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Quantity and quality of soil organic matter in permafrost terrain
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology.
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

High latitude terrestrial ecosystems are considered key components in the global carbon (C) cycle and hold large reservoirs of soil organic carbon (SOC). Much of this is stored as soil organic matter (SOM) in permafrost soils and peat deposits and is vulnerable to remobilization under future global warming. While the large size and potential vulnerability of arctic SOM reservoirs is recognized, detailed knowledge on its landscape partitioning and quality is poor. This thesis describes total storage, landscape partitioning and lability of SOM stored in permafrost areas of Canada and Russia. Detailed studies of SOC partitioning highlight the importance of especially permafrost peatlands, but also of O-horizons in moist tundra soils and cryoturbated soil horizons. A general characterization of SOM in an area of discontinuous permafrost shows that >70% of the SOC in the landscape is stored in SOM with a low degree of decomposition. Projections of permafrost thaw predict that the amount of SOC stored in the active layer of permafrost soils in this area could double by the end of this century. A lateral expansion of current thermokarst lakes by 30 m would expose comparable amounts of SOC to degradation. The results from this thesis have demonstrated the value of high-resolution studies of SOC storage. It is found that peat plateaus, common in the sporadic and discontinuous permafrost zones, store large quantities of labile SOM and may be highly susceptible to permafrost degradation, especially thermokarst, under future climate warming. Large quantities of labile SOM is also stored in cryoturbated soil horizons which may be affected by active layer warming and deepening. The current upscaling methodology is statistically evaluated and recommendations are given for the design of future studies. To accurately predict responses of periglacial C pools to a warming climate detailed studies of SOC storage and partitioning in different periglacial landscapes are needed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology (INK), Stockholm University , 2011. , 38 p.
Series
Dissertations from the Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology, ISSN 1653-7211 ; 26
Keyword [en]
carbon, soil organic matter, soil organic carbon, permafrost, arctic, upscaling, peat plateau, cryoturbation, active layer, thermokarst, carbon/nitrogen ratio, stable isotopes, humification
National Category
Physical Geography
Research subject
Physical Geography
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-54041ISBN: 978-91-7447-207-3 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-54041DiVA: diva2:391890
Public defence
2011-02-25, De Geer salen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 8, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note
At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 3, 4 and 5: Manuscripts.Available from: 2011-02-03 Created: 2011-01-25 Last updated: 2012-01-13Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Soil Organic Carbon Pools in a Periglacial Landscape; a Case Study from the Central Canadian Arctic
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Soil Organic Carbon Pools in a Periglacial Landscape; a Case Study from the Central Canadian Arctic
2010 (English)In: Permafrost and Periglacial Processes, ISSN 1045-6740, E-ISSN 1099-1530, Vol. 21, no 1, 16-29 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

We investigated total storage and landscape partitioning of soil organic carbon (SOC) in continuous permafrost terrain, central Canadian Arctic. The study is based on soil chemical analyses of pedons sampled to 1-m depth at 35 individual sites along three transects. Radiocarbon dating of cryoturbated soil pockets, basal peat and fossil wood shows that cryoturbation processes have been occurring since the Middle Holocene and that peat deposits started to accumulate in a forest-tundra environment where spruce was present (∼6000 cal yrs BP). Detailed partitioning of SOC into surface organic horizons, cryoturbated soil pockets and non-cryoturbated mineral soil horizons is calculated (with storage in active layer and permafrost calculated separately) and explored using principal component analysis. The detailed partitioning and mean storage of SOC in the landscape are estimated from transect vegetation inventories and a land cover classification based on a Landsat satellite image. Mean SOC storage in the 0–100-cm depth interval is 33.8 kg C m−2, of which 11.8 kg C m−2 is in permafrost. Fifty-six per cent of the total SOC mass is stored in peatlands (mainly bogs), but cryoturbated soil pockets in Turbic Cryosols also contribute significantly (17%). Elemental C/N ratios indicate that this cryoturbated soil organic matter (SOM) decomposes more slowly than SOM in surface O-horizons.

Keyword
soil organic carbon pools, tundra land cover classification, peatlands, cryoturbation, permafrost
National Category
Physical Geography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-38632 (URN)10.1002/ppp.677 (DOI)000275776100002 ()
Available from: 2010-04-22 Created: 2010-04-22 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved
2. Landscape partitioning and environmental gradient analyses of soil organic carbon in a permafrost environment
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Landscape partitioning and environmental gradient analyses of soil organic carbon in a permafrost environment
2009 (English)In: Global Biogeochemical Cycles, ISSN 0886-6236, Vol. 23, no GB3006Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study investigates landscape allocation and environmental gradients in soil organic carbon (C) storage in northeastern European Russia. The lowlands of the investigated Usa River Basin range from taiga with isolated permafrost to tundra vegetation on continuous permafrost. We compile and analyze databases on soil properties, permafrost, vegetation, and modeled climate. Mean soil C storage is estimated at 38.3 kg C m−2, with similar amounts in taiga and tundra regions. Permafrost soils hold 42% of the total soil C in the area. Peatlands dominate soil C storage with 72% of the total pool and 98% of permafrost C. Multivariate gradient analyses show that local vegetation and permafrost are strong predictors of soil chemical properties, overshadowing the effect of climate variables. This study highlights the importance of peatlands, particularly bogs, in bulk soil C storage. Soil organic matter stored in permafrost has higher C:N ratios than unfrozen material. Permafrost bogs constitute the main vulnerable C pool in the region. Remobilization of this frozen C can occur through gradual but widespread deepening of the active layer with subsequent talik formation or through more rapid but localized thermokarst erosion.

Keyword
Soil Carbon
National Category
Physical Geography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-31242 (URN)10.1029/2008GB003419 (DOI)000267935700002 ()
Projects
CARBO-North
Available from: 2009-11-09 Created: 2009-11-09 Last updated: 2011-01-29Bibliographically approved
3. Chemical characteristics and lability of soil organic matter in permafrost terrain, European Russian Arctic
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Chemical characteristics and lability of soil organic matter in permafrost terrain, European Russian Arctic
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Physical Geography
Research subject
Physical Geography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-54063 (URN)
Available from: 2011-01-25 Created: 2011-01-25 Last updated: 2011-01-29Bibliographically approved
4. High-resolution mapping of ecosystem carbon storage and potential effects of permafrost thaw in periglacial terrain, European Russian Arctic
Open this publication in new window or tab >>High-resolution mapping of ecosystem carbon storage and potential effects of permafrost thaw in periglacial terrain, European Russian Arctic
Show others...
2011 (English)In: Journal of Geophysical Research, ISSN 0148-0227, E-ISSN 2156-2202, Vol. 116, G03024- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study describes detailed partitioning of phytomass carbon (C) and soil organic carbon (SOC) for four study areas in discontinuous permafrost terrain, Northeast European Russia. The mean aboveground phytomass C storage is 0.7 kg C m(-2). Estimated landscape SOC storage in the four areas varies between 34.5 and 47.0 kg C m(-2) with LCC (land cover classification) upscaling and 32.5-49.0 kg C m(-2) with soil map upscaling. A nested upscaling approach using a Landsat thematic mapper land cover classification for the surrounding region provides estimates within 5 +/- 5% of the local high-resolution estimates. Permafrost peat plateaus hold the majority of total and frozen SOC, especially in the more southern study areas. Burying of SOC through cryoturbation of O- or A-horizons contributes between 1% and 16% (mean 5%) of total landscape SOC. The effect of active layer deepening and thermokarst expansion on SOC remobilization is modeled for one of the four areas. The active layer thickness dynamics from 1980 to 2099 is modeled using a transient spatially distributed permafrost model and lateral expansion of peat plateau thermokarst lakes is simulated using geographic information system analyses. Active layer deepening is expected to increase the proportion of SOC affected by seasonal thawing from 29% to 58%. A lateral expansion of 30 m would increase the amount of SOC stored in thermokarst lakes/fens from 2% to 22% of all SOC. By the end of this century, active layer deepening will likely affect more SOC than thermokarst expansion, but the SOC stores vulnerable to thermokarst are less decomposed.

National Category
Natural Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-68309 (URN)10.1029/2010JG001606 (DOI)000294368900001 ()
Note
authorCount :8Available from: 2012-01-13 Created: 2012-01-03 Last updated: 2017-12-08Bibliographically approved
5. Estimating soil organic carbon storage in permafrost terrain: an evaluation of sample sizes, spatial resolution and error estimates
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Estimating soil organic carbon storage in permafrost terrain: an evaluation of sample sizes, spatial resolution and error estimates
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Physical Geography
Research subject
Physical Geography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-54070 (URN)
Available from: 2011-01-25 Created: 2011-01-25 Last updated: 2011-01-29Bibliographically approved

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