Edward A. G. Schuur


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The ABCflux database: Arctic–boreal CO<sub>2</sub> flux observations and ancillary information aggregated to monthly time steps across terrestrial ecosystems
Anna-Maria Virkkala, Susan M. Natali, Brendan M. Rogers, Jennifer D. Watts, K. E. Savage, Sara June Connon, Marguerite Mauritz, Edward A. G. Schuur, D. L. Peter, C. Minions, Julia Nojeim, R. Commane, Craig A. Emmerton, Mathias Goeckede, Manuel Helbig, David Holl, Hiroyasu Iwata, Hideki Kobayashi, Pasi Kolari, Efrén López‐Blanco, Maija E. Marushchak, Mikhail Mastepanov, Lutz Merbold, Frans‐Jan W. Parmentier, Matthias Peichl, Torsten Sachs, Oliver Sonnentag, Masahito Ueyama, Carolina Voigt, Mika Aurela, Julia Boike, Gerardo Celis, Namyi Chae, Torben R. Christensen, M. Syndonia Bret‐Harte, Sigrid Dengel, A. J. Dolman, C. Edgar, Bo Elberling, Eugénie Euskirchen, Achim Grelle, Juha Hatakka, Elyn Humphreys, Järvi Järveoja, Ayumi Kotani, Lars Kutzbach, Tuomas Laurila, Annalea Lohila, Ivan Mammarella, Yukiko Matsuura, Gesa Meyer, Mats Nilsson, Steven F. Oberbauer, Sang Jong Park, Roman E. Petrov, А. С. Прокушкин, Christopher Schulze, Vincent L. St. Louis, Eeva‐Stiina Tuittila, Juha‐Pekka Tuovinen, William L. Quinton, Andrej Varlagin, Donatella Zona, Viacheslav I. Zyryanov
Earth System Science Data, Volume 14, Issue 1

Abstract. Past efforts to synthesize and quantify the magnitude and change in carbon dioxide (CO2) fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems across the rapidly warming Arctic–boreal zone (ABZ) have provided valuable information but were limited in their geographical and temporal coverage. Furthermore, these efforts have been based on data aggregated over varying time periods, often with only minimal site ancillary data, thus limiting their potential to be used in large-scale carbon budget assessments. To bridge these gaps, we developed a standardized monthly database of Arctic–boreal CO2 fluxes (ABCflux) that aggregates in situ measurements of terrestrial net ecosystem CO2 exchange and its derived partitioned component fluxes: gross primary productivity and ecosystem respiration. The data span from 1989 to 2020 with over 70 supporting variables that describe key site conditions (e.g., vegetation and disturbance type), micrometeorological and environmental measurements (e.g., air and soil temperatures), and flux measurement techniques. Here, we describe these variables, the spatial and temporal distribution of observations, the main strengths and limitations of the database, and the potential research opportunities it enables. In total, ABCflux includes 244 sites and 6309 monthly observations; 136 sites and 2217 monthly observations represent tundra, and 108 sites and 4092 observations represent the boreal biome. The database includes fluxes estimated with chamber (19 % of the monthly observations), snow diffusion (3 %) and eddy covariance (78 %) techniques. The largest number of observations were collected during the climatological summer (June–August; 32 %), and fewer observations were available for autumn (September–October; 25 %), winter (December–February; 18 %), and spring (March–May; 25 %). ABCflux can be used in a wide array of empirical, remote sensing and modeling studies to improve understanding of the regional and temporal variability in CO2 fluxes and to better estimate the terrestrial ABZ CO2 budget. ABCflux is openly and freely available online (Virkkala et al., 2021b, https://doi.org/10.3334/ORNLDAAC/1934).

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Permafrost Landscape History Shapes Fluvial Chemistry, Ecosystem Carbon Balance, and Potential Trajectories of Future Change
Scott Zolkos, Suzanne E. Tank, Steven V. Kokelj, Robert G. Striegl, Sarah Shakil, Carolina Voigt, Oliver Sonnentag, William L. Quinton, Edward A. G. Schuur, Donatella Zona, Peter M. Lafleur, Ryan C. Sullivan, Masahito Ueyama, David P. Billesbach, David Cook, Elyn Humphreys, Philip Marsh
Global Biogeochemical Cycles, Volume 36, Issue 9

Abstract Intensifying permafrost thaw alters carbon cycling by mobilizing large amounts of terrestrial substrate into aquatic ecosystems. Yet, few studies have measured aquatic carbon fluxes and constrained drivers of ecosystem carbon balance across heterogeneous Arctic landscapes. Here, we characterized hydrochemical and landscape controls on fluvial carbon cycling, quantified fluvial carbon fluxes, and estimated fluvial contributions to ecosystem carbon balance across 33 watersheds in four ecoregions in the continuous permafrost zone of the western Canadian Arctic: unglaciated uplands, ice‐rich moraine, and organic‐rich lowlands and till plains. Major ions, stable isotopes, and carbon speciation and fluxes revealed patterns in carbon cycling across ecoregions defined by terrain relief and accumulation of organics. In previously unglaciated mountainous watersheds, bicarbonate dominated carbon export (70% of total) due to chemical weathering of bedrock. In lowland watersheds, where soil organic carbon stores were largest, lateral transport of dissolved organic carbon (50%) and efflux of biotic CO 2 (25%) dominated. In watersheds affected by thaw‐induced mass wasting, erosion of ice‐rich tills enhanced chemical weathering and increased particulate carbon fluxes by two orders of magnitude. From an ecosystem carbon balance perspective, fluvial carbon export in watersheds not affected by thaw‐induced wasting was, on average, equivalent to 6%–16% of estimated net ecosystem exchange (NEE). In watersheds affected by thaw‐induced wasting, fluvial carbon export approached 60% of NEE. Because future intensification of thermokarst activity will amplify fluvial carbon export, determining the fate of carbon across diverse northern landscapes is a priority for constraining trajectories of permafrost region ecosystem carbon balance.

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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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FLUXNET-CH<sub>4</sub>: a global, multi-ecosystem dataset and analysis of methane seasonality from freshwater wetlands
Kyle Delwiche, Sara Knox, Avni Malhotra, Etienne Fluet‐Chouinard, Gavin McNicol, Sarah Féron, Zutao Ouyang, Dario Papale, Carlo Trotta, E. Canfora, You Wei Cheah, Danielle Christianson, Ma. Carmelita R. Alberto, Pavel Alekseychik, Mika Aurela, Dennis Baldocchi, Sheel Bansal, David P. Billesbach, Gil Bohrer, Rosvel Bracho, Nina Buchmann, David I. Campbell, Gerardo Celis, Jiquan Chen, Weinan Chen, Housen Chu, Higo J. Dalmagro, Sigrid Dengel, Ankur R. Desai, Matteo Detto, A. J. Dolman, Elke Eichelmann, Eugénie Euskirchen, D. Famulari, Kathrin Fuchs, Mathias Goeckede, Sébastien Gogo, Mangaliso J. Gondwe, Jordan P. Goodrich, Pia Gottschalk, Scott L. Graham, Martin Heimann, Manuel Helbig, Carole Helfter, Kyle S. Hemes, Takashi Hirano, David Y. Hollinger, Lukas Hörtnagl, Hiroyasu Iwata, Adrien Jacotot, Gerald Jurasinski, Minseok Kang, Kuno Kasak, John S. King, Janina Klatt, Franziska Koebsch, Ken W. Krauss, Derrick Y.F. Lai, Annalea Lohila, Ivan Mammarella, Luca Belelli Marchesini, Giovanni Manca, Jaclyn Hatala Matthes, Trofim C. Maximov, Lutz Merbold, Bhaskar Mitra, Timothy H. Morin, Eiko Nemitz, Mats Nilsson, Shuli Niu, Walter C. Oechel, Patricia Y. Oikawa, Kaori Ono, Matthias Peichl, Olli Peltola, M. L. Reba, Andrew D. Richardson, William J. Riley, Benjamin R. K. Runkle, Youngryel Ryu, Torsten Sachs, Ayaka Sakabe, Camilo Rey‐Sánchez, Edward A. G. Schuur, Karina V. R. Schäfer, Oliver Sonnentag, Jed P. Sparks, Ellen Stuart-Haëntjens, Cove Sturtevant, Ryan C. Sullivan, Daphne Szutu, Jonathan E. Thom, M. S. Torn, Eeva‐Stiina Tuittila, J. Turner, Masahito Ueyama, Alex Valach, Rodrigo Vargas, Andrej Varlagin, Alma Vázquez‐Lule, Joseph Verfaillie, Timo Vesala, George L. Vourlitis, Eric J. Ward, Christian Wille, Georg Wohlfahrt, Guan Xhuan Wong, Zhen Zhang, Donatella Zona, Lisamarie Windham‐Myers, Benjamin Poulter, Robert B. Jackson
Earth System Science Data, Volume 13, Issue 7

Abstract. Methane (CH4) emissions from natural landscapes constitute roughly half of global CH4 contributions to the atmosphere, yet large uncertainties remain in the absolute magnitude and the seasonality of emission quantities and drivers. Eddy covariance (EC) measurements of CH4 flux are ideal for constraining ecosystem-scale CH4 emissions due to quasi-continuous and high-temporal-resolution CH4 flux measurements, coincident carbon dioxide, water, and energy flux measurements, lack of ecosystem disturbance, and increased availability of datasets over the last decade. Here, we (1) describe the newly published dataset, FLUXNET-CH4 Version 1.0, the first open-source global dataset of CH4 EC measurements (available at https://fluxnet.org/data/fluxnet-ch4-community-product/, last access: 7 April 2021). FLUXNET-CH4 includes half-hourly and daily gap-filled and non-gap-filled aggregated CH4 fluxes and meteorological data from 79 sites globally: 42 freshwater wetlands, 6 brackish and saline wetlands, 7 formerly drained ecosystems, 7 rice paddy sites, 2 lakes, and 15 uplands. Then, we (2) evaluate FLUXNET-CH4 representativeness for freshwater wetland coverage globally because the majority of sites in FLUXNET-CH4 Version 1.0 are freshwater wetlands which are a substantial source of total atmospheric CH4 emissions; and (3) we provide the first global estimates of the seasonal variability and seasonality predictors of freshwater wetland CH4 fluxes. Our representativeness analysis suggests that the freshwater wetland sites in the dataset cover global wetland bioclimatic attributes (encompassing energy, moisture, and vegetation-related parameters) in arctic, boreal, and temperate regions but only sparsely cover humid tropical regions. Seasonality metrics of wetland CH4 emissions vary considerably across latitudinal bands. In freshwater wetlands (except those between 20∘ S to 20∘ N) the spring onset of elevated CH4 emissions starts 3 d earlier, and the CH4 emission season lasts 4 d longer, for each degree Celsius increase in mean annual air temperature. On average, the spring onset of increasing CH4 emissions lags behind soil warming by 1 month, with very few sites experiencing increased CH4 emissions prior to the onset of soil warming. In contrast, roughly half of these sites experience the spring onset of rising CH4 emissions prior to the spring increase in gross primary productivity (GPP). The timing of peak summer CH4 emissions does not correlate with the timing for either peak summer temperature or peak GPP. Our results provide seasonality parameters for CH4 modeling and highlight seasonality metrics that cannot be predicted by temperature or GPP (i.e., seasonality of CH4 peak). FLUXNET-CH4 is a powerful new resource for diagnosing and understanding the role of terrestrial ecosystems and climate drivers in the global CH4 cycle, and future additions of sites in tropical ecosystems and site years of data collection will provide added value to this database. All seasonality parameters are available at https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.4672601 (Delwiche et al., 2021). Additionally, raw FLUXNET-CH4 data used to extract seasonality parameters can be downloaded from https://fluxnet.org/data/fluxnet-ch4-community-product/ (last access: 7 April 2021), and a complete list of the 79 individual site data DOIs is provided in Table 2 of this paper.

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Gap-filling eddy covariance methane fluxes: Comparison of machine learning model predictions and uncertainties at FLUXNET-CH4 wetlands
Jeremy Irvin, Sharon Zhou, Gavin McNicol, Fred Lu, Vincent Liu, Etienne Fluet‐Chouinard, Zutao Ouyang, Sara Knox, Antje Lucas-Moffat, Carlo Trotta, Dario Papale, Domenico Vitale, Ivan Mammarella, Pavel Alekseychik, Mika Aurela, Anand Avati, Dennis Baldocchi, Sheel Bansal, Gil Bohrer, David I. Campbell, Jiquan Chen, Housen Chu, Higo J. Dalmagro, Kyle Delwiche, Ankur R. Desai, Eugénie Euskirchen, Sarah Féron, Mathias Goeckede, Martin Heimann, Manuel Helbig, Carole Helfter, Kyle S. Hemes, Takashi Hirano, Hiroyasu Iwata, Gerald Jurasinski, Aram Kalhori, Andrew Kondrich, Derrick Y.F. Lai, Annalea Lohila, Avni Malhotra, Lutz Merbold, Bhaskar Mitra, Andrew Y. Ng, Mats Nilsson, Asko Noormets, Matthias Peichl, Camilo Rey‐Sánchez, Andrew D. Richardson, Benjamin R. K. Runkle, Karina V. R. Schäfer, Oliver Sonnentag, Ellen Stuart-Haëntjens, Cove Sturtevant, Masahito Ueyama, Alex Valach, Rodrigo Vargas, George L. Vourlitis, Eric J. Ward, Guan Xhuan Wong, Donatella Zona, Ma. Carmelita R. Alberto, David P. Billesbach, Gerardo Celis, A. J. Dolman, Thomas Friborg, Kathrin Fuchs, Sébastien Gogo, Mangaliso J. Gondwe, Jordan P. Goodrich, Pia Gottschalk, Lukas Hörtnagl, Adrien Jacotot, Franziska Koebsch, Kuno Kasak, Regine Maier, Timothy H. Morin, Eiko Nemitz, Walter C. Oechel, Patricia Y. Oikawa, Kaori Ono, Torsten Sachs, Ayaka Sakabe, Edward A. G. Schuur, Robert Shortt, Ryan C. Sullivan, Daphne Szutu, Eeva‐Stiina Tuittila, Andrej Varlagin, Joeseph G. Verfaillie, Christian Wille, Lisamarie Windham‐Myers, Benjamin Poulter, Robert B. Jackson
Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, Volume 308-309

• We evaluate methane flux gap-filling methods across 17 boreal-to-tropical wetlands • New methods for generating realistic artificial gaps and uncertainties are proposed • Decision tree algorithms perform slightly better than neural networks on average • Soil temperature and generic seasonality are the most important predictors • Open-source code is released for gap-filling steps and uncertainty evaluation Time series of wetland methane fluxes measured by eddy covariance require gap-filling to estimate daily, seasonal, and annual emissions. Gap-filling methane fluxes is challenging because of high variability and complex responses to multiple drivers. To date, there is no widely established gap-filling standard for wetland methane fluxes, with regards both to the best model algorithms and predictors. This study synthesizes results of different gap-filling methods systematically applied at 17 wetland sites spanning boreal to tropical regions and including all major wetland classes and two rice paddies. Procedures are proposed for: 1) creating realistic artificial gap scenarios, 2) training and evaluating gap-filling models without overstating performance, and 3) predicting half-hourly methane fluxes and annual emissions with realistic uncertainty estimates. Performance is compared between a conventional method (marginal distribution sampling) and four machine learning algorithms. The conventional method achieved similar median performance as the machine learning models but was worse than the best machine learning models and relatively insensitive to predictor choices. Of the machine learning models, decision tree algorithms performed the best in cross-validation experiments, even with a baseline predictor set, and artificial neural networks showed comparable performance when using all predictors. Soil temperature was frequently the most important predictor whilst water table depth was important at sites with substantial water table fluctuations, highlighting the value of data on wetland soil conditions. Raw gap-filling uncertainties from the machine learning models were underestimated and we propose a method to calibrate uncertainties to observations. The python code for model development, evaluation, and uncertainty estimation is publicly available. This study outlines a modular and robust machine learning workflow and makes recommendations for, and evaluates an improved baseline of, methane gap-filling models that can be implemented in multi-site syntheses or standardized products from regional and global flux networks (e.g., FLUXNET).

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Statistical upscaling of ecosystem CO <sub>2</sub> fluxes across the terrestrial tundra and boreal domain: Regional patterns and uncertainties
Anna‐Maria Virkkala, Juha Aalto, Brendan M. Rogers, Torbern Tagesson, Claire C. Treat, Susan M. Natali, Jennifer D. Watts, Stefano Potter, Aleksi Lehtonen, Marguerite Mauritz, Edward A. G. Schuur, John Kochendorfer, Donatella Zona, Walter C. Oechel, Hideki Kobayashi, Elyn Humphreys, Mathias Goeckede, Hiroyasu Iwata, Peter M. Lafleur, Eugénie Euskirchen, Stef Bokhorst, Maija E. Marushchak, Pertti J. Martikainen, Bo Elberling, Carolina Voigt, Christina Biasi, Oliver Sonnentag, Frans‐Jan W. Parmentier, Masahito Ueyama, Gerardo Celis, Vincent L. St. Louis, Craig A. Emmerton, Matthias Peichl, Jinshu Chi, Järvi Järveoja, Mats Nilsson, Steven F. Oberbauer, M. S. Torn, Sang Jong Park, A. J. Dolman, Ivan Mammarella, Namyi Chae, Rafael Poyatos, Efrén López‐Blanco, Torben R. Christensen, Mi Hye Kwon, Torsten Sachs, David Holl, Miska Luoto
Global Change Biology, Volume 27, Issue 17

The regional variability in tundra and boreal carbon dioxide (CO2) fluxes can be high, complicating efforts to quantify sink-source patterns across the entire region. Statistical models are increasingly used to predict (i.e., upscale) CO2 fluxes across large spatial domains, but the reliability of different modeling techniques, each with different specifications and assumptions, has not been assessed in detail. Here, we compile eddy covariance and chamber measurements of annual and growing season CO2 fluxes of gross primary productivity (GPP), ecosystem respiration (ER), and net ecosystem exchange (NEE) during 1990–2015 from 148 terrestrial high-latitude (i.e., tundra and boreal) sites to analyze the spatial patterns and drivers of CO2 fluxes and test the accuracy and uncertainty of different statistical models. CO2 fluxes were upscaled at relatively high spatial resolution (1 km2) across the high-latitude region using five commonly used statistical models and their ensemble, that is, the median of all five models, using climatic, vegetation, and soil predictors. We found the performance of machine learning and ensemble predictions to outperform traditional regression methods. We also found the predictive performance of NEE-focused models to be low, relative to models predicting GPP and ER. Our data compilation and ensemble predictions showed that CO2 sink strength was larger in the boreal biome (observed and predicted average annual NEE −46 and −29 g C m−2 yr−1, respectively) compared to tundra (average annual NEE +10 and −2 g C m−2 yr−1). This pattern was associated with large spatial variability, reflecting local heterogeneity in soil organic carbon stocks, climate, and vegetation productivity. The terrestrial ecosystem CO2 budget, estimated using the annual NEE ensemble prediction, suggests the high-latitude region was on average an annual CO2 sink during 1990–2015, although uncertainty remains high.

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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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Fuel availability not fire weather controls boreal wildfire severity and carbon emissions
Xanthe J. Walker, Brendan M. Rogers, Sander Veraverbeke, Jill F. Johnstone, Jennifer L. Baltzer, Kirsten Barrett, Laura Bourgeau‐Chavez, Nicola J. Day, William J. de Groot, Catherine M. Dieleman, Scott J. Goetz, Elizabeth Hoy, Liza K. Jenkins, Evan S. Kane, Marc‐André Parisien, Stefano Potter, Edward A. G. Schuur, M. R. Turetsky, Ellen Whitman, Michelle C. Mack
Nature Climate Change, Volume 10, Issue 12

Carbon (C) emissions from wildfires are a key terrestrial–atmosphere interaction that influences global atmospheric composition and climate. Positive feedbacks between climate warming and boreal wildfires are predicted based on top-down controls of fire weather and climate, but C emissions from boreal fires may also depend on bottom-up controls of fuel availability related to edaphic controls and overstory tree composition. Here we synthesized data from 417 field sites spanning six ecoregions in the northwestern North American boreal forest and assessed the network of interactions among potential bottom-up and top-down drivers of C emissions. Our results indicate that C emissions are more strongly driven by fuel availability than by fire weather, highlighting the importance of fine-scale drainage conditions, overstory tree species composition and fuel accumulation rates for predicting total C emissions. By implication, climate change-induced modification of fuels needs to be considered for accurately predicting future C emissions from boreal wildfires.

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Carbon release through abrupt permafrost thaw
M. R. Turetsky, Benjamin W. Abbott, Miriam C. Jones, K. M. Walter Anthony, David Olefeldt, Edward A. G. Schuur, Guido Grosse, Peter Kuhry, Gustaf Hugelius, Charles D. Koven, David M. Lawrence, Carolyn Gibson, A. Britta K. Sannel, A. David McGuire
Nature Geoscience, Volume 13, Issue 2


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Large loss of CO2 in winter observed across the northern permafrost region
Susan M. Natali, Jennifer D. Watts, Brendan M. Rogers, Stefano Potter, S. Ludwig, A. K. Selbmann, Patrick F. Sullivan, Benjamin W. Abbott, Kyle A. Arndt, Leah Birch, Mats Björkman, A. Anthony Bloom, Gerardo Celis, Torben R. Christensen, Casper T. Christiansen, R. Commane, Elisabeth J. Cooper, Patrick Crill, C. I. Czimczik, S. P. Davydov, Jinyang Du, Jocelyn Egan, Bo Elberling, Eugénie Euskirchen, Thomas Friborg, Hélène Genet, Mathias Göckede, Jordan P. Goodrich, Paul Grogan, Manuel Helbig, Elchin Jafarov, Julie D. Jastrow, Aram Kalhori, Yongwon Kim, J. S. Kimball, Lars Kutzbach, Mark J. Lara, Klaus Steenberg Larsen, Bang Yong Lee, Zhihua Liu, M. M. Loranty, Magnus Lund, Massimo Lupascu, Nima Madani, Avni Malhotra, Roser Matamala, J. W. Mcfarland, A. David McGuire, Anders Michelsen, C. Minions, Walter C. Oechel, David Olefeldt, Frans‐Jan W. Parmentier, Norbert Pirk, Benjamin Poulter, William L. Quinton, Fereidoun Rezanezhad, David Risk, Torsten Sachs, Kevin Schaefer, Niels Martin Schmidt, Edward A. G. Schuur, Philipp Semenchuk, Gaius R. Shaver, Oliver Sonnentag, Gregory Starr, Claire C. Treat, Mark P. Waldrop, Yihui Wang, Jeffrey M. Welker, Christian Wille, Xiaofeng Xu, Zhen Zhang, Qianlai Zhuang, Donatella Zona
Nature Climate Change, Volume 9, Issue 11

Recent warming in the Arctic, which has been amplified during the winter1-3, greatly enhances microbial decomposition of soil organic matter and subsequent release of carbon dioxide (CO2)4. However, the amount of CO2 released in winter is highly uncertain and has not been well represented by ecosystem models or by empirically-based estimates5,6. Here we synthesize regional in situ observations of CO2 flux from arctic and boreal soils to assess current and future winter carbon losses from the northern permafrost domain. We estimate a contemporary loss of 1662 Tg C yr-1 from the permafrost region during the winter season (October through April). This loss is greater than the average growing season carbon uptake for this region estimated from process models (-1032 Tg C yr-1). Extending model predictions to warmer conditions in 2100 indicates that winter CO2 emissions will increase 17% under a moderate mitigation scenario-Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 4.5-and 41% under business-as-usual emissions scenario-RCP 8.5. Our results provide a new baseline for winter CO2 emissions from northern terrestrial regions and indicate that enhanced soil CO2 loss due to winter warming may offset growing season carbon uptake under future climatic conditions.

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Is the Northern Permafrost Zone a Source or a Sink for Carbon?
Frans‐Jan W. Parmentier, Oliver Sonnentag, Marguerite Mauritz, Anna‐Maria Virkkala, Edward A. G. Schuur
Eos, Volume 100

Thawing permafrost could release large amounts of carbon into the atmosphere, but finding out how much requires better collection and curation of data.

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Permafrost collapse is accelerating carbon release
M. R. Turetsky, Benjamin W. Abbott, Miriam C. Jones, K. M. Walter Anthony, David Olefeldt, Edward A. G. Schuur, C. Koven, A. D. McGuire, Guido Grosse, Peter Kuhry, Gustaf Hugelius, David M. Lawrence, Carolyn Gibson, A. Britta K. Sannel
Nature, Volume 569, Issue 7754

The sudden collapse of thawing soils in the Arctic might double the warming from greenhouse gases released from tundra, warn Merritt R. Turetsky and colleagues. The sudden collapse of thawing soils in the Arctic might double the warming from greenhouse gases released from tundra, warn Merritt R. Turetsky and colleagues.

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Increasing wildfires threaten historic carbon sink of boreal forest soils
Xanthe J. Walker, Jennifer L. Baltzer, Steven G. Cumming, Nicola J. Day, Claire E. Ebert, Scott J. Goetz, Jill F. Johnstone, Stefano Potter, Brendan M. Rogers, Edward A. G. Schuur, M. R. Turetsky, Michelle C. Mack
Nature, Volume 572, Issue 7770

Boreal forest fires emit large amounts of carbon into the atmosphere primarily through the combustion of soil organic matter1,2,3. During each fire, a portion of this soil beneath the burned layer can escape combustion, leading to a net accumulation of carbon in forests over multiple fire events4. Climate warming and drying has led to more severe and frequent forest fires5,6,7, which threaten to shift the carbon balance of the boreal ecosystem from net accumulation to net loss1, resulting in a positive climate feedback8. This feedback will occur if organic-soil carbon that escaped burning in previous fires, termed ‘legacy carbon’, combusts. Here we use soil radiocarbon dating to quantitatively assess legacy carbon loss in the 2014 wildfires in the Northwest Territories of Canada2. We found no evidence for the combustion of legacy carbon in forests that were older than the historic fire-return interval of northwestern boreal forests9. In forests that were in dry landscapes and less than 60 years old at the time of the fire, legacy carbon that had escaped burning in the previous fire cycle was combusted. We estimate that 0.34 million hectares of young forests (<60 years) that burned in the 2014 fires could have experienced legacy carbon combustion. This implies a shift to a domain of carbon cycling in which these forests become a net source—instead of a sink—of carbon to the atmosphere over consecutive fires. As boreal wildfires continue to increase in size, frequency and intensity7, the area of young forests that experience legacy carbon combustion will probably increase and have a key role in shifting the boreal carbon balance.


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Cross‐scale controls on carbon emissions from boreal forest megafires
Xanthe J. Walker, Brendan M. Rogers, Jennifer L. Baltzer, Steven G. Cumming, Nicola J. Day, Scott J. Goetz, Jill F. Johnstone, Edward A. G. Schuur, M. R. Turetsky, Michelle C. Mack
Global Change Biology, Volume 24, Issue 9

Climate warming and drying is associated with increased wildfire disturbance and the emergence of megafires in North American boreal forests. Changes to the fire regime are expected to strongly increase combustion emissions of carbon (C) which could alter regional C balance and positively feedback to climate warming. In order to accurately estimate C emissions and thereby better predict future climate feedbacks, there is a need to understand the major sources of heterogeneity that impact C emissions at different scales. Here, we examined 211 field plots in boreal forests dominated by black spruce (Picea mariana) or jack pine (Pinus banksiana) of the Northwest Territories (NWT), Canada after an unprecedentedly large area burned in 2014. We assessed both aboveground and soil organic layer (SOL) combustion, with the goal of determining the major drivers in total C emissions, as well as to develop a high spatial resolution model to scale emissions in a relatively understudied region of the boreal forest. On average, 3.35 kg C m−2 was combusted and almost 90% of this was from SOL combustion. Our results indicate that black spruce stands located at landscape positions with intermediate drainage contribute the most to C emissions. Indices associated with fire weather and date of burn did not impact emissions, which we attribute to the extreme fire weather over a short period of time. Using these results, we estimated a total of 94.3 Tg C emitted from 2.85 Mha of burned area across the entire 2014 NWT fire complex, which offsets almost 50% of mean annual net ecosystem production in terrestrial ecosystems of Canada. Our study also highlights the need for fine-scale estimates of burned area that represent small water bodies and regionally specific calibrations of combustion that account for spatial heterogeneity in order to accurately model emissions at the continental scale.


DOI bib
Losing Legacies, Ecological Release, and Transient Responses: Key Challenges for the Future of Northern Ecosystem Science
M. R. Turetsky, Jennifer L. Baltzer, Jill F. Johnstone, Michelle C. Mack, Kevin S. McCann, Edward A. G. Schuur
Ecosystems, Volume 20, Issue 1

Northern ecosystem processes play out across scales that are rare elsewhere on contemporary earth: large ranging predator–prey systems are still operational, invasive species are rare, and large-scale natural disturbances occur extensively. Disturbances in the far north affect huge areas of land and are difficult to control or manage. Historically, disturbance patterns and processes ranging across a number of spatio-temporal scales have played an important role in the resilience of northern ecosystems. However, due to interactions with a warming climate, these disturbances are now erasing key legacies of the last millennia of ecosystem processes. Building on the concepts of legacies and cross-scale interactions, we highlight several general conceptual issues that represent key challenges for the future of northern ecosystem science, but that also have relevance to other biomes.