Climate change impacts peatland CO2 gas exchange primarily via moisture conditions

April 08, 2019

Northern peatlands store approximately one third of global soil carbon, namely around 500 gigatons. Because the peatland carbon cycling is largely controlled by partly anaerobic soil conditions, the carbon stored in these soils is extremely vulnerable to climate warming that is expected to reduce soil moisture and therefore increase soil aeration. Understanding the interactions between warming and soil moisture is particularly important in peatland types found in boreal and arctic areas expected to experience high rates of climate warming. This region happens to be the core area for northern peatlands and therefore increased mineralization could have high potential to further accelerate climate change.

A new study led by researchers from the University of Eastern Finland and Natural Resources Institute Finland suggests that peatland CO2 exchange is more strongly influenced by drying than warming as such, and that soil moisture may be critical to determining whether fen ecosystems are able to adapt to a changing climate. The study was recently published in Global Change Biology - a leading journal in environmental science.

The research is based on a four-year field experiment in two Finnish fens subjected to warming and water level drawdown. The authors monitored photosynthesis, respiration, and net CO2 exchange during third and fourth experimental growing seasons. While warming had little effect on any gas flux component, dryer conditions were associated with increased photosynthesis and respiration, and warming intensified the impacts of drying so that in one site CO2 uptake decreased. Based on these results, in northern fens the water table has a decisive role in regulating how much the increased temperature impacts the CO2 exchange.
-end-
The research was funded by the Academy of Finland (projects 138041, 287039, 140863).

For further information please contact:

Dr Anna Laine, tel. +358400826419, anna.laine-petajakangas@uef.fi

Dr Eeva-Stiina Tuittila tel. +358294453535, eeva-stiina.tuittila@uef.fi

Research article:

Laine, A. M., Mäkiranta, P., Laiho, R., Mehtätalo, L., Penttilä, T., Korrensalo, A., Minkkinen, K., Fritze, H. & Tuittila, E. S. (2019). Warming impacts on boreal fen CO2 exchange under wet and dry conditions. Global change biology. https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.14617

University of Eastern Finland

Related Soil Moisture Articles from Brightsurf:

RUDN University soil scientist: Deforestation affects the bacterial composition of the soil
A soil scientist from RUDN University studied the effect of forest conversion on the properties of the soil: its acidity, carbon and nitrogen resources, bacterial composition, and the activity of microorganisms.

Transparent soil-like substances provide window on soil ecology
By using two different transparent soil substitutes, scientists have shown that soil bacteria rely on fungi to help them survive dry periods, says a study published today in eLife.

Short-term moisture removal can eliminate downy mildew of spinach
Scientists at the University of Arkansas explored the relationship between available moisture and disease establishment and in a recent article they demonstrated that removing moisture decreased both spore survival and disease.

Self-watering soil could transform farming
A new type of soil created by engineers at The University of Texas at Austin can pull water from the air and distribute it to plants, potentially expanding the map of farmable land around the globe to previously inhospitable places and reducing water use in agriculture at a time of growing droughts.

RUDN University soil scientist: Paddy soil fertilization can help reduce greenhouse effect
A soil scientist from RUDN University discovered the effect of fertilization on the ability of the soil to retain carbon.

Soil bogging caused by climate change adds to the greenhouse effect, says a RUDN University soil sci
A soil scientist from RUDN University studied soil samples collected at the Tibetan Plateau and discovered that high soil moisture content (caused by the melting of permafrost and glaciers) leads to further temperature increase.

Global warming threatens soil phosphorus, says a soil scientist from RUDN University
A soil scientist from RUDN University found out that the resources of organic phosphorus in the soils of the Tibetan Plateau could be depleted because of global warming.

Iron is to blame for carbon dioxide emissions from soil, says a soil scientists from RUDN
Iron minerals and bacteria can be the main agents of carbon dioxide emissions from the soil.

Heavy metals make soil enzymes 3 times weaker, says a soil scientist from RUDN University
Heavy metals suppress enzyme activity in the soil by 3-3.5 times and have especially prominent effect on the enzymes that support carbon and sulfur circulation.

A continuous simulation of Holocene effective moisture change in East and Central Asia
Based on a transient climate evolution model, a lake energy balance model and a lake water balance model, the effective moisture change during the Holocene in East and Central Asia is continuously and quantitatively traced by constructing a virtual lake system.

Read More: Soil Moisture News and Soil Moisture Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.