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Title: Massive peatland carbon banks vulnerable to rising temperatures

Abstract

Peatlands contain one-third of the world’s soil carbon (C). If destabilized, decomposition of this vast C bank could accelerate climate warming; however, the likelihood of this outcome remains unknown. Here, we examine peatland C stability through five years of whole-ecosystem warming and two years of elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations (eCO 2). Warming exponentially increased methane (CH 4) emissions and enhanced CH 4 production rates throughout the entire soil profile; although surface CH 4 production rates remain much greater than those at depth. Additionally, older deeper C sources played a larger role in decomposition following prolonged warming. Most troubling, decreases in CO 2:CH 4 ratios in gas production, porewater concentrations, and emissions, indicate that the peatland is becoming more methanogenic with warming. We observed limited evidence of eCO 2 effects. Our results suggest that ecosystem responses are largely driven by surface peat, but that the vast C bank at depth in peatlands is responsive to prolonged warming.

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1];  [2]; ORCiD logo [3];  [4];  [2]; ORCiD logo [3]; ORCiD logo [5];  [4];  [6]
  1. Univ. of Oregon, Eugene, OR (United States); Chapman Univ., Orange, CA (United States); Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
  2. Florida State Univ., Tallahassee, FL (United States)
  3. Georgia Inst. of Technology, Atlanta, GA (United States)
  4. Chapman Univ., Orange, CA (United States)
  5. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
  6. Univ. of Oregon, Eugene, OR (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States); Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER)
OSTI Identifier:
1630519
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1638023
Report Number(s):
PNNL-SA-154135
Journal ID: ISSN 2041-1723
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC05-00OR22725; SC0014416; SC00008092; SC0007144; SC0012088; AC05-76RL01830
Resource Type:
Journal Article: Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Nature Communications
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 11; Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 2041-1723
Publisher:
Nature Publishing Group
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; Carbon cycle; climate-change ecology; carbon cycle, climate change ecology

Citation Formats

Hopple, A. M., Wilson, R. M., Kolton, M., Zalman, C. A., Chanton, J. P., Kostka, J., Hanson, P. J., Keller, J. K., and Bridgham, S. D. Massive peatland carbon banks vulnerable to rising temperatures. United States: N. p., 2020. Web. doi:10.1038/s41467-020-16311-8.
Hopple, A. M., Wilson, R. M., Kolton, M., Zalman, C. A., Chanton, J. P., Kostka, J., Hanson, P. J., Keller, J. K., & Bridgham, S. D. Massive peatland carbon banks vulnerable to rising temperatures. United States. doi:10.1038/s41467-020-16311-8.
Hopple, A. M., Wilson, R. M., Kolton, M., Zalman, C. A., Chanton, J. P., Kostka, J., Hanson, P. J., Keller, J. K., and Bridgham, S. D. Tue . "Massive peatland carbon banks vulnerable to rising temperatures". United States. doi:10.1038/s41467-020-16311-8. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1630519.
@article{osti_1630519,
title = {Massive peatland carbon banks vulnerable to rising temperatures},
author = {Hopple, A. M. and Wilson, R. M. and Kolton, M. and Zalman, C. A. and Chanton, J. P. and Kostka, J. and Hanson, P. J. and Keller, J. K. and Bridgham, S. D.},
abstractNote = {Peatlands contain one-third of the world’s soil carbon (C). If destabilized, decomposition of this vast C bank could accelerate climate warming; however, the likelihood of this outcome remains unknown. Here, we examine peatland C stability through five years of whole-ecosystem warming and two years of elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations (eCO2). Warming exponentially increased methane (CH4) emissions and enhanced CH4 production rates throughout the entire soil profile; although surface CH4 production rates remain much greater than those at depth. Additionally, older deeper C sources played a larger role in decomposition following prolonged warming. Most troubling, decreases in CO2:CH4 ratios in gas production, porewater concentrations, and emissions, indicate that the peatland is becoming more methanogenic with warming. We observed limited evidence of eCO2 effects. Our results suggest that ecosystem responses are largely driven by surface peat, but that the vast C bank at depth in peatlands is responsive to prolonged warming.},
doi = {10.1038/s41467-020-16311-8},
journal = {Nature Communications},
issn = {2041-1723},
number = 1,
volume = 11,
place = {United States},
year = {2020},
month = {5}
}

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