skip to main content

Title: Cross‐Scale Interactions Dictate Regional Lake Carbon Flux and Productivity Response to Future Climate

Lakes support globally important food webs through algal productivity and contribute significantly to the global carbon cycle. However, predictions of how broad‐scale lake carbon flux and productivity may respond to future climate are extremely limited. Here, we used an integrated modeling framework to project changes in lake‐specific and regional primary productivity and carbon fluxes under 21st century climate for thousands of lakes. We observed high uncertainty in whether lakes collectively were to increase or decrease lake CO2emissions and carbon burial in our modeled region owing to divergence in projected regional water balance among climate models. Variation in projected air temperature influenced projected changes in lake primary productivity (but not CO2emissions or carbon burial) as warmer air temperatures decreased productivity through reduced lake water volume. Cross‐scale interactions between regional drivers and local characteristics dictated the magnitude and direction of lake‐specific carbon flux and productivity responses to future climate.

more » « less
Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
 ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  
Publisher / Repository:
DOI PREFIX: 10.1029
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Geophysical Research Letters
Page Range / eLocation ID:
p. 8840-8851
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    While a stimulating effect of plant primary productivity on soil carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions has been well documented, links between gross primary productivity (GPP) and wetland methane (CH4) emissions are less well investigated. Determination of the influence of primary productivity on wetland CH4emissions (FCH4) is complicated by confounding influences of water table level and temperature on CH4production, which also vary seasonally. Here, we evaluate the link between preceding GPP and subsequent FCH4at two fens in Wisconsin using eddy covariance flux towers, Lost Creek (US‐Los) and Allequash Creek (US‐ALQ). Both wetlands are mosaics of forested and shrub wetlands, with US‐Los being larger in scale and having a more open canopy. Co‐located sites with multi‐year observations of flux, hydrology, and meteorology provide an opportunity to measure and compare lag effects on FCH4without interference due to differing climate. Daily average FCH4from US‐Los reached a maximum of 47.7 ηmol CH4m−2 s−1during the study period, while US‐ALQ was more than double at 117.9 ηmol CH4 m−2 s−1. The lagged influence of GPP on temperature‐normalized FCH4(Tair‐FCH4) was weaker and more delayed in a year with anomalously high precipitation than a following drier year at both sites. FCH4at US‐ALQ was lower coincident with higher stream discharge in the wet year (2019), potentially due to soil gas flushing during high precipitation events and lower water temperatures. Better understanding of the lagged influence of GPP on FCH4due to this study has implications for climate modeling and more accurate carbon budgeting.

    more » « less
  2. Abstract

    Arctic‐boreal landscapes are experiencing profound warming, along with changes in ecosystem moisture status and disturbance from fire. This region is of global importance in terms of carbon feedbacks to climate, yet the sign (sink or source) and magnitude of the Arctic‐boreal carbon budget within recent years remains highly uncertain. Here, we provide new estimates of recent (2003–2015) vegetation gross primary productivity (GPP), ecosystem respiration (Reco), net ecosystem CO2exchange (NEE;Reco − GPP), and terrestrial methane (CH4) emissions for the Arctic‐boreal zone using a satellite data‐driven process‐model for northern ecosystems (TCFM‐Arctic), calibrated and evaluated using measurements from >60 tower eddy covariance (EC) sites. We used TCFM‐Arctic to obtain daily 1‐km2flux estimates and annual carbon budgets for the pan‐Arctic‐boreal region. Across the domain, the model indicated an overall average NEE sink of −850 Tg CO2‐C year−1. Eurasian boreal zones, especially those in Siberia, contributed to a majority of the net sink. In contrast, the tundra biome was relatively carbon neutral (ranging from small sink to source). Regional CH4emissions from tundra and boreal wetlands (not accounting for aquatic CH4) were estimated at 35 Tg CH4‐C year−1. Accounting for additional emissions from open water aquatic bodies and from fire, using available estimates from the literature, reduced the total regional NEE sink by 21% and shifted many far northern tundra landscapes, and some boreal forests, to a net carbon source. This assessment, based on in situ observations and models, improves our understanding of the high‐latitude carbon status and also indicates a continued need for integrated site‐to‐regional assessments to monitor the vulnerability of these ecosystems to climate change.

    more » « less
  3. Abstract

    Human activities result in a wide array of pollutants being released to the atmosphere. A number of these pollutants have direct effects on plants, including carbon dioxide (CO2), which is the substrate for photosynthesis, and ozone (O3), a damaging oxidant. How plants respond to changes in these atmospheric air pollutants, both directly and indirectly, feeds back on atmospheric composition and climate, global net primary productivity and ecosystem service provisioning. Here we discuss the past, current and future trends in emissions ofCO2and O3and synthesise the current atmosphericCO2and O3budgets, describing the important role of vegetation in determining the atmospheric burden of those pollutants. While increased atmosphericCO2concentration over the past 150 years has been accompanied by greaterCO2assimilation and storage in terrestrial ecosystems, there is evidence that rising temperatures and increased drought stress may limit the ability of future terrestrial ecosystems to buffer against atmospheric emissions. Long‐term Free AirCO2or O3Enrichment (FACE) experiments provide critical experimentation about the effects of futureCO2and O3on ecosystems, and highlight the important interactive effects of temperature, nutrients and water supply in determining ecosystem responses to air pollution. Long‐term experimentation in both natural and cropping systems is needed to provide critical empirical data for modelling the effects of air pollutants on plant productivity in the decades to come.

    more » « less
  4. Abstract

    Accounting for temporal changes in carbon dioxide (CO2) effluxes from freshwaters remains a challenge for global and regional carbon budgets. Here, we synthesize 171 site-months of flux measurements of CO2based on the eddy covariance method from 13 lakes and reservoirs in the Northern Hemisphere, and quantify dynamics at multiple temporal scales. We found pronounced sub-annual variability in CO2flux at all sites. By accounting for diel variation, only 11% of site-months were net daily sinks of CO2. Annual CO2emissions had an average of 25% (range 3%–58%) interannual variation. Similar to studies on streams, nighttime emissions regularly exceeded daytime emissions. Biophysical regulations of CO2flux variability were delineated through mutual information analysis. Sample analysis of CO2fluxes indicate the importance of continuous measurements. Better characterization of short- and long-term variability is necessary to understand and improve detection of temporal changes of CO2fluxes in response to natural and anthropogenic drivers. Our results indicate that existing global lake carbon budgets relying primarily on daytime measurements yield underestimates of net emissions.

    more » « less
  5. Abstract

    Mangroves are the most blue-carbon rich coastal wetlands contributing to the reduction of atmospheric CO2through photosynthesis (sequestration) and high soil organic carbon (C) storage. Globally, mangroves are increasingly impacted by human and natural disturbances under climate warming, including pervasive pulsing tropical cyclones. However, there is limited information assessing cyclone’s functional role in regulating wetlands carbon cycling from annual to decadal scales. Here we show how cyclones with a wide range of integrated kinetic energy (IKE) impact C fluxes in the Everglades, a neotropical region with high cyclone landing frequency. Using long-term mangrove Net Primary Productivity (Litterfall, NPPL) data (2001–2018), we estimated cyclone-induced litterfall particulate organic C (litter-POC) export from mangroves to estuarine waters. Our analysis revealed that this lateral litter-POC flux (71–205 g C m−2 year−1)—currently unaccounted in global C budgets—is similar to C burial rates (69–157 g C m−2 year−1) and dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC, 61–229 g C m−2 year−1) export. We proposed a statistical model (PULITER) between IKE-based pulse index and NPPLto determine cyclone’s impact on mangrove role as C sink or source. Including the cyclone’s functional role in regulating mangrove C fluxes is critical to developing local and regional climate change mitigation plans.

    more » « less