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Climate-related changes in peatland carbon accumulation during the last millennium

Charman, D. J. ; Beilman, D. W. ; Blaauw, M. ; Booth, R. K. ; Brewer, S. ; Chambers, F. M. ; Christen, J. A. ; Gallego-Sala, Angela LU ; Harrison, S. P. and Hughes, P. D. M. , et al. (2013) In Biogeosciences 10(2). p.929-944
Abstract
Peatlands are a major terrestrial carbon store and a persistent natural carbon sink during the Holocene, but there is considerable uncertainty over the fate of peatland carbon in a changing climate. It is generally assumed that higher temperatures will increase peat decay, causing a positive feedback to climate warming and contributing to the global positive carbon cycle feedback. Here we use a new extensive database of peat profiles across northern high latitudes to examine spatial and temporal patterns of carbon accumulation over the past millennium. Opposite to expectations, our results indicate a small negative carbon cycle feedback from past changes in the long-term accumulation rates of northern peatlands. Total carbon accumulated... (More)
Peatlands are a major terrestrial carbon store and a persistent natural carbon sink during the Holocene, but there is considerable uncertainty over the fate of peatland carbon in a changing climate. It is generally assumed that higher temperatures will increase peat decay, causing a positive feedback to climate warming and contributing to the global positive carbon cycle feedback. Here we use a new extensive database of peat profiles across northern high latitudes to examine spatial and temporal patterns of carbon accumulation over the past millennium. Opposite to expectations, our results indicate a small negative carbon cycle feedback from past changes in the long-term accumulation rates of northern peatlands. Total carbon accumulated over the last 1000 yr is linearly related to contemporary growing season length and photosynthetically active radiation, suggesting that variability in net primary productivity is more important than decomposition in determining long-term carbon accumulation. Furthermore, northern peatland carbon sequestration rate declined over the climate transition from the Medieval Climate Anomaly (MCA) to the Little Ice Age (LIA), probably because of lower LIA temperatures combined with increased cloudiness suppressing net primary productivity. Other factors including changing moisture status, peatland distribution, fire, nitrogen deposition, permafrost thaw and methane emissions will also influence future peatland carbon cycle feedbacks, but our data suggest that the carbon sequestration rate could increase over many areas of northern peatlands in a warmer future. (Less)
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organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Biogeosciences
volume
10
issue
2
pages
929 - 944
publisher
Copernicus Publications
external identifiers
  • wos:000315093000018
  • scopus:84874421728
ISSN
1726-4189
DOI
10.5194/bg-10-929-2013
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
b3ed6f06-e096-41f3-9be1-54efb1ad0a75 (old id 3589668)
date added to LUP
2016-04-01 10:09:34
date last changed
2020-10-07 01:29:02
@article{b3ed6f06-e096-41f3-9be1-54efb1ad0a75,
  abstract     = {Peatlands are a major terrestrial carbon store and a persistent natural carbon sink during the Holocene, but there is considerable uncertainty over the fate of peatland carbon in a changing climate. It is generally assumed that higher temperatures will increase peat decay, causing a positive feedback to climate warming and contributing to the global positive carbon cycle feedback. Here we use a new extensive database of peat profiles across northern high latitudes to examine spatial and temporal patterns of carbon accumulation over the past millennium. Opposite to expectations, our results indicate a small negative carbon cycle feedback from past changes in the long-term accumulation rates of northern peatlands. Total carbon accumulated over the last 1000 yr is linearly related to contemporary growing season length and photosynthetically active radiation, suggesting that variability in net primary productivity is more important than decomposition in determining long-term carbon accumulation. Furthermore, northern peatland carbon sequestration rate declined over the climate transition from the Medieval Climate Anomaly (MCA) to the Little Ice Age (LIA), probably because of lower LIA temperatures combined with increased cloudiness suppressing net primary productivity. Other factors including changing moisture status, peatland distribution, fire, nitrogen deposition, permafrost thaw and methane emissions will also influence future peatland carbon cycle feedbacks, but our data suggest that the carbon sequestration rate could increase over many areas of northern peatlands in a warmer future.},
  author       = {Charman, D. J. and Beilman, D. W. and Blaauw, M. and Booth, R. K. and Brewer, S. and Chambers, F. M. and Christen, J. A. and Gallego-Sala, Angela and Harrison, S. P. and Hughes, P. D. M. and Jackson, S. T. and Korhola, A. and Mauquoy, D. and Mitchell, F. J. G. and Prentice, I. C. and van der Linden, M. and De Vleeschouwer, F. and Yu, Z. C. and Alm, J. and Bauer, I. E. and Corish, Y. M. C. and Garneau, M. and Hohl, V. and Huang, Y. and Karofeld, E. and Le Roux, G. and Loisel, J. and Moschen, R. and Nichols, J. E. and Nieminen, T. M. and MacDonald, G. M. and Phadtare, N. R. and Rausch, N. and Sillasoo, Ue and Swindles, G. T. and Tuittila, E-S. and Ukonmaanaho, L. and Valiranta, M. and van Bellen, S. and van Geel, B. and Vitt, D. H. and Zhao, Y.},
  issn         = {1726-4189},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {2},
  pages        = {929--944},
  publisher    = {Copernicus Publications},
  series       = {Biogeosciences},
  title        = {Climate-related changes in peatland carbon accumulation during the last millennium},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.5194/bg-10-929-2013},
  doi          = {10.5194/bg-10-929-2013},
  volume       = {10},
  year         = {2013},
}