Biomass offsets little or none of permafrost carbon release from soils, streams, and wildfire: an expert assessment

B.W. Abbott, J.B. Jones, E.A.G. Schuur, F.S. Chapin III, W.B. Bowden, M.S. Bret-Harte, H.E. Epstein, M.D. Flannigan, T.K. Harms, T.N. Hollingsworth, M.C. Mack, A.D. McGuire, S.M. Natali, A.V. Rocha, S.E. Tank, M.R. Turetsky, J.E. Vonk, K.P. Wickland, G.R. Aiken, H.D. Alexander & 80 others R.M.W. Amon, B.W. Benscoter, Y. Bergeron, K. Bishop, O. Blarquez, B. Bond-Lamberty, A.L. Breen, I. Buffam, Y. Cai, C. Carcaillet, S.K. Carey, J.M. Chen, H.Y.H. Chen, T.R. Christensen, L.W. Cooper, J.H.C. Cornelissen, W.J. de Groot, T.H. DeLuca, E. Dorrepaal, N. Fetcher, J.C. Finlay, B.C. Forbes, N.H.F. French, S. Gauthier, M.P. Girardin, S.J. Goetz, J.G. Goldammer, L. Gough, P. Grogan, L. Guo, P.E. Higuera, L. Hinzman, F.S. Hu, G. Hugelius, E.E. Jafarov, R. Jandt, J.F. Johnstone, J. Karlsson, E.S. Kasischke, G. Kattner, R. Kelly, F. Keuper, G.W. Kling, P. Kortelainen, J. Kouki, P. Kuhry, H. Laudon, I. Laurion, R.W. Macdonald, P.J. Mann, P.J. Martikainen, J.W. McClelland, U. Molau, S.F. Oberbauer, D. Olefeldt, D. Paré, M.-A. Parisien, S. Payette, C. Peng, O.S. Pokrovsky, E.B. Rastetter, P.A. Raymond, M.K. Raynolds, G. Rein, J.F. Reynolds, M. Robards, B.M. Rogers, C. Schädel, K. Schaefer, I.K. Schmidt, A. Shvidenko, J. Sky, R.G.M. Spencer, G. Starr, R.G. Striegl, R. Teisserenc, L.J. Tranvik, T. Virtanen, J.M. Welker, S. Zimov

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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
Article number034014
JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
Volume11
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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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

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Abbott, B. W., Jones, J. B., Schuur, E. A. G., Chapin III, 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
Abbott, B.W. ; Jones, J.B. ; Schuur, E.A.G. ; Chapin III, F.S. ; Bowden, W.B. ; Bret-Harte, M.S. ; Epstein, H.E. ; Flannigan, M.D. ; Harms, T.K. ; Hollingsworth, T.N. ; Mack, M.C. ; McGuire, A.D. ; Natali, S.M. ; Rocha, A.V. ; Tank, S.E. ; Turetsky, M.R. ; Vonk, J.E. ; Wickland, K.P. ; Aiken, G.R. ; Alexander, H.D. ; Amon, R.M.W. ; Benscoter, B.W. ; Bergeron, Y. ; Bishop, K. ; Blarquez, O. ; Bond-Lamberty, B. ; Breen, A.L. ; Buffam, I. ; Cai, Y. ; Carcaillet, C. ; Carey, S.K. ; Chen, J.M. ; Chen, H.Y.H. ; Christensen, T.R. ; Cooper, L.W. ; Cornelissen, J.H.C. ; de Groot, W.J. ; DeLuca, T.H. ; Dorrepaal, E. ; Fetcher, N. ; Finlay, J.C. ; Forbes, B.C. ; French, N.H.F. ; Gauthier, S. ; Girardin, M.P. ; Goetz, S.J. ; Goldammer, J.G. ; Gough, L. ; Grogan, P. ; Guo, L. ; Higuera, P.E. ; Hinzman, L. ; Hu, F.S. ; Hugelius, G. ; Jafarov, E.E. ; Jandt, R. ; Johnstone, J.F. ; Karlsson, J. ; Kasischke, E.S. ; Kattner, G. ; Kelly, R. ; Keuper, F. ; Kling, G.W. ; Kortelainen, P. ; Kouki, J. ; Kuhry, P. ; Laudon, H. ; Laurion, I. ; Macdonald, R.W. ; Mann, P.J. ; Martikainen, P.J. ; McClelland, J.W. ; Molau, U. ; Oberbauer, S.F. ; Olefeldt, D. ; Paré, D. ; Parisien, M.-A. ; Payette, S. ; Peng, C. ; Pokrovsky, O.S. ; Rastetter, E.B. ; Raymond, P.A. ; Raynolds, M.K. ; Rein, G. ; Reynolds, J.F. ; Robards, M. ; Rogers, B.M. ; Schädel, C. ; Schaefer, K. ; Schmidt, I.K. ; Shvidenko, A. ; Sky, J. ; Spencer, R.G.M. ; Starr, G. ; Striegl, R.G. ; Teisserenc, R. ; Tranvik, L.J. ; Virtanen, T. ; Welker, J.M. ; Zimov, S. / 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.",
author = "B.W. Abbott and J.B. Jones and E.A.G. Schuur and {Chapin III}, F.S. and W.B. Bowden and M.S. Bret-Harte and H.E. Epstein and M.D. Flannigan and T.K. Harms and T.N. Hollingsworth and M.C. Mack and A.D. McGuire and S.M. Natali and A.V. Rocha and S.E. Tank and M.R. Turetsky and J.E. Vonk and K.P. Wickland and G.R. Aiken and H.D. Alexander and R.M.W. Amon and B.W. Benscoter and Y. Bergeron and K. Bishop and O. Blarquez and B. Bond-Lamberty and A.L. Breen and I. Buffam and Y. Cai and C. Carcaillet and S.K. Carey and J.M. Chen and H.Y.H. Chen and T.R. Christensen and L.W. Cooper and J.H.C. Cornelissen and {de Groot}, W.J. and T.H. DeLuca and E. Dorrepaal and N. Fetcher and J.C. Finlay and B.C. Forbes and N.H.F. French and S. Gauthier and M.P. Girardin and S.J. Goetz and J.G. Goldammer and L. Gough and P. Grogan and L. Guo and P.E. Higuera and L. Hinzman and F.S. Hu and G. Hugelius and E.E. Jafarov and R. Jandt and J.F. Johnstone and J. Karlsson and E.S. Kasischke and G. Kattner and R. Kelly and F. Keuper and G.W. Kling and P. Kortelainen and J. Kouki and P. Kuhry and H. Laudon and I. Laurion and R.W. Macdonald and P.J. Mann and P.J. Martikainen and J.W. McClelland and U. Molau and S.F. Oberbauer and D. Olefeldt and D. Par{\'e} and M.-A. Parisien and S. Payette and C. Peng and O.S. Pokrovsky and E.B. Rastetter and P.A. Raymond and M.K. Raynolds and G. Rein and J.F. Reynolds and M. Robards and B.M. Rogers and C. Sch{\"a}del and K. Schaefer and I.K. Schmidt and A. Shvidenko and J. Sky and R.G.M. Spencer and G. Starr and R.G. Striegl and R. Teisserenc and L.J. Tranvik and T. Virtanen and J.M. Welker and S. Zimov",
year = "2016",
doi = "10.1088/1748-9326/11/3/034014",
language = "English",
volume = "11",
journal = "Environmental Research Letters",
issn = "1748-9326",
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Abbott, BW, Jones, JB, Schuur, EAG, Chapin III, 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, M-A, Payette, S, Peng, C, Pokrovsky, OS, Rastetter, EB, Raymond, PA, Raynolds, MK, Rein, G, Reynolds, JF, Robards, M, Rogers, BM, Schädel, 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

Biomass offsets little or none of permafrost carbon release from soils, streams, and wildfire: an expert assessment. / Abbott, B.W.; Jones, J.B.; Schuur, E.A.G.; Chapin III, F.S.; Bowden, W.B.; Bret-Harte, M.S.; Epstein, H.E.; Flannigan, M.D.; Harms, T.K.; Hollingsworth, T.N.; Mack, M.C.; McGuire, A.D.; Natali, S.M.; Rocha, A.V.; Tank, S.E.; Turetsky, M.R.; Vonk, J.E.; Wickland, K.P.; Aiken, G.R.; Alexander, H.D.; Amon, R.M.W.; Benscoter, B.W.; Bergeron, Y.; Bishop, K.; Blarquez, O.; Bond-Lamberty, B.; Breen, A.L.; Buffam, I.; Cai, Y.; Carcaillet, C.; Carey, S.K.; Chen, J.M.; Chen, H.Y.H.; Christensen, T.R.; Cooper, L.W.; Cornelissen, J.H.C.; de Groot, W.J.; DeLuca, T.H.; Dorrepaal, E.; Fetcher, N.; Finlay, J.C.; Forbes, B.C.; French, N.H.F.; Gauthier, S.; Girardin, M.P.; Goetz, S.J.; Goldammer, J.G.; Gough, L.; Grogan, P.; Guo, L.; Higuera, P.E.; Hinzman, L.; Hu, F.S.; Hugelius, G.; Jafarov, E.E.; Jandt, R.; Johnstone, J.F.; Karlsson, J.; Kasischke, E.S.; Kattner, G.; Kelly, R.; Keuper, F.; Kling, G.W.; Kortelainen, P.; Kouki, J.; Kuhry, P.; Laudon, H.; Laurion, I.; Macdonald, R.W.; Mann, P.J.; Martikainen, P.J.; McClelland, J.W.; Molau, U.; Oberbauer, S.F.; Olefeldt, D.; Paré, D.; Parisien, M.-A.; Payette, S.; Peng, C.; Pokrovsky, O.S.; Rastetter, E.B.; Raymond, P.A.; Raynolds, M.K.; Rein, G.; Reynolds, J.F.; Robards, M.; Rogers, B.M.; Schädel, C.; Schaefer, K.; Schmidt, I.K.; Shvidenko, A.; Sky, J.; Spencer, R.G.M.; Starr, G.; Striegl, R.G.; Teisserenc, R.; Tranvik, L.J.; Virtanen, T.; Welker, J.M.; Zimov, S.

In: Environmental Research Letters, Vol. 11, No. 3, 034014, 2016.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

TY - JOUR

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

AU - Abbott, B.W.

AU - Jones, J.B.

AU - Schuur, E.A.G.

AU - Chapin III, F.S.

AU - Bowden, W.B.

AU - Bret-Harte, M.S.

AU - Epstein, H.E.

AU - Flannigan, M.D.

AU - Harms, T.K.

AU - Hollingsworth, T.N.

AU - Mack, M.C.

AU - McGuire, A.D.

AU - Natali, S.M.

AU - Rocha, A.V.

AU - Tank, S.E.

AU - Turetsky, M.R.

AU - Vonk, J.E.

AU - Wickland, K.P.

AU - Aiken, G.R.

AU - Alexander, H.D.

AU - Amon, R.M.W.

AU - Benscoter, B.W.

AU - Bergeron, Y.

AU - Bishop, K.

AU - Blarquez, O.

AU - Bond-Lamberty, B.

AU - Breen, A.L.

AU - Buffam, I.

AU - Cai, Y.

AU - Carcaillet, C.

AU - Carey, S.K.

AU - Chen, J.M.

AU - Chen, H.Y.H.

AU - Christensen, T.R.

AU - Cooper, L.W.

AU - Cornelissen, J.H.C.

AU - de Groot, W.J.

AU - DeLuca, T.H.

AU - Dorrepaal, E.

AU - Fetcher, N.

AU - Finlay, J.C.

AU - Forbes, B.C.

AU - French, N.H.F.

AU - Gauthier, S.

AU - Girardin, M.P.

AU - Goetz, S.J.

AU - Goldammer, J.G.

AU - Gough, L.

AU - Grogan, P.

AU - Guo, L.

AU - Higuera, P.E.

AU - Hinzman, L.

AU - Hu, F.S.

AU - Hugelius, G.

AU - Jafarov, E.E.

AU - Jandt, R.

AU - Johnstone, J.F.

AU - Karlsson, J.

AU - Kasischke, E.S.

AU - Kattner, G.

AU - Kelly, R.

AU - Keuper, F.

AU - Kling, G.W.

AU - Kortelainen, P.

AU - Kouki, J.

AU - Kuhry, P.

AU - Laudon, H.

AU - Laurion, I.

AU - Macdonald, R.W.

AU - Mann, P.J.

AU - Martikainen, P.J.

AU - McClelland, J.W.

AU - Molau, U.

AU - Oberbauer, S.F.

AU - Olefeldt, D.

AU - Paré, D.

AU - Parisien, M.-A.

AU - Payette, S.

AU - Peng, C.

AU - Pokrovsky, O.S.

AU - Rastetter, E.B.

AU - Raymond, P.A.

AU - Raynolds, M.K.

AU - Rein, G.

AU - Reynolds, J.F.

AU - Robards, M.

AU - Rogers, B.M.

AU - Schädel, C.

AU - Schaefer, K.

AU - Schmidt, I.K.

AU - Shvidenko, A.

AU - Sky, J.

AU - Spencer, R.G.M.

AU - Starr, G.

AU - Striegl, R.G.

AU - Teisserenc, R.

AU - Tranvik, L.J.

AU - Virtanen, T.

AU - Welker, J.M.

AU - Zimov, S.

PY - 2016

Y1 - 2016

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.

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 -