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

Charman, Dan J. and Beilman, David W and Blaauw, Maarten and Booth, Robert K. and Brewer, Simon and Chambers, Frank M. and Christen, J. Andrés and Gallego-Sala, Angela and Harrison, Sandy P. and Hughes, Paul D. M. and Jackson, Stephen. T. and Korhola, Atte and Mauquoy, Dmitri and Mitchell, Fraser. J. G. and Prentice, I. Colin and Van der Linden, Marjolein and De Vleeschouwer, François and Yu, Zicheng C. and Alm, Jukka and Bauer, Ilka E. and Corish, Y. M. C. and Garneau, Michelle and Hohl, Veronica and Huang, Yongsheng and Karofeld, Edgar and Le Roux, Gaël and Loisel, Julie and Moschen, Robert and Nichols, Jonathan E. and Nieminen, Tiina M. and MacDonald, Glen M. and Phadtare, Netajirao R. and Rausch, Nicole and Sillasoo, Ülle and Swindles, Graeme T. and Tuittila, Eeva-Stiina and Ukonmaanaho, Liisa and Väliranta, Minna and Van Bellen, Simon and Van Geel, Bas and Vitt, Dale H. and Zhao, Yu Climate-related changes in peatland carbon accumulation during the last millennium. (2013) Biogeosciences, 10 (2). 929-944. ISSN 1726-4170

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.5194/bg-10-929-2013


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.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:Thanks to European Geosciences Union (EGU) editor. The definitive version is available at http://www.biogeosciences.net/10/929/2013/bg-10-929-2013.html
HAL Id:hal-00980653
Audience (journal):International peer-reviewed journal
Uncontrolled Keywords:
Institution:Other partners > BIAX Consult (NETHERLANDS)
Other partners > Brown University (USA)
Other partners > Centro de Investigación en Matemáticas - CIMAT (MEXICO)
French research institutions > Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - CNRS (FRANCE)
Other partners > Chinese Academy of Sciences (CHINA)
Other partners > Columbia University (USA)
Other partners > Finnish Forest Research Institute (FINLAND)
Other partners > University of Gloucestershire (UNITED KINGDOM)
Other partners > Universität Heidelberg (GERMANY)
Other partners > University of Helsinki (FINLAND)
Université de Toulouse > Institut National Polytechnique de Toulouse - Toulouse INP (FRANCE)
Other partners > Macquarie University (AUSTRALIA)
Other partners > National Aeronautics and Space Administration - NASA (USA)
Other partners > Southern Illinois University - SIU (USA)
Other partners > University of Tartu (USA)
Other partners > Tallinn University (ESTONIA)
Other partners > University of Hawai'i at Mānoa - UH Mānoa (USA)
Université de Toulouse > Université Toulouse III - Paul Sabatier - UT3 (FRANCE)
Other partners > Université du Québec à Montréal - UQAM (CANADA)
Other partners > University of Bristol (UNITED KINGDOM)
Other partners > University of Leeds (UNITED KINGDOM)
Other partners > Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology - WIHG (INDIA)
Other partners > University of Wyoming - UW (USA)
Other partners > University of Eastern Finland (FINLAND)
Other partners > Imperial College London (UNITED KINGDOM)
Other partners > Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH (GERMANY)
Other partners > Lehigh University (USA)
Other partners > Lund University (SWEDEN)
Other partners > Memorial University of Newfoundland - MUN (CANADA)
Other partners > Queen's University Belfast - QUB (UNITED KINGDOM)
Other partners > University of Southampton (UNITED KINGDOM)
Other partners > University of Aberdeen - ABDN (UNITED KINGDOM)
Other partners > University of Amsterdam - UvA (NETHERLANDS)
Other partners > University of California-Los Angeles - UCLA (USA)
Other partners > University of Exeter (UNITED KINGDOM)
Other partners > University of Dublin (REPUBLIC OF IRELAND)
Other partners > University of Utah (USA)
Laboratory name:
Deposited On:18 Apr 2014 13:19

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