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Author ORCID ID is 0000000250679977
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  1. Climate warming can result in both abiotic (e.g., permafrost thaw) and biotic (e.g., microbial functional genes) changes in Arctic tundra. Recent research has incorporated dynamic permafrost thaw in Earth system models (ESMs) and indicates that Arctic tundra could be a significant future carbon (C) source due to the enhanced decomposition of thawed deep soil C. However, warming-induced biotic changes may influence biologically related parameters and the consequent projections in ESMs. How model parameters associated with biotic responses will change under warming and to what extent these changes affect projected C budgets have not been carefully examined. Here in this study,more » we synthesized six data sets over 5 years from a soil warming experiment at the Eight Mile Lake, Alaska, into the Terrestrial ECOsystem (TECO) model with a probabilistic inversion approach. The TECO model used multiple soil layers to track dynamics of thawed soil under different treatments. Our results show that warming increased light use efficiency of vegetation photosynthesis but decreased baseline (i.e., environment-corrected) turnover rates of SOC in both the fast and slow pools in comparison with those under control. Moreover, the parameter changes generally amplified over time, suggesting processes of gradual physiological acclimation and functional gene shifts of both plants and microbes. The TECO model predicted that field warming from 2009 to 2013 resulted in cumulative C losses of 224 or 87 g/m 2, respectively, without or with changes in those parameters. Thus, warming-induced parameter changes reduced predicted soil C loss by 61%. Our study suggests that it is critical to incorporate biotic changes in ESMs to improve the model performance in predicting C dynamics in permafrost regions.« less
  2. The ability to forecast ecological carbon cycling is imperative to land management in a world where past carbon fluxes are no longer a clear guide in the Anthropocene. However, carbon–flux forecasting has not been practiced routinely like numerical weather prediction. This study explored (1) the relative contributions of model forcing data and parameters to uncertainty in forecasting flux– versus pool–based carbon cycle variables and (2) the time points when temperature and CO 2 treatments may cause statistically detectable differences in those variables. We developed an online forecasting workflow (Ecological Platform for Assimilation of Data (EcoPAD)), which facilitates iterative data–model integration.more » EcoPAD automates data transfer from sensor networks, data assimilation, and ecological forecasting. We used the Spruce and Peatland Responses Under Changing Experiments data collected from 2011 to 2014 to constrain the parameters in the Terrestrial Ecosystem Model, forecast carbon cycle responses to elevated CO 2 and a gradient of warming from 2015 to 2024, and specify uncertainties in the model output. Our results showed that data assimilation substantially reduces forecasting uncertainties. Interestingly, we found that the stochasticity of future external forcing contributed more to the uncertainty of forecasting future dynamics of C flux–related variables than model parameters. However, the parameter uncertainty primarily contributes to the uncertainty in forecasting C pool–related response variables. Given the uncertainties in forecasting carbon fluxes and pools, our analysis showed that statistically different responses of fast–turnover pools to various CO 2 and warming treatments were observed sooner than slow–turnover pools. In conclusion, our study has identified the sources of uncertainties in model prediction and thus leads to improve ecological carbon cycling forecasts in the future.« less
  3. Uptake of anthropogenically emitted carbon (C) dioxide by terrestrial ecosystem is critical for determining future climate. However, Earth system models project large uncertainties in future C storage. To help identify sources of uncertainties in model predictions, this study develops a transient traceability framework to trace components of C storage dynamics. Transient C storage (X) can be decomposed into two components, C storage capacity (X c) and C storage potential (X p). X c is the maximum C amount that an ecosystem can potentially store and Xp represents the internal capacity of an ecosystem to equilibrate C input and output formore » a network of pools. X c is codetermined by net primary production (NPP) and residence time (τ N), with the latter being determined by allocation coefficients, transfer coefficients, environmental scalar, and exit rate. X p is the product of redistribution matrix (τ ch) and net ecosystem exchange. We applied this framework to two contrasting ecosystems, Duke Forest and Harvard Forest with an ecosystem model. This framework helps identify the mechanisms underlying the responses of carbon cycling in the two forests to climate change. The temporal trajectories of X are similar between the two ecosystems. Using this framework, we found that different mechanisms lead to a similar trajectory between the two ecosystems. Furthermore, this framework has potential to reveal mechanisms behind transient C storage in response to various global change factors. Furthermore, tt can also identify sources of uncertainties in predicted transient C storage across models and can therefore be useful for model intercomparison.« less
  4. Large uncertainties exist in predicting responses of wetland methane (CH 4) fluxes to future climate change. However, sources of the uncertainty have not been clearly identified despite the fact that methane production and emission processes have been extensively explored. In this study, we took advantage of manual CH 4 flux measurements under ambient environment from 2011 to 2014 at the Spruce and Peatland Responses Under Changing Environments (SPRUCE) experimental site and developed a data-informed process-based methane module. The module was incorporated into the Terrestrial ECOsystem (TECO) model before its parameters were constrained with multiple years of methane flux data formore » forecasting CH 4 emission under five warming and two elevated CO 2 treatments at SPRUCE. We found that 9°C warming treatments significantly increased methane emission by approximately 400%, and elevated CO 2 treatments stimulated methane emission by 10.4%–23.6% in comparison with ambient conditions. The relative contribution of plant-mediated transport to methane emission decreased from 96% at the control to 92% at the 9°C warming, largely to compensate for an increase in ebullition. The uncertainty in plant-mediated transportation and ebullition increased with warming and contributed to the overall changes of emissions uncertainties. At the same time, our modeling results indicated a significant increase in the emitted CH 4:CO 2 ratio. This result, together with the larger warming potential of CH 4, will lead to a strong positive feedback from terrestrial ecosystems to climate warming. In conclusion, the model-data fusion approach used in this study enabled parameter estimation and uncertainty quantification for forecasting methane fluxes.« less
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