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  1. Environmental temperature is a widely used variable to describe weather and climate conditions. The use of temperature anomalies to identify variations in climate and weather systems makes temperature a key variable to evaluate not only climate variability but also shifts in ecosystem structural and functional properties. In contrast to terrestrial ecosystems, the assessment of regional temperature anomalies in coastal wetlands is more complex since the local temperature is modulated by hydrology and weather. Thus, it is unknown how the regional free-air temperature (T Free ) is coupled to local temperature anomalies, which can vary across interfaces among vegetation canopy, water, and soil that modify the wetland microclimate regime. Here, we investigated the temperature differences (offsets) at those three interfaces in mangrove-saltmarsh ecotones in coastal Louisiana and South Florida in the northern Gulf of Mexico (2017–2019). We found that the canopy offset (range: 0.2–1.6°C) between T Free and below-canopy temperature (T Canopy ) was caused by the canopy buffering effect. The similar offset values in both Louisiana and Florida underscore the role of vegetation in regulating near-ground energy fluxes. Overall, the inundation depth did not influence soil temperature (T Soil ). The interaction between frequency and duration of inundation, however, significantlymore »modulated T Soil given the presence of water on the wetland soil surface, thus attenuating any short- or long-term changes in the T Canopy and T Free . Extreme weather events—including cold fronts and tropical cyclones—induced high defoliation and weakened canopy buffering, resulting in long-term changes in canopy or soil offsets. These results highlight the need to measure simultaneously the interaction between ecological and climatic processes to reduce uncertainty when modeling macro- and microclimate in coastal areas under a changing climate, especially given the current local temperature anomalies data scarcity. This work advances the coupling of Earth system models to climate models to forecast regional and global climate change and variability along coastal areas.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 12, 2023
  2. 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.

  3. Hurricanes are recurring high-energy disturbances in coastal regions that change community structure and function of mangrove wetlands. However, most of the studies assessing hurricane impacts on mangroves have focused on negative effects without considering the positive influence of hurricane-induced sediment deposition and associated nutrient fertilization on mangrove productivity and resilience. Here, we quantified how Hurricane Irma influenced soil nutrient pools, vertical accretion, and plant phosphorus (P) uptake after its passage across the Florida Coastal Everglades in September 2017. Vertical accretion from Irma’s deposits was 6.7 to 14.4 times greater than the long-term (100 y) annual accretion rate (0.27 ± 0.04 cm y−1). Storm deposits extended up to 10-km inland from the Gulf of Mexico. Total P (TP) inputs were highest at the mouth of estuaries, with P concentration double that of underlying surface (top 10 cm) soils (0.19 ± 0.02 mg cm−3). This P deposition contributed 49 to 98% to the soil nutrient pool. As a result, all mangrove species showed a significant increase in litter foliar TP and soil porewater inorganic P concentrations in early 2018, 3 mo after Irma’s impact, thus underscoring the interspecies differences in nutrient uptake. Mean TP loading rates were five times greater in southwesternmore »(94 ± 13 kg ha−1d−1) mangrove-dominated estuaries compared to the southeastern region, highlighting the positive role of hurricanes as a natural fertilization mechanism influencing forest productivity. P-rich, mineral sediments deposited by hurricanes create legacies that facilitate rapid forest recovery, stimulation of peat soil development, and resilience to sea-level rise.

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