cycle observations and the need for implementing a policy-relevant carbon observing system

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A globally integrated carbon observation and analysis system is needed to improve the fundamental understanding of the global carbon cycle, to improve our ability to project future changes, and to

A globally integrated carbon observation and analysis system is needed to improve the fundamental understanding of the global carbon cycle, to improve our ability to project future changes, and to verify the effectiveness of policies aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase carbon sequestration. Building an integrated carbon observation system requires transformational advances from the existing sparse, exploratory framework towards a dense, robust, and sustained system in all components: anthropogenic emissions, the atmosphere, the ocean, and the terrestrial biosphere. The paper is addressed to scientists, policymakers, and funding agencies who need to have a global picture of the current state of the (diverse) carbon observations. We identify the current state of carbon observations, and the needs and notional requirements for a global integrated carbon observation system that can be built in the next decade. A key conclusion is the substantial expansion of the ground-based observation networks required to reach the high spatial resolution for CO[subscript 2] and CH[subscript 4] fluxes, and for carbon stocks for addressing policy-relevant objectives, and attributing flux changes to underlying processes in each region. In order to establish flux and stock diagnostics over areas such as the southern oceans, tropical forests, and the Arctic, in situ observations will have to be complemented with remote-sensing measurements. Remote sensing offers the advantage of dense spatial coverage and frequent revisit. A key challenge is to bring remote-sensing measurements to a level of long-term consistency and accuracy so that they can be efficiently combined in models to reduce uncertainties, in synergy with ground-based data. Bringing tight observational constraints on fossil fuel and land use change emissions will be the biggest challenge for deployment of a policy-relevant integrated carbon observation system. This will require in situ and remotely sensed data at much higher resolution and density than currently achieved for natural fluxes, although over a small land area (cities, industrial sites, power plants), as well as the inclusion of fossil fuel CO[subscript 2] proxy measurements such as radiocarbon in CO[subscript 2] and carbon-fuel combustion tracers. Additionally, a policy-relevant carbon monitoring system should also provide mechanisms for reconciling regional top-down (atmosphere-based) and bottom-up (surface-based) flux estimates across the range of spatial and temporal scales relevant to mitigation policies. In addition, uncertainties for each observation data-stream should be assessed. The success of the system will rely on long-term commitments to monitoring, on improved international collaboration to fill gaps in the current observations, on sustained efforts to improve access to the different data streams and make databases interoperable, and on the calibration of each component of the system to agreed-upon international scales.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2013-11-30