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  1. 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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  2. Abstract. The continued warming of the Arctic could release vast stores of carbon into the atmosphere from high-latitude ecosystems, especially from thawingpermafrost. Increasing uptake of carbon dioxide (CO2) by vegetation during longer growing seasons may partially offset such release of carbon. However, evidence of significant net annual release of carbon from site-level observations and model simulations across tundra ecosystems has been inconclusive. To address this knowledge gap, we combined top-down observations of atmospheric CO2 concentration enhancements from aircraft and a tall tower, which integrate ecosystem exchange over large regions, with bottom-up observed CO2 fluxes from tundraenvironments and found that the Alaska North Slope is not a consistent net source nor net sink of CO2 to the atmosphere (ranging from −6 to+6 Tg C yr−1 for 2012–2017). Our analysis suggests that significant biogenic CO2 fluxes from unfrozen terrestrial soils, and likely inland waters, during the early cold season (September–December) are major factors in determining the net annual carbon balance of the North Slope, implying strong sensitivity to the rapidly warming freeze-up period. At the regional level, we find no evidence of the previously reported large late-cold-season (January–April) CO2 emissions to the atmosphere during the study period. Despite the importance of the cold-season CO2 emissions to the annual total, the interannual variability in the net CO2 flux is driven by the variability in growing season fluxes. During the growing season, the regional net CO2 flux is also highly sensitive to the distribution of tundra vegetation types throughout the North Slope. This study shows that quantification and characterization of year-round CO2 fluxes from the heterogeneous terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems in the Arctic using both site-level and atmospheric observations are important to accurately project the Earth system response to future warming. 
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  3. Abstract

    Boreal‐Arctic regions are key stores of organic carbon (C) and play a major role in the greenhouse gas balance of high‐latitude ecosystems. The carbon‐climate (C‐climate) feedback potential of northern high‐latitude ecosystems remains poorly understood due to uncertainty in temperature and precipitation controls on carbon dioxide (CO2) uptake and the decomposition of soil C into CO2and methane (CH4) fluxes. While CH4fluxes account for a smaller component of the C balance, the climatic impact of CH4outweighs CO2(28–34 times larger global warming potential on a 100‐year scale), highlighting the need to jointly resolve the climatic sensitivities of both CO2and CH4. Here, we jointly constrain a terrestrial biosphere model with in situ CO2and CH4flux observations at seven eddy covariance sites using a data‐model integration approach to resolve the integrated environmental controls on land‐atmosphere CO2and CH4exchanges in Alaska. Based on the combined CO2and CH4flux responses to climate variables, we find that 1970‐present climate trends will induce positive C‐climate feedback at all tundra sites, and negative C‐climate feedback at the boreal and shrub fen sites. The positive C‐climate feedback at the tundra sites is predominantly driven by increased CH4emissions while the negative C‐climate feedback at the boreal site is predominantly driven by increased CO2uptake (80% from decreased heterotrophic respiration, and 20% from increased photosynthesis). Our study demonstrates the need for joint observational constraints on CO2and CH4biogeochemical processes—and their associated climatic sensitivities—for resolving the sign and magnitude of high‐latitude ecosystem C‐climate feedback in the coming decades.

     
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  4. Abstract

    Soil respiration (i.e. from soils and roots) provides one of the largest global fluxes of carbon dioxide (CO2) to the atmosphere and is likely to increase with warming, yet the magnitude of soil respiration from rapidly thawing Arctic-boreal regions is not well understood. To address this knowledge gap, we first compiled a new CO2flux database for permafrost-affected tundra and boreal ecosystems in Alaska and Northwest Canada. We then used the CO2database, multi-sensor satellite imagery, and random forest models to assess the regional magnitude of soil respiration. The flux database includes a new Soil Respiration Station network of chamber-based fluxes, and fluxes from eddy covariance towers. Our site-level data, spanning September 2016 to August 2017, revealed that the largest soil respiration emissions occurred during the summer (June–August) and that summer fluxes were higher in boreal sites (1.87 ± 0.67 g CO2–C m−2d−1) relative to tundra (0.94 ± 0.4 g CO2–C m−2d−1). We also observed considerable emissions (boreal: 0.24 ± 0.2 g CO2–C m−2d−1; tundra: 0.18 ± 0.16 g CO2–C m−2d−1) from soils during the winter (November–March) despite frozen surface conditions. Our model estimates indicated an annual region-wide loss from soil respiration of 591 ± 120 Tg CO2–C during the 2016–2017 period. Summer months contributed to 58% of the regional soil respiration, winter months contributed to 15%, and the shoulder months contributed to 27%. In total, soil respiration offset 54% of annual gross primary productivity (GPP) across the study domain. We also found that in tundra environments, transitional tundra/boreal ecotones, and in landscapes recently affected by fire, soil respiration often exceeded GPP, resulting in a net annual source of CO2to the atmosphere. As this region continues to warm, soil respiration may increasingly offset GPP, further amplifying global climate change.

     
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  5. Abstract. Methane emissions from boreal and arctic wetlands, lakes, and rivers areexpected to increase in response to warming and associated permafrost thaw.However, the lack of appropriate land cover datasets for scalingfield-measured methane emissions to circumpolar scales has contributed to alarge uncertainty for our understanding of present-day and future methaneemissions. Here we present the Boreal–Arctic Wetland and Lake Dataset(BAWLD), a land cover dataset based on an expert assessment, extrapolatedusing random forest modelling from available spatial datasets of climate,topography, soils, permafrost conditions, vegetation, wetlands, and surfacewater extents and dynamics. In BAWLD, we estimate the fractional coverage offive wetland, seven lake, and three river classes within 0.5 × 0.5∘ grid cells that cover the northern boreal and tundra biomes(17 % of the global land surface). Land cover classes were defined usingcriteria that ensured distinct methane emissions among classes, as indicatedby a co-developed comprehensive dataset of methane flux observations. InBAWLD, wetlands occupied 3.2 × 106 km2 (14 % of domain)with a 95 % confidence interval between 2.8 and 3.8 × 106 km2. Bog, fen, and permafrost bog were the most abundant wetlandclasses, covering ∼ 28 % each of the total wetland area,while the highest-methane-emitting marsh and tundra wetland classes occupied5 % and 12 %, respectively. Lakes, defined to include all lentic open-waterecosystems regardless of size, covered 1.4 × 106 km2(6 % of domain). Low-methane-emitting large lakes (>10 km2) and glacial lakes jointly represented 78 % of the total lakearea, while high-emitting peatland and yedoma lakes covered 18 % and 4 %,respectively. Small (<0.1 km2) glacial, peatland, and yedomalakes combined covered 17 % of the total lake area but contributeddisproportionally to the overall spatial uncertainty in lake area with a95 % confidence interval between 0.15 and 0.38 × 106 km2. Rivers and streams were estimated to cover 0.12  × 106 km2 (0.5 % of domain), of which 8 % was associated withhigh-methane-emitting headwaters that drain organic-rich landscapes.Distinct combinations of spatially co-occurring wetland and lake classeswere identified across the BAWLD domain, allowing for the mapping of“wetscapes” that have characteristic methane emission magnitudes andsensitivities to climate change at regional scales. With BAWLD, we provide adataset which avoids double-accounting of wetland, lake, and river extentsand which includes confidence intervals for each land cover class. As such,BAWLD will be suitable for many hydrological and biogeochemical modellingand upscaling efforts for the northern boreal and arctic region, inparticular those aimed at improving assessments of current and futuremethane emissions. Data are freely available athttps://doi.org/10.18739/A2C824F9X (Olefeldt et al., 2021). 
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  6. Abstract. Past efforts to synthesize and quantify the magnitude and change in carbon dioxide (CO2) fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems across the rapidly warming Arctic–boreal zone (ABZ) have provided valuable information but were limited in their geographical and temporal coverage. Furthermore, these efforts have been based on data aggregated over varying time periods, often with only minimal site ancillary data, thus limiting their potential to be used in large-scale carbon budget assessments. To bridge these gaps, we developed a standardized monthly database of Arctic–boreal CO2 fluxes (ABCflux) that aggregates in situ measurements of terrestrial net ecosystem CO2 exchange and its derived partitioned component fluxes: gross primary productivity and ecosystem respiration. The data span from 1989 to 2020 with over 70 supporting variables that describe key site conditions (e.g., vegetation and disturbance type), micrometeorological and environmental measurements (e.g., air and soil temperatures), and flux measurement techniques. Here, we describe these variables, the spatial and temporal distribution of observations, the main strengths and limitations of the database, and the potential research opportunities it enables. In total, ABCflux includes 244 sites and 6309 monthly observations; 136 sites and 2217 monthly observations represent tundra, and 108 sites and 4092 observations represent the boreal biome. The database includes fluxes estimated with chamber (19 % of the monthly observations), snow diffusion (3 %) and eddy covariance (78 %) techniques. The largest number of observations were collected during the climatological summer (June–August; 32 %), and fewer observations were available for autumn (September–October; 25 %), winter (December–February; 18 %), and spring (March–May; 25 %). ABCflux can be used in a wide array of empirical, remote sensing and modeling studies to improve understanding of the regional and temporal variability in CO2 fluxes and to better estimate the terrestrial ABZ CO2 budget. ABCflux is openly and freely available online (Virkkala et al., 2021b, https://doi.org/10.3334/ORNLDAAC/1934). 
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  8. 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.

     
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