A. V. Rocha


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Evaluating photosynthetic activity across Arctic-Boreal land cover types using solar-induced fluorescence
Rui Cheng, Troy S. Magney, Erica L Orcutt, Zoe Pierrat, Philipp Köhler, David R. Bowling, M. Syndonia Bret‐Harte, Eugénie Euskirchen, Martin Jung, Hideki Kobayashi, A. V. Rocha, Oliver Sonnentag, J. Stutz, Sophia Walther, Donatella Zona, Christian Frankenberg
Environmental Research Letters, Volume 17, Issue 11

Abstract Photosynthesis of terrestrial ecosystems in the Arctic-Boreal region is a critical part of the global carbon cycle. Solar-induced chlorophyll Fluorescence (SIF), a promising proxy for photosynthesis with physiological insight, has been used to track gross primary production (GPP) at regional scales. Recent studies have constructed empirical relationships between SIF and eddy covariance-derived GPP as a first step to predicting global GPP. However, high latitudes pose two specific challenges: (a) Unique plant species and land cover types in the Arctic–Boreal region are not included in the generalized SIF-GPP relationship from lower latitudes, and (b) the complex terrain and sub-pixel land cover further complicate the interpretation of the SIF-GPP relationship. In this study, we focused on the Arctic-Boreal vulnerability experiment (ABoVE) domain and evaluated the empirical relationships between SIF for high latitudes from the TROPOspheric Monitoring Instrument (TROPOMI) and a state-of-the-art machine learning GPP product (FluxCom). For the first time, we report the regression slope, linear correlation coefficient, and the goodness of the fit of SIF-GPP relationships for Arctic-Boreal land cover types with extensive spatial coverage. We found several potential issues specific to the Arctic-Boreal region that should be considered: (a) unrealistically high FluxCom GPP due to the presence of snow and water at the subpixel scale; (b) changing biomass distribution and SIF-GPP relationship along elevational gradients, and (c) limited perspective and misrepresentation of heterogeneous land cover across spatial resolutions. Taken together, our results will help improve the estimation of GPP using SIF in terrestrial biosphere models and cope with model-data uncertainties in the Arctic-Boreal region.


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Range shifts in a foundation sedge potentially induce large Arctic ecosystem carbon losses and gains
Salvatore R. Curasi, Ned Fetcher, Rebecca E. Hewitt, Peter M. Lafleur, M. M. Loranty, Michelle C. Mack, Jeremy L. May, Isla H. Myers‐Smith, Susan M. Natali, Steven F. Oberbauer, Thomas C. Parker, Oliver Sonnentag, S. A. Vargas Zesati, Stan D. Wullschleger, A. V. Rocha
Environmental Research Letters, Volume 17, Issue 4

Abstract Foundation species have disproportionately large impacts on ecosystem structure and function. As a result, future changes to their distribution may be important determinants of ecosystem carbon (C) cycling in a warmer world. We assessed the role of a foundation tussock sedge ( Eriophorum vaginatum ) as a climatically vulnerable C stock using field data, a machine learning ecological niche model, and an ensemble of terrestrial biosphere models (TBMs). Field data indicated that tussock density has decreased by ~0.97 tussocks per m2 over the past ~38 years on Alaska’s North Slope from ~1981 to 2019. This declining trend is concerning because tussocks are a large Arctic C stock, which enhances soil organic layer C stocks by 6.9% on average and represents 745 Tg C across our study area. By 2100, we project that changes in tussock density may decrease the tussock C stock by 41% in regions where tussocks are currently abundant (e.g. -0.8 tussocks per m2 and -85 Tg C on the North Slope) and may increase the tussock C stock by 46% in regions where tussocks are currently scarce (e.g. +0.9 tussocks per m2 and +81 Tg C on Victoria Island). These climate-induced changes to the tussock C stock were comparable to, but sometimes opposite in sign, to vegetation C stock changes predicted by an ensemble of TBMs. Our results illustrate the important role of tussocks as a foundation species in determining future Arctic C stocks and highlights the need for better representation of this species in TBMs.

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Vegetation type is an important predictor of the arctic summer land surface energy budget
Jacqueline Oehri, Gabriela Schaepman‐Strub, Jin‐Soo Kim, Raleigh Grysko, Heather Kropp, Inge Grünberg, Vitalii Zemlianskii, Oliver Sonnentag, Eugénie Euskirchen, Merin Reji Chacko, Giovanni Muscari, Peter D. Blanken, Joshua Dean, Alcide di Sarra, R. J. Harding, Ireneusz Sobota, Lars Kutzbach, Elena Plekhanova, Aku Riihelä, Julia Boike, Nathaniel B. Miller, Jason Beringer, Efrén López‐Blanco, Paul C. Stoy, Ryan C. Sullivan, Marek Kejna, Frans‐Jan W. Parmentier, John A. Gamon, Mikhail Mastepanov, Christian Wille, Marcin Jackowicz-Korczyński, Dirk Nikolaus Karger, William L. Quinton, Jaakko Putkonen, Dirk van As, Torben R. Christensen, Maria Z. Hakuba, Robert S. Stone, Stefan Metzger, Baptiste Vandecrux, G. V. Frost, Martin Wild, Birger Ulf Hansen, Daniela Meloni, Florent Dominé, Mariska te Beest, Torsten Sachs, Aram Kalhori, A. V. Rocha, Scott Williamson, S. Crepinsek, A. L. Atchley, Richard Essery, Benjamin R. K. Runkle, David Holl, Laura D. Riihimaki, Hiroyasu Iwata, Edward A. G. Schuur, Christopher Cox, A. A. Grachev, J. P. McFadden, Robert S. Fausto, Mathias Goeckede, Masahito Ueyama, Norbert Pirk, Gijs de Boer, M. Syndonia Bret‐Harte, Matti Leppäranta, Konrad Steffen, Thomas Friborg, Atsumu Ohmura, C. Edgar, Johan Olofsson, Scott D. Chambers
Nature Communications, Volume 13, Issue 1

Abstract Despite the importance of high-latitude surface energy budgets (SEBs) for land-climate interactions in the rapidly changing Arctic, uncertainties in their prediction persist. Here, we harmonize SEB observations across a network of vegetated and glaciated sites at circumpolar scale (1994–2021). Our variance-partitioning analysis identifies vegetation type as an important predictor for SEB-components during Arctic summer (June-August), compared to other SEB-drivers including climate, latitude and permafrost characteristics. Differences among vegetation types can be of similar magnitude as between vegetation and glacier surfaces and are especially high for summer sensible and latent heat fluxes. The timing of SEB-flux summer-regimes (when daily mean values exceed 0 Wm −2 ) relative to snow-free and -onset dates varies substantially depending on vegetation type, implying vegetation controls on snow-cover and SEB-flux seasonality. Our results indicate complex shifts in surface energy fluxes with land-cover transitions and a lengthening summer season, and highlight the potential for improving future Earth system models via a refined representation of Arctic vegetation types.


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Soil respiration strongly offsets carbon uptake in Alaska and Northwest Canada
Jennifer D. Watts, Susan M. Natali, C. Minions, D. A. Risk, Kyle A. Arndt, Donatella Zona, Eugénie Euskirchen, A. V. Rocha, Oliver Sonnentag, Manuel Helbig, Aram Kalhori, W. C. Oechel, Hiroki Ikawa, Masahito Ueyama, Rikie Suzuki, Hideki Kobayashi, Gerardo Celis, Edward A. G. Schuur, Elyn Humphreys, Yongwon Kim, Bang-Yong Lee, Scott J. Goetz, Nima Madani, Luke Schiferl, R. Commane, J. S. Kimball, Zhihua Liu, M. S. Torn, Stefano Potter, Jonathan Wang, M. Torre Jorgenson, Jingfeng Xiao, Xing Li, C. Edgar
Environmental Research Letters, Volume 16, Issue 8

Abstract Soil respiration (i.e. from soils and roots) provides one of the largest global fluxes of carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) to the atmosphere and is likely to increase with warming, yet the magnitude of soil respiration from rapidly thawing Arctic-boreal regions is not well understood. To address this knowledge gap, we first compiled a new CO 2 flux database for permafrost-affected tundra and boreal ecosystems in Alaska and Northwest Canada. We then used the CO 2 database, multi-sensor satellite imagery, and random forest models to assess the regional magnitude of soil respiration. The flux database includes a new Soil Respiration Station network of chamber-based fluxes, and fluxes from eddy covariance towers. Our site-level data, spanning September 2016 to August 2017, revealed that the largest soil respiration emissions occurred during the summer (June–August) and that summer fluxes were higher in boreal sites (1.87 ± 0.67 g CO 2 –C m −2 d −1 ) relative to tundra (0.94 ± 0.4 g CO 2 –C m −2 d −1 ). We also observed considerable emissions (boreal: 0.24 ± 0.2 g CO 2 –C m −2 d −1 ; tundra: 0.18 ± 0.16 g CO 2 –C m −2 d −1 ) from soils during the winter (November–March) despite frozen surface conditions. Our model estimates indicated an annual region-wide loss from soil respiration of 591 ± 120 Tg CO 2 –C during the 2016–2017 period. Summer months contributed to 58% of the regional soil respiration, winter months contributed to 15%, and the shoulder months contributed to 27%. In total, soil respiration offset 54% of annual gross primary productivity (GPP) across the study domain. We also found that in tundra environments, transitional tundra/boreal ecotones, and in landscapes recently affected by fire, soil respiration often exceeded GPP, resulting in a net annual source of CO 2 to the atmosphere. As this region continues to warm, soil respiration may increasingly offset GPP, further amplifying global climate change.


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Shallow soils are warmer under trees and tall shrubs across Arctic and Boreal ecosystems
Heather Kropp, M. M. Loranty, Susan M. Natali, Alexander Kholodov, A. V. Rocha, Isla H. Myers‐Smith, Benjamin W Abbot, Jakob Abermann, E. Blanc‐Betes, Daan Blok, Gesche Blume‐Werry, Julia Boike, A. L. Breen, Sean M. P. Cahoon, Casper T. Christiansen, Thomas A. Douglas, Howard E. Epstein, G. V. Frost, Mathias Goeckede, Toke T. Høye, Steven D. Mamet, J. A. O’Donnell, David Olefeldt, Gareth K. Phoenix, V. G. Salmon, A. Britta K. Sannel, Sharon L. Smith, Oliver Sonnentag, Lydia Smith Vaughn, Mathew Williams, Bo Elberling, Laura Gough, Jan Hjort, Peter M. Lafleur, Eugénie Euskirchen, M.M.P.D. Heijmans, Elyn Humphreys, Hiroyasu Iwata, Benjamin M. Jones, M. Torre Jorgenson, Inge Grünberg, Yongwon Kim, James A. Laundre, Marguerite Mauritz, Anders Michelsen, Gabriela Schaepman‐Strub, Ken D. Tape, Masahito Ueyama, Bang-Yong Lee, Kirsty Langley, Magnus Lund
Environmental Research Letters, Volume 16, Issue 1

Abstract Soils are warming as air temperatures rise across the Arctic and Boreal region concurrent with the expansion of tall-statured shrubs and trees in the tundra. Changes in vegetation structure and function are expected to alter soil thermal regimes, thereby modifying climate feedbacks related to permafrost thaw and carbon cycling. However, current understanding of vegetation impacts on soil temperature is limited to local or regional scales and lacks the generality necessary to predict soil warming and permafrost stability on a pan-Arctic scale. Here we synthesize shallow soil and air temperature observations with broad spatial and temporal coverage collected across 106 sites representing nine different vegetation types in the permafrost region. We showed ecosystems with tall-statured shrubs and trees (>40 cm) have warmer shallow soils than those with short-statured tundra vegetation when normalized to a constant air temperature. In tree and tall shrub vegetation types, cooler temperatures in the warm season do not lead to cooler mean annual soil temperature indicating that ground thermal regimes in the cold-season rather than the warm-season are most critical for predicting soil warming in ecosystems underlain by permafrost. Our results suggest that the expansion of tall shrubs and trees into tundra regions can amplify shallow soil warming, and could increase the potential for increased seasonal thaw depth and increase soil carbon cycling rates and lead to increased carbon dioxide loss and further permafrost thaw.


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Solar‐induced chlorophyll fluorescence exhibits a universal relationship with gross primary productivity across a wide variety of biomes
Jingfeng Xiao, Xing Li, Bin He, M. Altaf Arain, Jason Beringer, Ankur R. Desai, Carmen Emmel, David Y. Hollinger, Alisa Krasnova, Ivan Mammarella, Steffen M. Noe, Penélope Serrano-Ortiz, Camilo Rey‐Sánchez, A. V. Rocha, Andrej Varlagin
Global Change Biology, Volume 25, Issue 4

In our recent study in Global Change Biology (Li et al., ), we examined the relationship between solar-induced chlorophyll fluorescence (SIF) measured from the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) and gross primary productivity (GPP) derived from eddy covariance flux towers across the globe, and we discovered that there is a nearly universal relationship between SIF and GPP across a wide variety of biomes. This finding reveals the tremendous potential of SIF for accurately mapping terrestrial photosynthesis globally.


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Solar‐induced chlorophyll fluorescence is strongly correlated with terrestrial photosynthesis for a wide variety of biomes: First global analysis based on OCO‐2 and flux tower observations
Xing Li, Jingfeng Xiao, Bin He, M. Altaf Arain, Jason Beringer, Ankur R. Desai, Carmen Emmel, David Y. Hollinger, Alisa Krasnova, Ivan Mammarella, Steffen M. Noe, Penélope Serrano-Ortiz, Camilo Rey‐Sánchez, A. V. Rocha, Andrej Varlagin
Global Change Biology, Volume 24, Issue 9

Solar-induced chlorophyll fluorescence (SIF) has been increasingly used as a proxy for terrestrial gross primary productivity (GPP). Previous work mainly evaluated the relationship between satellite-observed SIF and gridded GPP products both based on coarse spatial resolutions. Finer resolution SIF (1.3 km × 2.25 km) measured from the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) provides the first opportunity to examine the SIF–GPP relationship at the ecosystem scale using flux tower GPP data. However, it remains unclear how strong the relationship is for each biome and whether a robust, universal relationship exists across a variety of biomes. Here we conducted the first global analysis of the relationship between OCO-2 SIF and tower GPP for a total of 64 flux sites across the globe encompassing eight major biomes. OCO-2 SIF showed strong correlations with tower GPP at both midday and daily timescales, with the strongest relationship observed for daily SIF at the 757 nm (R2 = 0.72, p < 0.0001). Strong linear relationships between SIF and GPP were consistently found for all biomes (R2 = 0.57–0.79, p < 0.0001) except evergreen broadleaf forests (R2 = 0.16, p < 0.05) at the daily timescale. A higher slope was found for C4 grasslands and croplands than for C3 ecosystems. The generally consistent slope of the relationship among biomes suggests a nearly universal rather than biome-specific SIF–GPP relationship, and this finding is an important distinction and simplification compared to previous results. SIF was mainly driven by absorbed photosynthetically active radiation and was also influenced by environmental stresses (temperature and water stresses) that determine photosynthetic light use efficiency. OCO-2 SIF generally had a better performance for predicting GPP than satellite-derived vegetation indices and a light use efficiency model. The universal SIF–GPP relationship can potentially lead to more accurate GPP estimates regionally or globally. Our findings revealed the remarkable ability of finer resolution SIF observations from OCO-2 and other new or future missions (e.g., TROPOMI, FLEX) for estimating terrestrial photosynthesis across a wide variety of biomes and identified their potential and limitations for ecosystem functioning and carbon cycle studies.

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Reviews and syntheses: Changing ecosystem influences on soil thermal regimes in northern high-latitude permafrost regions
M. M. Loranty, Benjamin W. Abbott, Daan Blok, Thomas A. Douglas, Howard E. Epstein, Bruce C. Forbes, Benjamin M. Jones, Alexander Kholodov, Heather Kropp, Avni Malhotra, Steven D. Mamet, Isla H. Myers‐Smith, Susan M. Natali, J. A. O’Donnell, Gareth K. Phoenix, A. V. Rocha, Oliver Sonnentag, Ken D. Tape, Donald A. Walker
Biogeosciences, Volume 15, Issue 17

Abstract. Soils in Arctic and boreal ecosystems store twice as much carbon as the atmosphere, a portion of which may be released as high-latitude soils warm. Some of the uncertainty in the timing and magnitude of the permafrost–climate feedback stems from complex interactions between ecosystem properties and soil thermal dynamics. Terrestrial ecosystems fundamentally regulate the response of permafrost to climate change by influencing surface energy partitioning and the thermal properties of soil itself. Here we review how Arctic and boreal ecosystem processes influence thermal dynamics in permafrost soil and how these linkages may evolve in response to climate change. While many of the ecosystem characteristics and processes affecting soil thermal dynamics have been examined individually (e.g., vegetation, soil moisture, and soil structure), interactions among these processes are less understood. Changes in ecosystem type and vegetation characteristics will alter spatial patterns of interactions between climate and permafrost. In addition to shrub expansion, other vegetation responses to changes in climate and rapidly changing disturbance regimes will affect ecosystem surface energy partitioning in ways that are important for permafrost. Lastly, changes in vegetation and ecosystem distribution will lead to regional and global biophysical and biogeochemical climate feedbacks that may compound or offset local impacts on permafrost soils. Consequently, accurate prediction of the permafrost carbon climate feedback will require detailed understanding of changes in terrestrial ecosystem distribution and function, which depend on the net effects of multiple feedback processes operating across scales in space and time.