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Sensitivity of peatland respiration to vegetation community and temperature metric during a hot drought

Kelly, Julia LU ; Kljun, Natascha LU ; Eklundh, Lars LU ; Klemedtsson, Leif ; Liljeblad, Bengt ; Vestin, Patrik LU and Weslien, Per (2020) EGU 2020: Sharing Geoscience Online
Abstract
The majority of the world’s peatlands are located in northern regions where climate change is occurring most rapidly. Therefore, there is an urgent need to understand whether, and under what conditions, peatlands will remain carbon sinks or become carbon sources. The uncertainties in our predictions stem from a variety of sources, including uncertainty about the competing effects of rising air temperature on ecosystem respiration (Re) and gross primary production. Furthermore, peatlands contain a mixture of plant communities that respond differently to changes in temperature and precipitation. Such heterogeneity complicates attempts to upscale peatland carbon fluxes and predict the future peatland carbon balance.

We focus on... (More)
The majority of the world’s peatlands are located in northern regions where climate change is occurring most rapidly. Therefore, there is an urgent need to understand whether, and under what conditions, peatlands will remain carbon sinks or become carbon sources. The uncertainties in our predictions stem from a variety of sources, including uncertainty about the competing effects of rising air temperature on ecosystem respiration (Re) and gross primary production. Furthermore, peatlands contain a mixture of plant communities that respond differently to changes in temperature and precipitation. Such heterogeneity complicates attempts to upscale peatland carbon fluxes and predict the future peatland carbon balance.

We focus on understanding the sensitivity of peatland Re to temperature and how it relates to vegetation community and the choice of temperature metric. We assess how these relationships changed during and after the severe heatwave and drought (‘hot drought’) in 2018. We conducted manual dark chamber CO2 efflux measurements in Mycklemossen, an oligotrophic mire in southern Sweden in 2018 and in 2019, when weather conditions were closer to the long-term mean. The measurements covered the two main vegetation communities at the site: hummocks (vascular-plant dominated) and hollows (Sphagnum-dominated). We statistically compared the fluxes for both years and vegetation communities, then modelled them using three temperature metrics (air, surface, soil).

We found that Re decreased during the hot drought for both vegetation communities, with maximum fluxes of 0.18 and 0.34 mgCO2 m-2 s-1 in 2018 and 2019, respectively. However, the change in Re during the hot drought was dependent on vegetation community: hummock Re decreased substantially more than hollow Re (mean decrease: 48% and 15%, respectively). As a result, hollow Re was highest during drought whereas hummock Re was highest during non-drought conditions. Despite significant differences in Re between the vegetation communities, we found no significant differences in temperature between hummock and hollow vegetation, apart from in July and August 2018, at the peak of the hot drought. Nevertheless, hollow Re was more temperature-sensitive than hummock Re both during and after the hot drought. Furthermore, the temperature sensitivity of modelled Re depended on the choice of driving temperature, such that the surface temperature driven model produced the lowest whilst the soil temperature driven model produced the highest temperature sensitivity. Differences in temperature sensitivity of Re between the drought and non-drought conditions were similarly dependent on the temperature metric used to drive the Re model.

We found that peatland Re almost halved during a hot drought. Our results show that predictions of peatland response to warming must account for the proportion of different vegetation communities present, and how this may change, due to their differing responses to warming. The choice of driving temperature in peatland Re models does not impact model accuracy but it does influence the temperature-sensitivity, and thus the impact of temperature variations on the modelled flux. Modellers should therefore base parameter choices on vegetation community and driving temperature. Furthermore, comparisons of Re sensitivity to warming between studies using different driving temperatures may be misleading. (Less)
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organization
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Contribution to conference
publication status
published
subject
conference name
EGU 2020: Sharing Geoscience Online
conference dates
2020-05-04 - 2020-05-08
project
GREEN GAP: GREENhouse GAs flux uPscaling - improved understanding of key ecosystem processes using remote sensing and ground-based measurements
CarboScale : Scaling carbon flux from towers to the northern landscape
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
103d07d2-ba40-4eb0-94a8-2a31c75d0122
alternative location
https://meetingorganizer.copernicus.org/EGU2020/EGU2020-1161.html
date added to LUP
2020-05-29 11:42:01
date last changed
2020-06-05 02:30:18
@misc{103d07d2-ba40-4eb0-94a8-2a31c75d0122,
  abstract     = {The majority of the world’s peatlands are located in northern regions where climate change is occurring most rapidly. Therefore, there is an urgent need to understand whether, and under what conditions, peatlands will remain carbon sinks or become carbon sources. The uncertainties in our predictions stem from a variety of sources, including uncertainty about the competing effects of rising air temperature on ecosystem respiration (Re) and gross primary production. Furthermore, peatlands contain a mixture of plant communities that respond differently to changes in temperature and precipitation. Such heterogeneity complicates attempts to upscale peatland carbon fluxes and predict the future peatland carbon balance.<br/><br/>We focus on understanding the sensitivity of peatland Re to temperature and how it relates to vegetation community and the choice of temperature metric. We assess how these relationships changed during and after the severe heatwave and drought (‘hot drought’) in 2018. We conducted manual dark chamber CO2 efflux measurements in Mycklemossen, an oligotrophic mire in southern Sweden in 2018 and in 2019, when weather conditions were closer to the long-term mean. The measurements covered the two main vegetation communities at the site: hummocks (vascular-plant dominated) and hollows (Sphagnum-dominated). We statistically compared the fluxes for both years and vegetation communities, then modelled them using three temperature metrics (air, surface, soil). <br/><br/>We found that Re decreased during the hot drought for both vegetation communities, with maximum fluxes of 0.18 and 0.34 mgCO2 m-2 s-1 in 2018 and 2019, respectively. However, the change in Re during the hot drought was dependent on vegetation community: hummock Re decreased substantially more than hollow Re (mean decrease: 48% and 15%, respectively). As a result, hollow Re was highest during drought whereas hummock Re was highest during non-drought conditions. Despite significant differences in Re between the vegetation communities, we found no significant differences in temperature between hummock and hollow vegetation, apart from in July and August 2018, at the peak of the hot drought. Nevertheless, hollow Re was more temperature-sensitive than hummock Re both during and after the hot drought. Furthermore, the temperature sensitivity of modelled Re depended on the choice of driving temperature, such that the surface temperature driven model produced the lowest whilst the soil temperature driven model produced the highest temperature sensitivity. Differences in temperature sensitivity of Re between the drought and non-drought conditions were similarly dependent on the temperature metric used to drive the Re model. <br/><br/>We found that peatland Re almost halved during a hot drought. Our results show that predictions of peatland response to warming must account for the proportion of different vegetation communities present, and how this may change, due to their differing responses to warming. The choice of driving temperature in peatland Re models does not impact model accuracy but it does influence the temperature-sensitivity, and thus the impact of temperature variations on the modelled flux. Modellers should therefore base parameter choices on vegetation community and driving temperature. Furthermore, comparisons of Re sensitivity to warming between studies using different driving temperatures may be misleading.},
  author       = {Kelly, Julia and Kljun, Natascha and Eklundh, Lars and Klemedtsson, Leif and Liljeblad, Bengt and Vestin, Patrik and Weslien, Per},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {05},
  title        = {Sensitivity of peatland respiration to vegetation community and temperature metric during a hot drought},
  url          = {https://meetingorganizer.copernicus.org/EGU2020/EGU2020-1161.html},
  year         = {2020},
}