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Title: Observational needs for estimating Alaskan soil carbon stocks under current and future climate

Representing land surface spatial heterogeneity when designing observation networks is a critical scientific challenge. Here we present a geospatial approach that utilizes the multivariate spatial heterogeneity of soil-forming factors—namely, climate, topography, land cover types, and surficial geology—to identify observation sites to improve soil organic carbon (SOC) stock estimates across the State of Alaska, USA. Standard deviations in existing SOC samples indicated that 657, 870, and 906 randomly distributed pedons would be required to quantify the average SOC stocks for 0–1 m, 0–2 m, and whole-profile depths, respectively, at a confidence interval of 5 kg C m -2. Using the spatial correlation range of existing SOC samples, we identified that 309, 446, and 484 new observation sites are needed to estimate current SOC stocks to 1 m, 2 m, and whole-profile depths, respectively. We also investigated whether the identified sites might change under future climate by using eight decadal (2020–2099) projections of precipitation, temperature, and length of growing season for three representative concentration pathway (RCP 4.5, 6.0, and 8.5) scenarios of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. These analyses determined that 12 to 41 additional sites (906 + 12 to 41; depending upon the emission scenarios) would be needed to capturemore » the impact of future climate on Alaskan whole-profile SOC stocks by 2100. The identified observation sites represent spatially distributed locations across Alaska that captures the multivariate heterogeneity of soil-forming factors under current and future climatic conditions. This information is needed for designing monitoring networks and benchmarking of Earth system model results.« less
ORCiD logo [1] ; ORCiD logo [2] ; ORCiD logo [2] ;  [2] ;  [3]
  1. Univ. of Peradeniya (Sri Lanka)
  2. Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States)
  3. Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States); USDA-ARS Jornada Experimental Range, Las Cruces, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
Published Article
Journal Name:
Journal of Geophysical Research. Biogeosciences
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 122; Journal Issue: 2; Journal ID: ISSN 2169-8953
American Geophysical Union
Research Org:
Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23)
Country of Publication:
United States
58 GEOSCIENCES; 54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; Permafrost; Sampling; Soil organic carbon; Spatial heterogeneity
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1344317; OSTI ID: 1392295