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Future vegetation changes in thawing subarctic mires and implications for greenhouse gas exchange-a regional assessment

Bosiö, Julia LU ; Johansson, Margareta LU ; Callaghan, Terry V.; Johansen, Bernt and Christensen, Torben LU (2012) In Climatic Change 115(2). p.379-398
Abstract
One of the major concerns regarding climate change in high latitudes is the potential feedback from greenhouse gases (GHG) being released from thawing peat soils. In this paper we show how vegetational patterns and associated GHG fluxes in subarctic palsa (peat mounds with a permanently frozen core) mires can be linked to climate, based on field observations from fifteen palsa sites distributed in northern Fennoscandia. Fine resolution (100 m) land cover data are combined with projections of future climate for the 21st century in order to model the potential future distribution of palsa vegetation in northern Fennoscandia. Site scale climate-vegetational relationships for two vegetation types are described by a climate suitability index... (More)
One of the major concerns regarding climate change in high latitudes is the potential feedback from greenhouse gases (GHG) being released from thawing peat soils. In this paper we show how vegetational patterns and associated GHG fluxes in subarctic palsa (peat mounds with a permanently frozen core) mires can be linked to climate, based on field observations from fifteen palsa sites distributed in northern Fennoscandia. Fine resolution (100 m) land cover data are combined with projections of future climate for the 21st century in order to model the potential future distribution of palsa vegetation in northern Fennoscandia. Site scale climate-vegetational relationships for two vegetation types are described by a climate suitability index computed from the field observations. Our results indicate drastic changes in the palsa vegetational patterns over the coming decades with a 97 % reduction in dry hummock areas by 2041-2060 compared to the 1961-1990 areal coverage. The impact of these changes on the carbon balance is a decrease in the efflux of CO2 from 130 kilotonnes C y(-1) to a net uptake of 11 kilotonnes C y(-1) and a threefold increase in the efflux of CH4 from 6 to 18 kilotonnes C y(-1) over the same period and over the 5,520 km(2) area of palsa mires. The combined effect is equivalent to a slight decrease in CO2-C emissions, from 182 to 152 kilotonnes C y(-1). Main uncertainties involve the ability of the vegetation community to adapt to new conditions, and long-term changes in hydrology due to absence of ice and frost heaving. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Climatic Change
volume
115
issue
2
pages
379 - 398
publisher
Springer
external identifiers
  • wos:000309867100007
  • scopus:84867677401
ISSN
0165-0009
DOI
10.1007/s10584-012-0445-1
project
BECC
MERGE
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
87daa765-249e-4f6f-94fa-7236929b33fd (old id 3284125)
date added to LUP
2012-12-20 09:40:55
date last changed
2017-08-27 03:43:42
@article{87daa765-249e-4f6f-94fa-7236929b33fd,
  abstract     = {One of the major concerns regarding climate change in high latitudes is the potential feedback from greenhouse gases (GHG) being released from thawing peat soils. In this paper we show how vegetational patterns and associated GHG fluxes in subarctic palsa (peat mounds with a permanently frozen core) mires can be linked to climate, based on field observations from fifteen palsa sites distributed in northern Fennoscandia. Fine resolution (100 m) land cover data are combined with projections of future climate for the 21st century in order to model the potential future distribution of palsa vegetation in northern Fennoscandia. Site scale climate-vegetational relationships for two vegetation types are described by a climate suitability index computed from the field observations. Our results indicate drastic changes in the palsa vegetational patterns over the coming decades with a 97 % reduction in dry hummock areas by 2041-2060 compared to the 1961-1990 areal coverage. The impact of these changes on the carbon balance is a decrease in the efflux of CO2 from 130 kilotonnes C y(-1) to a net uptake of 11 kilotonnes C y(-1) and a threefold increase in the efflux of CH4 from 6 to 18 kilotonnes C y(-1) over the same period and over the 5,520 km(2) area of palsa mires. The combined effect is equivalent to a slight decrease in CO2-C emissions, from 182 to 152 kilotonnes C y(-1). Main uncertainties involve the ability of the vegetation community to adapt to new conditions, and long-term changes in hydrology due to absence of ice and frost heaving.},
  author       = {Bosiö, Julia and Johansson, Margareta and Callaghan, Terry V. and Johansen, Bernt and Christensen, Torben},
  issn         = {0165-0009},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {2},
  pages        = {379--398},
  publisher    = {Springer},
  series       = {Climatic Change},
  title        = {Future vegetation changes in thawing subarctic mires and implications for greenhouse gas exchange-a regional assessment},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10584-012-0445-1},
  volume       = {115},
  year         = {2012},
}