ISSN / EISSN : 1726-4170 / 1726-4189
Current Publisher: Copernicus GmbH (10.5194)
Total articles ≅ 4,888
Latest articles in this journal
Biogeosciences, Volume 18, pp 3367-3390; doi:10.5194/bg-18-3367-2021
Dissolved organic matter (DOM) connects aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, plays an important role in carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) cycles, and supports aquatic food webs. Understanding DOM chemical composition and reactivity is key for predicting its ecological role, but characterization is difficult as natural DOM is comprised of a large but unknown number of distinct molecules. Photochemistry is one of the environmental processes responsible for changing the molecular composition of DOM, and DOM composition also defines its susceptibility to photochemical alteration. Reliably differentiating the photosensitivity of DOM from different sources can improve our knowledge of how DOM composition is shaped by photochemical alteration and aid research into photochemistry's role in various DOM transformation processes. Here we describe an approach for measuring and comparing DOM photosensitivity consistently, based on the kinetics of changes in DOM fluorescence during 20 h photodegradation experiments. We identify several methodological choices that affect photosensitivity measurements and offer guidelines for adopting our methods, including the use of reference material, precise control of conditions affecting photon dose, leveraging actinometry to estimate photon dose instead of expressing results as a function of exposure time, and frequent (every 20 min) fluorescence and absorbance measurements during exposure to artificial sunlight. We then show that our approach can generate photosensitivity metrics across several sources of DOM, including freshwater wetlands, a stream, an estuary, and Sargassum sp. leachate and observed differences in these metrics that may help identify or explain differences in their composition. Finally, we offer an example of applying our approach to compare DOM photosensitivity in two adjacent freshwater wetlands as seasonal hydrologic changes alter their DOM sources.
Biogeosciences, Volume 18, pp 3409-3419; doi:10.5194/bg-18-3409-2021
Association of organic carbon (OC) with reactive iron (FeR) represents an important mechanism by which OC is protected against remineralisation in soils and marine sediments. Recent studies indicate that the molecular structure of organic compounds and/or the identity of associated FeR phases exert a control on the ability of an OC–FeR complex to be extracted by the citrate–bicarbonate–dithionite (CBD) method. However, many variations of the CBD extraction are used, and these are often uncalibrated to each other, rendering comparisons of OC–FeR values extracted via the different methods impossible. Here, we created synthetic ferrihydrite samples coprecipitated with simple organic structures and subjected these to modifications of the most common CBD method. We altered some of the method parameters (reagent concentration, time of the extraction and sample preparation methods) and measured FeR recovery to determine which (if any) modifications affected the release of FeR from the synthetic sample. We provide an assessment of the reducing capacity of Na dithionite in the CBD method (the amount of Fe reduced by a fixed amount of dithionite) and find that the concentration of dithionite deployed can limit OC–FeR extractability for sediments with a high FeR content. Additionally, we show that extending the length of any CBD extraction offers no benefit in removing FeR. Moreover, we demonstrate that for synthetic OC–FeR samples dominated by ferrihydrite, freeze-drying samples can significantly reduce OC–FeR extractability; this appears to be less of an issue for natural marine sediments where natural ageing mechanisms may mimic the freeze-drying process for more stable Fe phases. While our study is not an all-inclusive method comparison and is not aimed at delivering the “perfect” extraction setup, our findings provide a collected summary of critical factors which influence the efficiency of the CBD extraction for OC–FeR. As such, we provide a platform from which OC–FeR values obtained under different methods can be interpreted and future studies of sediment carbon cycling can build upon.
Biogeosciences, Volume 18, pp 3391-3408; doi:10.5194/bg-18-3391-2021
Tree phenology is a major driver of forest–atmosphere mass and energy exchanges. Yet, tree phenology has rarely been monitored in a consistent way throughout the life of a flux-tower site. Here, we used seasonal time series of ground-based NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index), RGB camera GCC (greenness chromatic coordinate), broadband NDVI, LAI (leaf area index), fAPAR (fraction of absorbed photosynthetic active radiation), CC (canopy closure), fRvis (fraction of reflected radiation) and GPP (gross primary productivity) to predict six phenological markers detecting the start, middle and end of budburst and of leaf senescence in a temperate deciduous forest using an asymmetric double sigmoid function (ADS) fitted to the time series. We compared them to observations of budburst and leaf senescence achieved by field phenologists over a 13-year period. GCC, NDVI and CC captured the interannual variability of spring phenology very well (R2>0.80) and provided the best estimates of the observed budburst dates, with a mean absolute deviation (MAD) of less than 4 d. For the CC and GCC methods, mid-amplitude (50 %) threshold dates during spring phenological transition agreed well with the observed phenological dates. For the NDVI-based method, on average, the mean observed date coincides with the date when NDVI reaches 25 % of its amplitude of annual variation. For the other methods, MAD ranges from 6 to 17 d. The ADS method used to derive the phenological markers provides the most biased estimates for the GPP and GCC. During the leaf senescence stage, NDVI- and CC-derived dates correlated significantly with observed dates (R2=0.63 and 0.80 for NDVI and CC, respectively), with an MAD of less than 7 d. Our results show that proximal-sensing methods can be used to derive robust phenological metrics. They can be used to retrieve long-term phenological series at eddy covariance (EC) flux measurement sites and help interpret the interannual variability and trends of mass and energy exchanges.
Biogeosciences, Volume 18, pp 3309-3330; doi:10.5194/bg-18-3309-2021
Severe droughts are expected to become more frequent and persistent. However, their effect on autumn leaf senescence, a key process for deciduous trees and ecosystem functioning, is currently unclear. We hypothesized that (I) severe drought advances the onset of autumn leaf senescence in temperate deciduous trees and (II) tree species show different dynamics of autumn leaf senescence under drought. We tested these hypotheses using a manipulative experiment on beech saplings and 3 years of monitoring mature beech, birch and oak trees in Belgium. The autumn leaf senescence was derived from the seasonal pattern of the chlorophyll content index and the loss of canopy greenness using generalized additive models and piecewise linear regressions. Drought and associated heat stress and increased atmospheric aridity did not affect the onset of autumn leaf senescence in both saplings and mature trees, even if the saplings showed a high mortality and the mature trees an advanced loss of canopy greenness. We did not observe major differences among species. To synthesize, the timing of autumn leaf senescence appears conservative across years and species and even independent of drought, heat and increased atmospheric aridity. Therefore, to study autumn senescence and avoid confusion among studies, seasonal chlorophyll dynamics and loss of canopy greenness should be considered separately.
Biogeosciences, Volume 18, pp 3331-3342; doi:10.5194/bg-18-3331-2021
Biological rock crusts (BRCs) are ubiquitous features of rock surfaces in drylands composed of slow-growing microbial assemblages. BRC presence is often correlated with rock weathering, soiling effect or mitigating geomorphic processes. However, their development rate is still unknown. In this work, we characterised and dated BRCs in an arid environment, under natural conditions, by integrating archaeological, microbiological and geological methods. To this end, we sampled rocks from a well-documented Byzantine archaeological site and the surrounding area located in the central Negev, Israel. The archaeological site, which is dated to the fourth to seventh centuries CE, was constructed from two lithologies, limestone and chalk. BRC started developing on the rocks after being carved, and its age should match that of the site. Using stable carbon and oxygen isotope ratios, we confirmed the biogenic nature of the crusts. The BRC samples showed mild differences in the microbial community assemblages between the site and its surroundings, irrespective of lithology, confirming the dominance of aeolian inoculation sources. All BRCs were dominated by Actinobacteria, Cyanobacteria and Proteobacteria. We further measured the BRC thickness on 1700-year-old building stone blocks and determined it to be 0.1–0.6 mm thick. Therefore, a BRC growth rate was estimated, for the first time, to be 0.06–0.35 mm kyr−1. Our dating method was then validated on a similar archaeological site located ca. 20 km away, giving comparable values. We propose that BRC growth rates could be used as an affordable yet robust dating tool in archaeological sites in arid environments.
Biogeosciences, Volume 18, pp 3343-3366; doi:10.5194/bg-18-3343-2021
Upscaling plant biomass distribution and dynamics is essential for estimating carbon stocks and carbon balance. In this respect, the Russian Far East is among the least investigated sub-Arctic regions despite its known vegetation sensitivity to ongoing warming. We representatively harvested above-ground biomass (AGB; separated by dominant taxa) at 40 sampling plots in central Chukotka. We used ordination to relate field-based taxa projective cover and Landsat-derived vegetation indices. A general additive model was used to link the ordination scores to AGB. We then mapped AGB for paired Landsat-derived time slices (i.e. 2000/2001/2002 and 2016/2017), in four study regions covering a wide vegetation gradient from closed-canopy larch forests to barren alpine tundra. We provide AGB estimates and changes in AGB that were previously lacking for central Chukotka at a high spatial resolution and a detailed description of taxonomical contributions. Generally, AGB in the study region ranges from 0 to 16 kg m−2, with Cajander larch providing the highest contribution. Comparison of changes in AGB within the investigated period shows that the greatest changes (up to 1.25 kg m−2 yr−1) occurred in the northern taiga and in areas where land cover changed to larch closed-canopy forest. As well as the notable changes, increases in AGB also occur within the land-cover classes. Our estimations indicate a general increase in total AGB throughout the investigated tundra–taiga and northern taiga, whereas the tundra showed no evidence of change in AGB.
Biogeosciences, Volume 18, pp 3285-3308; doi:10.5194/bg-18-3285-2021
Vegetation optical depth (VOD) from microwave satellite observations has received much attention in global vegetation studies in recent years due to its relationship to vegetation water content and biomass. We recently have shown that VOD is related to plant productivity, i.e., gross primary production (GPP). Based on this relationship between VOD and GPP, we developed a theory-based machine learning model to estimate global patterns of GPP from passive microwave VOD retrievals. The VOD-GPP model generally showed good agreement with site observations and other global data sets in temporal dynamic but tended to overestimate annual GPP across all latitudes. We hypothesized that the reason for the overestimation is the missing effect of temperature on autotrophic respiration in the theory-based machine learning model. Here we aim to further assess and enhance the robustness of the VOD-GPP model by including the effect of temperature on autotrophic respiration within the machine learning approach and by assessing the interannual variability of the model results with respect to water availability. We used X-band VOD from the VOD Climate Archive (VODCA) data set for estimating GPP and used global state-of-the-art GPP data sets from FLUXCOM and MODIS to assess residuals of the VOD-GPP model with respect to drought conditions as quantified by the Standardized Precipitation and Evaporation Index (SPEI). Our results reveal an improvement in model performance for correlation when including the temperature dependency of autotrophic respiration (average correlation increase of 0.18). This improvement in temporal dynamic is larger for temperate and cold regions than for the tropics. For unbiased root-mean-square error (ubRMSE) and bias, the results are regionally diverse and are compensated in the global average. Improvements are observed in temperate and cold regions, while decreases in performance are obtained mainly in the tropics. The overall improvement when adding temperature was less than expected and thus may only partly explain previously observed differences between the global GPP data sets. On interannual timescales, estimates of the VOD-GPP model agree well with GPP from FLUXCOM and MODIS. We further find that the residuals between VOD-based GPP estimates and the other data sets do not significantly correlate with SPEI, which demonstrates that the VOD-GPP model can capture responses of GPP to water availability even without including additional information on precipitation, soil moisture or evapotranspiration. Exceptions from this rule were found in some regions: significant negative correlations between VOD-GPP residuals and SPEI were observed in the US corn belt, Argentina, eastern Europe, Russia and China, while significant positive correlations were obtained in South America, Africa and Australia. In these regions, the significant correlations may indicate different plant strategies for dealing with variations in water availability. Overall, our findings support the robustness of global microwave-derived estimates of gross primary production for large-scale studies on climate–vegetation interactions.
Biogeosciences, Volume 18, pp 3263-3283; doi:10.5194/bg-18-3263-2021
Climate change in the Arctic is leading to shifts in vegetation communities, permafrost degradation and alteration of tundra surface–atmosphere energy and carbon (C) fluxes, among other changes. However, year-round C and energy flux measurements at high-latitude sites remain rare. This poses a challenge for evaluating the impacts of climate change on Arctic tundra ecosystems and for developing and evaluating process-based models, which may be used to predict regional and global energy and C feedbacks to the climate system. Our study used 14 years of seasonal eddy covariance (EC) measurements of carbon dioxide (CO2), water and energy fluxes, and winter soil chamber CO2 flux measurements at a dwarf-shrub tundra site underlain by continuous permafrost in Canada’s Southern Arctic ecozone to evaluate the incorporation of shrub plant functional types (PFTs) in the Canadian Land Surface Scheme Including Biogeochemical Cycles (CLASSIC), the land surface component of the Canadian Earth System Model. In addition to new PFTs, a modification of the efficiency with which water evaporates from the ground surface was applied. This modification addressed a high ground evaporation bias that reduced model performance when soils became very dry, limited heat flow into the ground, and reduced plant productivity through water stress effects. Compared to the grass and tree PFTs previously used by CLASSIC to represent the vegetation in Arctic permafrost-affected regions, simulations with the new shrub PFTs better capture the physical and biogeochemical impact of shrubs on the magnitude and seasonality of energy and CO2 fluxes at the dwarf-shrub tundra evaluation site. The revised model, however, tends to overestimate gross primary productivity, particularly in spring, and overestimated late-winter CO2 emissions. On average, annual net ecosystem CO2 exchange was positive for all simulations, suggesting this site was a net CO2 source of 18 ± 4 g C m−2 yr−1 using shrub PFTs, 15 ± 6 g C m−2 yr−1 using grass PFTs, and 25 ± 5 g C m−2 yr−1 using tree PFTs. These results highlight the importance of using appropriate PFTs in process-based models to simulate current and future Arctic surface–atmosphere interactions.
Biogeosciences, Volume 18, pp 3243-3261; doi:10.5194/bg-18-3243-2021
Wildfires are the major disturbance in boreal ecosystems and are of great importance for the biogeochemical cycles of carbon (C) and nutrients. However, these fire-induced impacts are hard to quantify and are rarely assessed together at an ecosystem level incorporating both aquatic and terrestrial environments. Following a wildfire in Sweden in an area with ongoing monitoring, we conducted a pre-fire (9 years) and post-fire (4 years) multi-catchment investigation of element losses (combustion and leaching) and impacts on water quality. Direct C and nitrogen (N) losses through combustion were ca. 4500 and 100 g m−2, respectively. Net CO2 loss associated with soil and biomass respiration was ∼ 150 g C m−2 during the first year, but the ecosystem started to show net CO2 uptake in June 3 years post-fire. Aquatic C and N losses the first 12 months post-fire were 7 and 0.6 g m−2, respectively. Hence, soil respiration comprised a non-negligible part of the post-fire C loss, whereas aquatic C losses were minor and did not increase post-fire. However, other elements (e.g. Ca, S) exhibited ecologically relevant increases in fluvial export and concentration with large peaks in the immediate post-fire period. The temporal dynamics of stream concentrations (Ca2+, Mg2+, K+ ,SO4-2, Cl− ,NH4+, total organic N) suggest the presence of faster- and slower-release nutrient pools with half-lives of around 2 weeks and 4 months which we attribute to physicochemically and biologically mediated mobilization processes, respectively. Three years after the fire, it appears that dissolved fluxes of nutrients have largely returned to pre-fire conditions, but there is still net release of CO2.
Biogeosciences, Volume 18, pp 3219-3241; doi:10.5194/bg-18-3219-2021
Tropospheric ozone (O3) and nitrogen deposition affect vegetation growth and, thereby, the ability of the land biosphere to take up and store carbon. However, the magnitude of these effects on the contemporary and future terrestrial carbon balance is insufficiently understood. Here, we apply an extended version of the O–CN terrestrial biosphere model that simulates the atmosphere to canopy transport of O3, its surface and stomatal uptake, the O3-induced leaf injury, and the coupled terrestrial carbon and nitrogen cycles. We use this model to simulate past and future impacts of air pollution against a background of concurrent changes in climate and carbon dioxide concentrations (CO2) for two contrasting representative concentration pathway (RCP) scenarios (RCP2.6 and RCP8.5). The simulations show that O3-related damage considerably reduced northern hemispheric gross primary production (GPP) and long-term carbon storage between 1850 and the 2010s. The simulated O3 effect on GPP in the Northern Hemisphere peaked towards the end of the 20th century, with reductions of 4 %, causing a reduction in the northern hemispheric carbon sink of 0.4 Pg C yr−1. During the 21st century, O3-induced reductions in GPP and carbon storage are projected to decline, through a combination of direct air pollution control methods that reduce near-surface O3 and the indirect effects of rising atmospheric CO2, which reduces stomatal uptake of O3 concurrent with increases of leaf-level water use efficiency. However, in hot spot regions such as East Asia, the model simulations suggest a sustained decrease in GPP by more than 8 % throughout the 21st century. O3 exposure reduces projected carbon storage at the end of the 21st century by up to 15 % in parts of Europe, the US, and East Asia. Our simulations suggest that the stimulating effect of nitrogen deposition on regional GPP and carbon storage is lower in magnitude compared to the detrimental effect of O3 during most of the simulation period for both RCPs. In the second half of the 21st century, the detrimental effect of O3 on GPP is outweighed by nitrogen deposition, but the effect of nitrogen deposition on land carbon storage remains lower than the effect of O3. Accounting for the stimulating effects of nitrogen deposition but omitting the detrimental effect of O3 may lead to an overestimation of projected carbon uptake and storage.