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USGS - science for a changing world

Euskirchen, E. S.

Abstract (from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2014JG002683/abstract): Changes in vegetation and soil properties following permafrost degradation and thermokarst development in peatlands may cause changes in net carbon storage. To better understand these dynamics, we established three sites in Alaska that vary in permafrost regime, including a black spruce peat plateau forest with stable permafrost, an internal collapse scar bog formed as a result of thermokarst, and a rich fen without permafrost. Measurements include year-round eddy covariance estimates of carbon dioxide (CO2 ), water, and energy fluxes, associated environmental variables, and methane (CH4 ) fluxes at the collapse scar bog. The ecosystems...
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Northern Hemisphere permafrost affected land areas contain about twice as much carbon as the global atmosphere. This vast carbon pool is vulnerable to accelerated losses through mobilization and decomposition under projected global warming. Satellite data records spanning the past 3 decades indicate widespread reductions (~0.8- 1.3 days decade-1) in the mean annual snow cover extent and frozen-season duration across the pan-Arctic domain, coincident with regional climate warming trends. How the soil carbon pool responds to these changes will have a large impact on regional and global climate. Here, we developed a coupled terrestrial carbon and hydrology model framework with a detailed 1-D soil heat transfer representation...
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