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  1. Abstract

    Wetlands in Arctic drained lake basins (DLBs) have a high potential for carbon storage in vegetation and peat as well as for elevated greenhouse gas emissions. However, the evolution of vegetation and organic matter is rarely studied in DLBs, making these abundant wetlands especially uncertain elements of the permafrost carbon budget. We surveyed multiple DLB generations in northern Alaska with the goal to assess vegetation, microtopography, and organic matter in surface sediment and pond water in DLBs and to provide the first high-resolution land cover classification for a DLB system focussing on moisture-related vegetation classes for the Teshekpuk Lake region. We associated sediment properties and methane concentrations along a post-drainage succession gradient with remote sensing-derived land cover classes. Our study distinguished five eco-hydrological classes using statistical clustering of vegetation data, which corresponded to the land cover classes. We identified surface wetness and time since drainage as predictors of vegetation composition. Microtopographic complexity increased after drainage. Organic carbon and nitrogen contents in sediment, and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and dissolved nitrogen (DN) in ponds were high throughout, indicating high organic matter availability and decomposition. We confirmed wetness as a predictor of sediment methane concentrations. Our findings suggest moderate to high methane concentrations independent of drainage age, with particularly high concentrations beneath submerged patches (up to 200μmol l−1) and in pond water (up to 22μmol l−1). In our DLB system, wet and shallow submerged patches with high methane concentrations occupied 54% of the area, and ponds with high DOC, DN and methane occupied another 11%. In conclusion, we demonstrate that DLB wetlands are highly productive regarding organic matter decomposition and methane production. Machine learning-aided land cover classification using high-resolution multispectral satellite imagery provides a useful tool for future upscaling of sediment properties and methane emission potentials from Arctic DLBs.

     
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  2. Abstract

    The need to develop and provide integrated observation systems to better understand and manage global and regional environmental change is one of the major challenges facing Earth system science today. In 2008, the German Helmholtz Association took up this challenge and launched the German research infrastructure TERrestrial ENvironmental Observatories (TERENO). The aim of TERENO is the establishment and maintenance of a network of observatories as a basis for an interdisciplinary and long‐term research program to investigate the effects of global environmental change on terrestrial ecosystems and their socio‐economic consequences. State‐of‐the‐art methods from the field of environmental monitoring, geophysics, remote sensing, and modeling are used to record and analyze states and fluxes in different environmental disciplines from groundwater through the vadose zone, surface water, and biosphere, up to the lower atmosphere. Over the past 15 years we have collectively gained experience in operating a long‐term observing network, thereby overcoming unexpected operational and institutional challenges, exceeding expectations, and facilitating new research. Today, the TERENO network is a key pillar for environmental modeling and forecasting in Germany, an information hub for practitioners and policy stakeholders in agriculture, forestry, and water management at regional to national levels, a nucleus for international collaboration, academic training and scientific outreach, an important anchor for large‐scale experiments, and a trigger for methodological innovation and technological progress. This article describes TERENO's key services and functions, presents the main lessons learned from this 15‐year effort, and emphasizes the need to continue long‐term integrated environmental monitoring programmes in the future.

     
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2025
  3. Abstract

    Wetlands are responsible for 20%–31% of global methane (CH4) emissions and account for a large source of uncertainty in the global CH4budget. Data‐driven upscaling of CH4fluxes from eddy covariance measurements can provide new and independent bottom‐up estimates of wetland CH4emissions. Here, we develop a six‐predictor random forest upscaling model (UpCH4), trained on 119 site‐years of eddy covariance CH4flux data from 43 freshwater wetland sites in the FLUXNET‐CH4 Community Product. Network patterns in site‐level annual means and mean seasonal cycles of CH4fluxes were reproduced accurately in tundra, boreal, and temperate regions (Nash‐Sutcliffe Efficiency ∼0.52–0.63 and 0.53). UpCH4 estimated annual global wetland CH4emissions of 146 ± 43 TgCH4 y−1for 2001–2018 which agrees closely with current bottom‐up land surface models (102–181 TgCH4 y−1) and overlaps with top‐down atmospheric inversion models (155–200 TgCH4 y−1). However, UpCH4 diverged from both types of models in the spatial pattern and seasonal dynamics of tropical wetland emissions. We conclude that upscaling of eddy covariance CH4fluxes has the potential to produce realistic extra‐tropical wetland CH4emissions estimates which will improve with more flux data. To reduce uncertainty in upscaled estimates, researchers could prioritize new wetland flux sites along humid‐to‐arid tropical climate gradients, from major rainforest basins (Congo, Amazon, and SE Asia), into monsoon (Bangladesh and India) and savannah regions (African Sahel) and be paired with improved knowledge of wetland extent seasonal dynamics in these regions. The monthly wetland methane products gridded at 0.25° from UpCH4 are available via ORNL DAAC (https://doi.org/10.3334/ORNLDAAC/2253).

     
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 1, 2024
  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.

     
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  5. The increased fraction of first year ice (FYI) at the expense of old ice (second-year ice (SYI) and multi-year ice (MYI)) likely affects the permeability of the Arctic ice cover. This in turn influences the pathways of gases circulating therein and the exchange at interfaces with the atmosphere and ocean. We present sea ice temperature and salinity time series from different ice types relevant to temporal development of sea ice permeability and brine drainage efficiency from freeze-up in October to the onset of spring warming in May. Our study is based on a dataset collected during the Multidisciplinary drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate (MOSAiC) Expedition in 2019 and 2020. These physical properties were used to derive sea ice permeability and Rayleigh numbers. The main sites included FYI and SYI. The latter was composed of an upper layer of residual ice that had desalinated but survived the previous summer melt and became SYI. Below this ice a layer of new first-year ice formed. As the layer of new first-year ice has no direct contact with the atmosphere, we call it insulated first-year ice (IFYI). The residual/SYI-layer also contained refrozen melt ponds in some areas. During the freezing season, the residual/SYI-layer was consistently impermeable, acting as barrier for gas exchange between the atmosphere and ocean. While both FYI and SYI temperatures responded similarly to atmospheric warming events, SYI was more resilient to brine volume fraction changes because of its low salinity (<2). Furthermore, later bottom ice growth during spring warming was observed for SYI in comparison to FYI. The projected increase in the fraction of more permeable FYI in autumn and spring in the coming decades may favor gas exchange at the atmosphere-ice interface when sea ice acts as a source relative to the atmosphere. While the areal extent of old ice is decreasing, so is its thickness at the onset of freeze-up. Our study sets the foundation for studies on gas dynamics within the ice column and the gas exchange at both ice interfaces, i.e. with the atmosphere and the ocean.

     
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  6. Abstract Arctic warming is affecting snow cover and soil hydrology, with consequences for carbon sequestration in tundra ecosystems. The scarcity of observations in the Arctic has limited our understanding of the impact of covarying environmental drivers on the carbon balance of tundra ecosystems. In this study, we address some of these uncertainties through a novel record of 119 site-years of summer data from eddy covariance towers representing dominant tundra vegetation types located on continuous permafrost in the Arctic. Here we found that earlier snowmelt was associated with more tundra net CO 2 sequestration and higher gross primary productivity (GPP) only in June and July, but with lower net carbon sequestration and lower GPP in August. Although higher evapotranspiration (ET) can result in soil drying with the progression of the summer, we did not find significantly lower soil moisture with earlier snowmelt, nor evidence that water stress affected GPP in the late growing season. Our results suggest that the expected increased CO 2 sequestration arising from Arctic warming and the associated increase in growing season length may not materialize if tundra ecosystems are not able to continue sequestering CO 2 later in the season. 
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