Biomass offsets little or none of permafrost carbon release from soils, streams, and wildfire

An expert assessment

Benjamin W. Abbott, Jeremy B. Jones, Edward A G Schuur, F. Stuart Chapin, William B. Bowden, M. Syndonia Bret-Harte, Howard E. Epstein, Michael D. Flannigan, Tamara K. Harms, Teresa N. Hollingsworth, Michelle C. Mack, A. David McGuire, Susan M. Natali, Adrian V. Rocha, Suzanne E. Tank, Merritt R. Turetsky, Jorien E. Vonk, Kimberly P. Wickland, George R. Aiken, Heather D. Alexander & 80 others Rainer M W Amon, Brian W. Benscoter, Yves Bergeron, Kevin Bishop, Olivier Blarquez, Ben Bond-Lamberty, Amy L. Breen, Ishi Buffam, Yihua Cai, Christopher Carcaillet, Sean K. Carey, Jing M. Chen, Han Y H Chen, Torben R. Christensen, Lee W. Cooper, J. Hans C Cornelissen, William J. De Groot, Thomas H. Deluca, Ellen Dorrepaal, Ned Fetcher, Jacques C. Finlay, Bruce C. Forbes, Nancy H F French, Sylvie Gauthier, Martin P. Girardin, Scott J. Goetz, Johann G. Goldammer, Laura Gough, Paul Grogan, Laodong Guo, Philip E. Higuera, Larry Hinzman, Feng Sheng Hu, Gustaf Hugelius, Elchin E. Jafarov, Randi Jandt, Jill F. Johnstone, Jan Karlsson, Eric S. Kasischke, Gerhard Kattner, Ryan Kelly, Frida Keuper, George W. Kling, Pirkko Kortelainen, Jari Kouki, Peter Kuhry, Hjalmar Laudon, Isabelle Laurion, Robie W. MacDonald, Paul J. Mann, Pertti J. Martikainen, James W. McClelland, Ulf Molau, Steven F. Oberbauer, David Olefeldt, David Paré, Marc André Parisien, Serge Payette, Changhui Peng, Oleg S. Pokrovsky, Edward B. Rastetter, Peter A. Raymond, Martha K. Raynolds, Guillermo Rein, James F. Reynolds, Martin Robards, Brendan M. Rogers, Christina Schdel, Kevin Schaefer, Inger K. Schmidt, Anatoly Shvidenko, Jasper Sky, Robert G M Spencer, Gregory Starr, Robert G. Striegl, Roman Teisserenc, Lars J. Tranvik, Tarmo Virtanen, Jeffrey M. Welker, Sergei Zimov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

89 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

As the permafrost region warms, its large organic carbon pool will be increasingly vulnerable to decomposition, combustion, and hydrologic export. Models predict that some portion of this release will be offset by increased production of Arctic and boreal biomass; however, the lack of robust estimates of net carbon balance increases the risk of further overshooting international emissions targets. Precise empirical or model-based assessments of the critical factors driving carbon balance are unlikely in the near future, so to address this gap, we present estimates from 98 permafrost-region experts of the response of biomass, wildfire, and hydrologic carbon flux to climate change. Results suggest that contrary to model projections, total permafrost-region biomass could decrease due to water stress and disturbance, factors that are not adequately incorporated in current models. Assessments indicate that end-of-the-century organic carbon release from Arctic rivers and collapsing coastlines could increase by 75% while carbon loss via burning could increase four-fold. Experts identified water balance, shifts in vegetation community, and permafrost degradation as the key sources of uncertainty in predicting future system response. In combination with previous findings, results suggest the permafrost region will become a carbon source to the atmosphere by 2100 regardless of warming scenario but that 65%-85% of permafrost carbon release can still be avoided if human emissions are actively reduced.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number034014
JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
Volume11
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 7 2016

Fingerprint

Permafrost
wildfire
permafrost
Biomass
Soil
Carbon
Soils
carbon
biomass
soil
carbon balance
Organic carbon
organic carbon
Carbon Cycle
carbon flux
water stress
Climate Change
Climate change
water budget
Water

Keywords

  • Arctic
  • boreal
  • coastal erosion
  • dissolved organic carbon
  • particulate organic carbon
  • permafrost carbon
  • wildfire

Cite this

Abbott, B. W., Jones, J. B., Schuur, E. A. G., Chapin, F. S., Bowden, W. B., Bret-Harte, M. S., ... Zimov, S. (2016). Biomass offsets little or none of permafrost carbon release from soils, streams, and wildfire: An expert assessment. Environmental Research Letters, 11(3), [034014]. https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/11/3/034014

Biomass offsets little or none of permafrost carbon release from soils, streams, and wildfire : An expert assessment. / Abbott, Benjamin W.; Jones, Jeremy B.; Schuur, Edward A G; Chapin, F. Stuart; Bowden, William B.; Bret-Harte, M. Syndonia; Epstein, Howard E.; Flannigan, Michael D.; Harms, Tamara K.; Hollingsworth, Teresa N.; Mack, Michelle C.; McGuire, A. David; Natali, Susan M.; Rocha, Adrian V.; Tank, Suzanne E.; Turetsky, Merritt R.; Vonk, Jorien E.; Wickland, Kimberly P.; Aiken, George R.; Alexander, Heather D.; Amon, Rainer M W; Benscoter, Brian W.; Bergeron, Yves; Bishop, Kevin; Blarquez, Olivier; Bond-Lamberty, Ben; Breen, Amy L.; Buffam, Ishi; Cai, Yihua; Carcaillet, Christopher; Carey, Sean K.; Chen, Jing M.; Chen, Han Y H; Christensen, Torben R.; Cooper, Lee W.; Cornelissen, J. Hans C; De Groot, William J.; Deluca, Thomas H.; Dorrepaal, Ellen; Fetcher, Ned; Finlay, Jacques C.; Forbes, Bruce C.; French, Nancy H F; Gauthier, Sylvie; Girardin, Martin P.; Goetz, Scott J.; Goldammer, Johann G.; Gough, Laura; Grogan, Paul; Guo, Laodong; Higuera, Philip E.; Hinzman, Larry; Hu, Feng Sheng; Hugelius, Gustaf; Jafarov, Elchin E.; Jandt, Randi; Johnstone, Jill F.; Karlsson, Jan; Kasischke, Eric S.; Kattner, Gerhard; Kelly, Ryan; Keuper, Frida; Kling, George W.; Kortelainen, Pirkko; Kouki, Jari; Kuhry, Peter; Laudon, Hjalmar; Laurion, Isabelle; MacDonald, Robie W.; Mann, Paul J.; Martikainen, Pertti J.; McClelland, James W.; Molau, Ulf; Oberbauer, Steven F.; Olefeldt, David; Paré, David; Parisien, Marc André; Payette, Serge; Peng, Changhui; Pokrovsky, Oleg S.; Rastetter, Edward B.; Raymond, Peter A.; Raynolds, Martha K.; Rein, Guillermo; Reynolds, James F.; Robards, Martin; Rogers, Brendan M.; Schdel, Christina; Schaefer, Kevin; Schmidt, Inger K.; Shvidenko, Anatoly; Sky, Jasper; Spencer, Robert G M; Starr, Gregory; Striegl, Robert G.; Teisserenc, Roman; Tranvik, Lars J.; Virtanen, Tarmo; Welker, Jeffrey M.; Zimov, Sergei.

In: Environmental Research Letters, Vol. 11, No. 3, 034014, 07.03.2016.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abbott, BW, Jones, JB, Schuur, EAG, Chapin, FS, Bowden, WB, Bret-Harte, MS, Epstein, HE, Flannigan, MD, Harms, TK, Hollingsworth, TN, Mack, MC, McGuire, AD, Natali, SM, Rocha, AV, Tank, SE, Turetsky, MR, Vonk, JE, Wickland, KP, Aiken, GR, Alexander, HD, Amon, RMW, Benscoter, BW, Bergeron, Y, Bishop, K, Blarquez, O, Bond-Lamberty, B, Breen, AL, Buffam, I, Cai, Y, Carcaillet, C, Carey, SK, Chen, JM, Chen, HYH, Christensen, TR, Cooper, LW, Cornelissen, JHC, De Groot, WJ, Deluca, TH, Dorrepaal, E, Fetcher, N, Finlay, JC, Forbes, BC, French, NHF, Gauthier, S, Girardin, MP, Goetz, SJ, Goldammer, JG, Gough, L, Grogan, P, Guo, L, Higuera, PE, Hinzman, L, Hu, FS, Hugelius, G, Jafarov, EE, Jandt, R, Johnstone, JF, Karlsson, J, Kasischke, ES, Kattner, G, Kelly, R, Keuper, F, Kling, GW, Kortelainen, P, Kouki, J, Kuhry, P, Laudon, H, Laurion, I, MacDonald, RW, Mann, PJ, Martikainen, PJ, McClelland, JW, Molau, U, Oberbauer, SF, Olefeldt, D, Paré, D, Parisien, MA, Payette, S, Peng, C, Pokrovsky, OS, Rastetter, EB, Raymond, PA, Raynolds, MK, Rein, G, Reynolds, JF, Robards, M, Rogers, BM, Schdel, C, Schaefer, K, Schmidt, IK, Shvidenko, A, Sky, J, Spencer, RGM, Starr, G, Striegl, RG, Teisserenc, R, Tranvik, LJ, Virtanen, T, Welker, JM & Zimov, S 2016, 'Biomass offsets little or none of permafrost carbon release from soils, streams, and wildfire: An expert assessment', Environmental Research Letters, vol. 11, no. 3, 034014. https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/11/3/034014
Abbott, Benjamin W. ; Jones, Jeremy B. ; Schuur, Edward A G ; Chapin, F. Stuart ; Bowden, William B. ; Bret-Harte, M. Syndonia ; Epstein, Howard E. ; Flannigan, Michael D. ; Harms, Tamara K. ; Hollingsworth, Teresa N. ; Mack, Michelle C. ; McGuire, A. David ; Natali, Susan M. ; Rocha, Adrian V. ; Tank, Suzanne E. ; Turetsky, Merritt R. ; Vonk, Jorien E. ; Wickland, Kimberly P. ; Aiken, George R. ; Alexander, Heather D. ; Amon, Rainer M W ; Benscoter, Brian W. ; Bergeron, Yves ; Bishop, Kevin ; Blarquez, Olivier ; Bond-Lamberty, Ben ; Breen, Amy L. ; Buffam, Ishi ; Cai, Yihua ; Carcaillet, Christopher ; Carey, Sean K. ; Chen, Jing M. ; Chen, Han Y H ; Christensen, Torben R. ; Cooper, Lee W. ; Cornelissen, J. Hans C ; De Groot, William J. ; Deluca, Thomas H. ; Dorrepaal, Ellen ; Fetcher, Ned ; Finlay, Jacques C. ; Forbes, Bruce C. ; French, Nancy H F ; Gauthier, Sylvie ; Girardin, Martin P. ; Goetz, Scott J. ; Goldammer, Johann G. ; Gough, Laura ; Grogan, Paul ; Guo, Laodong ; Higuera, Philip E. ; Hinzman, Larry ; Hu, Feng Sheng ; Hugelius, Gustaf ; Jafarov, Elchin E. ; Jandt, Randi ; Johnstone, Jill F. ; Karlsson, Jan ; Kasischke, Eric S. ; Kattner, Gerhard ; Kelly, Ryan ; Keuper, Frida ; Kling, George W. ; Kortelainen, Pirkko ; Kouki, Jari ; Kuhry, Peter ; Laudon, Hjalmar ; Laurion, Isabelle ; MacDonald, Robie W. ; Mann, Paul J. ; Martikainen, Pertti J. ; McClelland, James W. ; Molau, Ulf ; Oberbauer, Steven F. ; Olefeldt, David ; Paré, David ; Parisien, Marc André ; Payette, Serge ; Peng, Changhui ; Pokrovsky, Oleg S. ; Rastetter, Edward B. ; Raymond, Peter A. ; Raynolds, Martha K. ; Rein, Guillermo ; Reynolds, James F. ; Robards, Martin ; Rogers, Brendan M. ; Schdel, Christina ; Schaefer, Kevin ; Schmidt, Inger K. ; Shvidenko, Anatoly ; Sky, Jasper ; Spencer, Robert G M ; Starr, Gregory ; Striegl, Robert G. ; Teisserenc, Roman ; Tranvik, Lars J. ; Virtanen, Tarmo ; Welker, Jeffrey M. ; Zimov, Sergei. / Biomass offsets little or none of permafrost carbon release from soils, streams, and wildfire : An expert assessment. In: Environmental Research Letters. 2016 ; Vol. 11, No. 3.
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abstract = "As the permafrost region warms, its large organic carbon pool will be increasingly vulnerable to decomposition, combustion, and hydrologic export. Models predict that some portion of this release will be offset by increased production of Arctic and boreal biomass; however, the lack of robust estimates of net carbon balance increases the risk of further overshooting international emissions targets. Precise empirical or model-based assessments of the critical factors driving carbon balance are unlikely in the near future, so to address this gap, we present estimates from 98 permafrost-region experts of the response of biomass, wildfire, and hydrologic carbon flux to climate change. Results suggest that contrary to model projections, total permafrost-region biomass could decrease due to water stress and disturbance, factors that are not adequately incorporated in current models. Assessments indicate that end-of-the-century organic carbon release from Arctic rivers and collapsing coastlines could increase by 75{\%} while carbon loss via burning could increase four-fold. Experts identified water balance, shifts in vegetation community, and permafrost degradation as the key sources of uncertainty in predicting future system response. In combination with previous findings, results suggest the permafrost region will become a carbon source to the atmosphere by 2100 regardless of warming scenario but that 65{\%}-85{\%} of permafrost carbon release can still be avoided if human emissions are actively reduced.",
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TY - JOUR

T1 - Biomass offsets little or none of permafrost carbon release from soils, streams, and wildfire

T2 - An expert assessment

AU - Abbott, Benjamin W.

AU - Jones, Jeremy B.

AU - Schuur, Edward A G

AU - Chapin, F. Stuart

AU - Bowden, William B.

AU - Bret-Harte, M. Syndonia

AU - Epstein, Howard E.

AU - Flannigan, Michael D.

AU - Harms, Tamara K.

AU - Hollingsworth, Teresa N.

AU - Mack, Michelle C.

AU - McGuire, A. David

AU - Natali, Susan M.

AU - Rocha, Adrian V.

AU - Tank, Suzanne E.

AU - Turetsky, Merritt R.

AU - Vonk, Jorien E.

AU - Wickland, Kimberly P.

AU - Aiken, George R.

AU - Alexander, Heather D.

AU - Amon, Rainer M W

AU - Benscoter, Brian W.

AU - Bergeron, Yves

AU - Bishop, Kevin

AU - Blarquez, Olivier

AU - Bond-Lamberty, Ben

AU - Breen, Amy L.

AU - Buffam, Ishi

AU - Cai, Yihua

AU - Carcaillet, Christopher

AU - Carey, Sean K.

AU - Chen, Jing M.

AU - Chen, Han Y H

AU - Christensen, Torben R.

AU - Cooper, Lee W.

AU - Cornelissen, J. Hans C

AU - De Groot, William J.

AU - Deluca, Thomas H.

AU - Dorrepaal, Ellen

AU - Fetcher, Ned

AU - Finlay, Jacques C.

AU - Forbes, Bruce C.

AU - French, Nancy H F

AU - Gauthier, Sylvie

AU - Girardin, Martin P.

AU - Goetz, Scott J.

AU - Goldammer, Johann G.

AU - Gough, Laura

AU - Grogan, Paul

AU - Guo, Laodong

AU - Higuera, Philip E.

AU - Hinzman, Larry

AU - Hu, Feng Sheng

AU - Hugelius, Gustaf

AU - Jafarov, Elchin E.

AU - Jandt, Randi

AU - Johnstone, Jill F.

AU - Karlsson, Jan

AU - Kasischke, Eric S.

AU - Kattner, Gerhard

AU - Kelly, Ryan

AU - Keuper, Frida

AU - Kling, George W.

AU - Kortelainen, Pirkko

AU - Kouki, Jari

AU - Kuhry, Peter

AU - Laudon, Hjalmar

AU - Laurion, Isabelle

AU - MacDonald, Robie W.

AU - Mann, Paul J.

AU - Martikainen, Pertti J.

AU - McClelland, James W.

AU - Molau, Ulf

AU - Oberbauer, Steven F.

AU - Olefeldt, David

AU - Paré, David

AU - Parisien, Marc André

AU - Payette, Serge

AU - Peng, Changhui

AU - Pokrovsky, Oleg S.

AU - Rastetter, Edward B.

AU - Raymond, Peter A.

AU - Raynolds, Martha K.

AU - Rein, Guillermo

AU - Reynolds, James F.

AU - Robards, Martin

AU - Rogers, Brendan M.

AU - Schdel, Christina

AU - Schaefer, Kevin

AU - Schmidt, Inger K.

AU - Shvidenko, Anatoly

AU - Sky, Jasper

AU - Spencer, Robert G M

AU - Starr, Gregory

AU - Striegl, Robert G.

AU - Teisserenc, Roman

AU - Tranvik, Lars J.

AU - Virtanen, Tarmo

AU - Welker, Jeffrey M.

AU - Zimov, Sergei

PY - 2016/3/7

Y1 - 2016/3/7

N2 - As the permafrost region warms, its large organic carbon pool will be increasingly vulnerable to decomposition, combustion, and hydrologic export. Models predict that some portion of this release will be offset by increased production of Arctic and boreal biomass; however, the lack of robust estimates of net carbon balance increases the risk of further overshooting international emissions targets. Precise empirical or model-based assessments of the critical factors driving carbon balance are unlikely in the near future, so to address this gap, we present estimates from 98 permafrost-region experts of the response of biomass, wildfire, and hydrologic carbon flux to climate change. Results suggest that contrary to model projections, total permafrost-region biomass could decrease due to water stress and disturbance, factors that are not adequately incorporated in current models. Assessments indicate that end-of-the-century organic carbon release from Arctic rivers and collapsing coastlines could increase by 75% while carbon loss via burning could increase four-fold. Experts identified water balance, shifts in vegetation community, and permafrost degradation as the key sources of uncertainty in predicting future system response. In combination with previous findings, results suggest the permafrost region will become a carbon source to the atmosphere by 2100 regardless of warming scenario but that 65%-85% of permafrost carbon release can still be avoided if human emissions are actively reduced.

AB - As the permafrost region warms, its large organic carbon pool will be increasingly vulnerable to decomposition, combustion, and hydrologic export. Models predict that some portion of this release will be offset by increased production of Arctic and boreal biomass; however, the lack of robust estimates of net carbon balance increases the risk of further overshooting international emissions targets. Precise empirical or model-based assessments of the critical factors driving carbon balance are unlikely in the near future, so to address this gap, we present estimates from 98 permafrost-region experts of the response of biomass, wildfire, and hydrologic carbon flux to climate change. Results suggest that contrary to model projections, total permafrost-region biomass could decrease due to water stress and disturbance, factors that are not adequately incorporated in current models. Assessments indicate that end-of-the-century organic carbon release from Arctic rivers and collapsing coastlines could increase by 75% while carbon loss via burning could increase four-fold. Experts identified water balance, shifts in vegetation community, and permafrost degradation as the key sources of uncertainty in predicting future system response. In combination with previous findings, results suggest the permafrost region will become a carbon source to the atmosphere by 2100 regardless of warming scenario but that 65%-85% of permafrost carbon release can still be avoided if human emissions are actively reduced.

KW - Arctic

KW - boreal

KW - coastal erosion

KW - dissolved organic carbon

KW - particulate organic carbon

KW - permafrost carbon

KW - wildfire

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U2 - 10.1088/1748-9326/11/3/034014

DO - 10.1088/1748-9326/11/3/034014

M3 - Article

VL - 11

JO - Environmental Research Letters

JF - Environmental Research Letters

SN - 1748-9326

IS - 3

M1 - 034014

ER -