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  1. Abstract The terrestrial carbon cycle is a major source of uncertainty in climate projections. Its dominant fluxes, gross primary productivity (GPP), and respiration (in particular soil respiration, R S ), are typically estimated from independent satellite-driven models and upscaled in situ measurements, respectively. We combine carbon-cycle flux estimates and partitioning coefficients to show that historical estimates of global GPP and R S are irreconcilable. When we estimate GPP based on R S measurements and some assumptions about R S :GPP ratios, we found the resulted global GPP values (bootstrap mean $${149}_{-23}^{+29}$$ 149 − 23 + 29 Pg C yr −1 ) are significantly higher than most GPP estimates reported in the literature ( $${113}_{-18}^{+18}$$ 113 − 18 + 18 Pg C yr −1 ). Similarly, historical GPP estimates imply a soil respiration flux (Rs GPP , bootstrap mean of $${68}_{-8}^{+10}$$ 68 − 8 + 10 Pg C yr −1 ) statistically inconsistent with most published R S values ( $${87}_{-8}^{+9}$$ 87 − 8 + 9 Pg C yr −1 ), although recent, higher, GPP estimates are narrowing this gap. Furthermore, global R S :GPP ratios are inconsistent with spatial averages of this ratio calculated from individual sites as well asmore »CMIP6 model results. This discrepancy has implications for our understanding of carbon turnover times and the terrestrial sensitivity to climate change. Future efforts should reconcile the discrepancies associated with calculations for GPP and Rs to improve estimates of the global carbon budget.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2023
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  4. Abstract

    When organic peat soils are sufficiently dry, they become flammable. In Southeast Asian peatlands, widespread deforestation and associated drainage create dry conditions that, when coupled with El Niño-driven drought, result in catastrophic fire events that release large amounts of carbon and deadly smoke to the atmosphere. While the effects of anthropogenic degradation on peat moisture and fire risk have been extensively demonstrated, climate change impacts to peat flammability are poorly understood. These impacts are likely to be mediated primarily through changes in soil moisture. Here, we used neural networks (trained on data from the NASA Soil Moisture Active Passive satellite) to model soil moisture as a function of climate, degradation, and location. The neural networks were forced with regional climate model projections for 1985–2005 and 2040–2060 climate under RCP8.5 forcing to predict changes in soil moisture. We find that reduced precipitation and increased evaporative demand will lead to median soil moisture decreases about half as strong as those observed during recent El Niño droughts in 2015 and 2019. Based on previous studies, such reductions may be expected to accelerate peat carbon emissions. Our results also suggest that soil moisture in degraded areas with less tree cover may be moremore »sensitive to climate change than in other land use types, motivating urgent peatland restoration. Climate change may play an important role in future soil moisture regimes and by extension, future peat fire in Southeast Asian peatlands.

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  5. Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 17, 2023
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