Daan Blok


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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, Elena 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, Monique M. P. D. Heijmans, Elyn Humphreys, Hiroyasu Iwata, Benjamin 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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Lability classification of soil organic matter in the northern permafrost region
Peter Kuhry, Jiří Bárta, Daan Blok, Bo Elberling, Samuel Faucherre, Gustaf Hugelius, Christian Juncher Jørgensen, Andreas Richter, Hana Šantrůčková, Niels Weiss
Biogeosciences, Volume 17, Issue 2

Abstract. The large stocks of soil organic carbon (SOC) in soils and deposits of the northern permafrost region are sensitive to global warming and permafrost thawing. The potential release of this carbon (C) as greenhouse gases to the atmosphere does not only depend on the total quantity of soil organic matter (SOM) affected by warming and thawing, but it also depends on its lability (i.e., the rate at which it will decay). In this study we develop a simple and robust classification scheme of SOM lability for the main types of soils and deposits in the northern permafrost region. The classification is based on widely available soil geochemical parameters and landscape unit classes, which makes it useful for upscaling to the entire northern permafrost region. We have analyzed the relationship between C content and C-CO2 production rates of soil samples in two different types of laboratory incubation experiments. In one experiment, ca. 240 soil samples from four study areas were incubated using the same protocol (at 5 ∘C, aerobically) over a period of 1 year. Here we present C release rates measured on day 343 of incubation. These long-term results are compared to those obtained from short-term incubations of ca. 1000 samples (at 12 ∘C, aerobically) from an additional three study areas. In these experiments, C-CO2 production rates were measured over the first 4 d of incubation. We have focused our analyses on the relationship between C-CO2 production per gram dry weight per day (µgC-CO2 gdw−1 d−1) and C content (%C of dry weight) in the samples, but we show that relationships are consistent when using C ∕ N ratios or different production units such as µgC per gram soil C per day (µgC-CO2 gC−1 d−1) or per cm3 of soil per day (µgC-CO2 cm−3 d−1). C content of the samples is positively correlated to C-CO2 production rates but explains less than 50 % of the observed variability when the full datasets are considered. A partitioning of the data into landscape units greatly reduces variance and provides consistent results between incubation experiments. These results indicate that relative SOM lability decreases in the order of Late Holocene eolian deposits to alluvial deposits and mineral soils (including peaty wetlands) to Pleistocene yedoma deposits to C-enriched pockets in cryoturbated soils to peat deposits. Thus, three of the most important SOC storage classes in the northern permafrost region (yedoma, cryoturbated soils and peatlands) show low relative SOM lability. Previous research has suggested that SOM in these pools is relatively undecomposed, and the reasons for the observed low rates of decomposition in our experiments need urgent attention if we want to better constrain the magnitude of the thawing permafrost carbon feedback on global warming.


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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 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.