Browsing by Subject "Permafrost"

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  • Koster, Egle; Koster, Kajar; Berninger, Frank; Aaltonen, Heidi; Zhou, Xuan; Pumpanen, Jukka (2017)
    Forest fires are one of the most important natural disturbances in boreal forests, and their occurrence and severity are expected to increase as a result of climate warming. A combination of factors induced by fire leads to a thawing of the near-surface permafrost layer in subarctic boreal forest. Earlier studies reported that an increase in the active layer thickness results in higher carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) emissions. We studied changes in CO2, CH4 and nitrous oxide (N2O) fluxes in this study, and the significance of several environmental factors that influence the greenhouse gas (GHG) fluxes at three forest sites that last had fires in 2012, 1990 and 1969, and we compared these to a control area that had no fire for at least 100 years. The soils in our study acted as sources of CO2 and N2O and sinks for CH4. The elapsed time since the last forest fire was the only factor that significantly influenced all studied GHG fluxes. Soil temperature affected the uptake of CH4, and the N2O fluxes were significantly influenced by nitrogen and carbon content of the soil, and by the active layer depth. Results of our study confirm that the impacts of a forest fire on GHGs last for a rather long period of time in boreal forests, and are influenced by the fire induced changes in the ecosystem. (C) 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
  • Chetelat, John; McKinney, Melissa A.; Amyot, Marc; Dastoor, Ashu; Douglas, Thomas A.; Heimburger-Boavida, Lars-Eric; Kirk, Jane; Kahilainen, Kimmo K.; Outridge, Peter M.; Pelletier, Nicolas; Skov, Henrik; St Pierre, Kyra; Vuorenmaa, Jussi; Wang, Feiyue (2022)
    Dramatic environmental shifts are occuring throughout the Arctic from climate change, with consequences for the cycling of mercury (Hg). This review summarizes the latest science on how climate change is influencing Hg transport and biogeochemical cycling in Arctic terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems. As environmental changes in the Arctic continue to accelerate, a clearer picture is emerging of the profound shifts in the climate and cryosphere, and their connections to Hg cycling. Modeling results suggest climate influences seasonal and interannual variability of atmospheric Hg deposition. The clearest evidence of current climate change effects is for Hg transport from terrestrial catchments, where widespread permafrost thaw, glacier melt and coastal erosion are increasing the export of Hg to downstream environments. Recent estimates suggest Arctic permafrost is a large global reservoir of Hg, which is vulnerable to degradation with climate warming, although the fate of permafrost soil Hg is unclear. The increasing development of thermokarst features, the formation and expansion of thaw lakes, and increased soil erosion in terres- trial landscapes are increasing river transport of particulate-bound Hg and altering conditions for aquatic Hg transfor- mations. Greater organic matter transport may also be influencing the downstream transport and fate of Hg. More severe and frequent wildfires within the Arctic and across boreal regions may be contributing to the atmospheric pool of Hg. Climate change influences on Hg biogeochemical cycling remain poorly understood. Seasonal evasion and retention of inorganic Hg may be altered by reduced sea-ice cover and higher chloride content in snow. Experi- mental evidence indicates warmer temperatures enhance methylmercury production in ocean and lake sediments as well as in tundra soils. Improved geographic coverage of measurements and modeling approaches are needed to better evaluate net effects of climate change and long-term implications for Hg contamination in the Arctic.
  • Väliranta, Minna; Sannel, A. Britta K.; Juselius, Teemu (2021)
  • Ribeiro-Kumara, Christine; Köster, Egle; Aaltonen, Heidi; Köster, Kajar (2020)
    Wildfires strongly regulate carbon (C) cycling and storage in boreal forests and account for almost 10% of global fire C emissions. However, the anticipated effects of climate change on fire regimes may destabilize current C-climate feedbacks and switch the systems to new stability domains. Since most of these forests are located in upland soils where permafrost is widespread, the expected climate warming and drying combined with more active fires may alter the greenhouse gas (GHG) budgets of boreal forests and trigger unprecedented changes in the global C balance. Therefore, a better understanding of the effects of fires on the various spatial and temporal patterns of GHG fluxes of different physical environments (permafrost and nonpermafrost soils) is fundamental to an understanding of the role played by fire in future climate feedbacks. While large amounts of C are released during fires, postfire GHG fluxes play an important role in boreal C budgets over the short and long term. The timescale over which the vegetation cover regenerates seems to drive the recovery of C emissions after both low- and high-severity fires, regardless of fire-induced changes in soil decomposition. In soils underlain by permafrost, fires increase the active layer depth for several years, which may alter the soil dynamics regulating soil GHG exchange. In a scenario of global warming, prolonged exposition of previously immobilized C could result in higher carbon dioxide emission during the early fire succession. However, without knowledge of the contribution of each respiration component combined with assessment of the warming and drying effects on both labile and recalcitrant soil organic matter throughout the soil profile, we cannot advance on the most relevant feedbacks involving fire and permafrost. Fires seem to have either negligible effects on methane (CH4) fluxes or a slight increase in CH4 uptake. However, permafrost thawing driven by climate or fire could turn upland boreal soils into temporary CH4 sources, depending on how fast the transition from moist to drier soils occurs. Most studies indicate a slight decrease or no significant change in postfire nitrous oxide (N2O) fluxes. However, simulations have shown that the temperature sensitivity of denitrification exceeds that of soil respiration; thus, the effects of warming on soil N2O emissions may be greater than on C emissions.
  • Zhou, Xuan; Sun, Hui; Pumpanen, Jukka; Sietiö, Outi-Maaria; Heinonsalo, Jussi; Köster, Kajar; Berninger, Frank (2019)
    Wildfires thaw near-surface permafrost soils in the boreal forest, making previously frozen organic matter available to microbes. The short-term microbial stoichiometric dynamics following a wildfire are critical to understanding the soil element variations in thawing permafrost. Thus, we selected a boreal wildfire chronosequence in a region of continuous permafrost, where the last wildfire occurred 3, 25, 46, and > 100 years ago (set as the control) to explore the impact of wildfire on the soil chemistry, soil microbial stoichiometry, and the fungal-to-bacterial gene ratio (F:B ratio). We observed the microbial biomass C:N:P ratio remained constant in distinct age classes indicating that microbes are homeostatic in relation to stoichiometric ratios. The microbial C:N ratios were independent of the shifts in the fungal-to-bacterial ratio when C:N exceeded 12. Wildfire-induced reduction in vegetation biomass positively affected the fungal, but not the bacterial, gene copy number. The decline in microbial biomass C, N, and P following a fire, primarily resulted from a lack of soil available C and nutrients. Wildfire affected neither the microbial biomass nor the F:B ratios at a soil depth of 30 cm. We conclude that microbial stoichiometry does not always respond to changes in the fungal-to-bacterial ratio and that wildfire-induced permafrost thawing does not accelerate microbial respiration.