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  1. null (Ed.)
    Abstract In northern Alaska nearly 65% of the terrestrial surface is composed of polygonal ground, where geomorphic tundra landforms disproportionately influence carbon and nutrient cycling over fine spatial scales. Process-based biogeochemical models used for local to Pan-Arctic projections of ecological responses to climate change typically operate at coarse-scales (1km 2 –0.5°) at which fine-scale (<1km 2 ) tundra heterogeneity is often aggregated to the dominant land cover unit. Here, we evaluate the importance of tundra heterogeneity for representing soil carbon dynamics at fine to coarse spatial scales. We leveraged the legacy of data collected near Utqiaġvik, Alaska between 1973 and 2016 for model initiation, parameterization, and validation. Simulation uncertainty increased with a reduced representation of tundra heterogeneity and coarsening of spatial scale. Hierarchical cluster analysis of an ensemble of 21 st -century simulations reveals that a minimum of two tundra landforms (dry and wet) and a maximum of 4km 2 spatial scale is necessary for minimizing uncertainties (<10%) in regional to Pan-Arctic modeling applications. 
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  2. null (Ed.)
  3. Abstract

    Non‐growing season CO2emissions from Arctic tundra remain a major uncertainty in forecasting climate change consequences of permafrost thaw. We present the first time series of soil and microbial CO2emissions from a graminoid tundra based on year‐round in situ measurements of the radiocarbon content of soil CO214CO2) and of bulk soil C (Δ14C), microbial activity, and temperature. Combining these data with land‐atmosphere CO2exchange allows estimates of the proportion and mean age of microbial CO2emissions year‐round. We observe a seasonal shift in emission sources from fresh carbon during the growing season (August Δ14CO2 = 74 ± 4.7‰, 37% ± 3.4% microbial, mean ± se) to increasingly older soil carbon in fall and winter (March Δ14CO2 = 22 ± 1.3‰, 47% ± 8% microbial). Thus, rising soil temperatures and emissions during fall and winter are depleting aged soil carbon pools in the active layer and thawing permafrost and further accelerating climate change.

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  4. Abstract

    The impact of permafrost thaw on hydrologic, thermal, and biotic processes remains uncertain, in part due to limitations in subsurface measurement capabilities. To better understand subsurface processes in thermokarst environments, we collocated geophysical and biogeochemical instruments along a thaw gradient between forested permafrost and collapse‐scar bogs at the Alaska Peatland Experiment site near Fairbanks, Alaska. Ambient seismic noise monitoring provided continuous high‐temporal resolution measurements of water and ice saturation changes. Maps of seismic velocity change identified areas of large summertime velocity reductions nearest the youngest bog, indicating potential thaw and expansion at the bog margin. These results corresponded well with complementary borehole nuclear magnetic resonance measurements of unfrozen water content with depth, which showed permafrost soils nearest the bog edges contained the largest amount of unfrozen water along the study transect, up to 25% by volume. In situ measurements of methane within permafrost soils revealed high concentrations at these bog‐edge locations, up to 30% soil gas. Supra‐permafrost talik zones were observed at the bog margins, indicating talik formation and perennial liquid water may drive lateral bog expansion and enhanced permafrost carbon losses preceding thaw. Comparison of seismic monitoring with wintertime surface carbon dioxide fluxes revealed differential responses depending on time and proximity to the bogs, capturing the controlling influence of subsurface water and ice on microbial activity and surficial emissions. This study demonstrates a multidisciplinary approach for gaining new understanding of how subsurface physical properties influence greenhouse gas production, emissions, and thermokarst development.

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