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Long-term experimentally deepened snow decreases growing-season respiration in a low- and high-arctic tundra ecosystem
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences. Institute for Arctic and Marine Biology, UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø, Norway; Center for Permafrost, Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark; University Center in Svalbard, Longyearbyen, Norway.
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2016 (English)In: Journal of Geophysical Research - Biogeosciences, ISSN 2169-8953, E-ISSN 2169-8961, Vol. 121, no 5, 1236-1248 p.Article in journal (Refereed) PublishedText
Abstract [en]

Tundra soils store large amounts of carbon (C) that could be released through enhanced ecosystem respiration (ER) as the arctic warms. Over time, this may change the quantity and quality of available soil C pools, which in-turn may feedback and regulate ER responses to climate warming. Therefore, short-term increases in ER rates due to experimental warming may not be sustained over longer periods, as observed in other studies. One important aspect, which is often overlooked, is how climatic changes affecting ER in one season may carry-over and determine ER in following seasons. Using snow fences, we increased snow depth and thereby winter soil temperatures in a high-arctic site in Svalbard (78 degrees N) and a low-arctic site in the Northwest Territories, Canada (64 degrees N), for 5 and 9years, respectively. Deepened snow enhanced winter ER while having negligible effect on growing-season soil temperatures and soil moisture. Growing-season ER at the high-arctic site was not affected by the snow treatment after 2years. However, surprisingly, the deepened snow treatments significantly reduced growing-season ER rates after 5years at the high-arctic site and after 8-9years at the low-arctic site. We speculate that the reduction in ER rates, that became apparent only after several years of experimental manipulation, may, at least in part, be due to prolonged depletion of labile C substrate as a result of warmer soils over multiple cold seasons. Long-term changes in winter climate may therefore significantly influence annual net C balance not just because of increased wintertime C loss but also because of legacy effects on ER rates during the following growing seasons.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 121, no 5, 1236-1248 p.
Keyword [en]
ecosystem respiration, cold season, climate change, snow fence, winter
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URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-124203DOI: 10.1002/2015JG003251ISI: 000378703200002OAI: diva2:950918
Available from: 2016-08-03 Created: 2016-07-28 Last updated: 2016-08-03Bibliographically approved

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Semenchuk, Philipp R.
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