Variation in soil CO2 fluxes across land cover mosaic in typical tundra of the Taimyr Peninsula, Siberia

Panov A., Prokushkin A., Korets M., Putilin I., Zrazhevskaya G., Kolosov R. & Bondar M.
15(6): 698 [20 p.]
Increased warming in the Arctic is of great concern. This is particularly due to permafrost degradation, which is expected to accelerate microbial breakdown of soil organic carbon, with its further release into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide (CO2). The fine-scale variability of CO2 fluxes across highly mosaic Arctic tundra landscapes can provide us with insights into the diverse responses of individual plant communities to environmental change. In the paper, we contribute to filling existing gaps by investigating the variability of CO2 flux rates within different landscape units for dominant vegetation communities and plant species across typical tundra of the southern part of the Taimyr Peninsula, Siberia. In general, the variability of soil CO2 flux illustrates a four-fold increase from non-vascular vegetation, mainly lichens and mosses (1.05 ± 0.36 µmol m−2 s−1), towards vascular plants (3.59 ± 0.51 µmol m−2 s−1). Barren ground (“frost boils”) shows the lowest value of 0.79 ± 0.21 µmol m−2 s−1, while considering the Arctic “browning” phenomenon, a further substantial increase of CO2 flux can be expected with shrub expansion. Given the high correlation with top soil temperature, well-drained and relatively dry habitats such as barren ground and non-vascular vegetation are expected to be the most sensitive to the observed and projected temperature growth in the Arctic. For mixed vegetation and vascular species that favor wetter conditions, soil moisture appears to play a greater role. Based on the modeled seasonal pattern of soil CO2 flux and precipitation records, and applying the rainfall simulations in situ we outlined the role of precipitation across enhanced CO2 emissions (i.e., the “Birch” effect). We found that a pulse-like growth of soil CO2 fluxes, observed within the first few minutes after rainfall on vegetated plots, reaches 0.99 ± 0.48 µmol m−2 s−1 per each 1 mm of precipitation, while barren ground shows 55–70% inhibition of CO2 emission during the first several hours. An average additive effect of precipitation on soil CO2 flux may achieve 7–12% over the entire growing season, while the projected increased precipitation regime in the Arctic may strengthen the total CO2 release from the soil surface to the atmosphere during the growing season. Keywords: climate; Arctic; tundra; vegetation; carbon dioxide; chamber measurements.
Sunday, 09 June 2024 15:59