Carbon storage along a latitudinal transect in Alaska

  • Ping C
  • Michaelson G
  • Kimble J
  • 39

    Readers

    Mendeley users who have this article in their library.
  • 49

    Citations

    Citations of this article.

Abstract

Global warming is anticipated to have a significant impact on high-latitude ecosystems which store large amounts of C in their soils and have a predominance of permafrost. The purpose of this study was to estimate the total C storage of different ecosystems along a north-south transect in Alaska. Soil pedons from three Alaska climate zones were studied. These zones were the arctic slope with continuous permafrost and vegetation predominantly tussock tundra and coastal marsh, Interior Alaska with discontinuous permafrost and vegetation predominantly spruce forest on the upland and tundra or bog in the lowland, and Southern Alaska free of permafrost with the vegetation predominantly mixed hardwood and conifers with moss bogs. Soil samples were taken from the representative ecosystems of these zones for carbon storage analysis. In the Arctic and Interior Alaska zones, many soils are cryoturbated and as a result the horizons are warped and often broken. These conditions made it impractical to use the common method for estimating C storage that is used for soils with roughly parallel horizons. For this study the linear proportion of each horizon in the cryoturbated pedon was digitized by using a Geographic Information System (GIS) and the irregular horizons were collapsed to form a simulated profile with parallel horizons. The carbon content of each pedon was then calculated based on the linear proportions. These carbon stores based on the whole soil (1 m deep) approach were compared to other available estimates from the literature. Calculations for pedons from selected ecosystems in Alaska ranged from 169 MgC/ha to 1292 MgC/ha. The organic carbon storage of the arctic coastal marsh pedon amounted to 692 MgC/ha, and that of the arctic tundra pedon amounted to 314 and 599 MgC/ha. The carbon storage of interior forest pedons was 169 and 787 MgC/ha, and the associated organic soil stored nearly 1300 MgC/ha. The carbon storage in the mixed forest and coastal forest pedons was 240 and 437 MgC/ha, respectively. The bog associated with the mixed and coastal forest stored 1260 MgC/ha. Soils with the thickest organic layers were bogs associated with the tundra and boreal forest. These soils had the largest carbon storage. Carbon stores estimated from the whole pedon approach are 30 to 100% higher than those from the literature from the same zones. These data suggest that the global carbon storage estimates based in part on literature values from the N. latitudes, may be underestimated

Author-supplied keywords

  • ALASKA
  • ARCTIC TUNDRA
  • BOG
  • BOGS
  • CARBON
  • CLIMATE
  • DISCONTINUOUS PERMAFROST
  • ECOSYSTEM
  • ECOSYSTEMS
  • FOREST
  • Histosols
  • IMPACT
  • INTERIOR ALASKA
  • MOSSES
  • N
  • ORGANIC-CARBON
  • SAMPLES
  • SOIL
  • SOILS
  • SPRUCE
  • SPRUCE FOREST
  • STORAGE
  • TAIGA ECOSYSTEMS
  • VEGETATION
  • arctic
  • boreal
  • boreal forest
  • boreal forest soils
  • carbon content
  • carbon storage
  • conifers
  • global carbon
  • global warming
  • permafrost
  • tundra

Get free article suggestions today

Mendeley saves you time finding and organizing research

Sign up here
Already have an account ?Sign in

Find this document

Authors

  • C L Ping

  • G J Michaelson

  • J M Kimble

Cite this document

Choose a citation style from the tabs below

Save time finding and organizing research with Mendeley

Sign up for free