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Title: Carbon response of tundra ecosystems to advancing greenup and snowmelt in Alaska
Abstract The ongoing disproportionate increases in temperature and precipitation over the Arctic region may greatly alter the latitudinal gradients in greenup and snowmelt timings as well as associated carbon dynamics of tundra ecosystems. Here we use remotely-sensed and ground-based datasets and model results embedding snowmelt timing in phenology at seven tundra flux tower sites in Alaska during 2001–2018, showing that the carbon response to early greenup or delayed snowmelt varies greatly depending upon local climatic limits. Increases in net ecosystem productivity (NEP) due to early greenup were amplified at the higher latitudes where temperature and water strongly colimit vegetation growth, while NEP decreases due to delayed snowmelt were alleviated by a relief of water stress. Given the high likelihood of more frequent delayed snowmelt at higher latitudes, this study highlights the importance of understanding the role of snowmelt timing in vegetation growth and terrestrial carbon cycles across warming Arctic ecosystems.
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Nature Communications
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National Science Foundation
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