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Model-data fusion to assess year-round CO2 fluxes for an arctic heath ecosystem in West Greenland (69°N)

Zhang, Wenxin, Jansson, Per-Erik, Sigsgaard, Charlotte, McConnell, Alistair, Jammet, Mathilde Manon, Westergaard-Nielsen, Andreas, Lund, Magnus, Friborg, Thomas, Michelsen, Anders, Elberling, Bo
Agricultural and forest meteorology 2019 v.272-273 pp. 176-186
carbon cycle, carbon dioxide, carbon dioxide production, climate change, ecosystem respiration, eddy covariance, environmental factors, gas exchange, greenhouse gas emissions, growing season, models, net ecosystem exchange, photosynthesis, seasonal variation, snowpack, soil quality, soil respiration, soil temperature, soil water, terrestrial ecosystems, tundra, winter, Arctic region, Greenland
Quantifying net CO2 exchange (NEE) of arctic terrestrial ecosystems in response to changes in climatic and environmental conditions is central to understanding ecosystem functioning and assessing potential feedbacks of the carbon cycle to future climate changes. However, annual CO2 budgets for arctic tundra are rare due to the difficulties of performing measurements during non-growing seasons. It is still unclear to what extent arctic tundra ecosystems currently act as a CO2 source, sink or are in balance. This study presents year-round eddy-covariance (EC) measurements of CO2 fluxes for an arctic heath ecosystem on Disko Island, West Greenland (69 °N) over five years. Based on a fusion of year-round EC-derived CO2 fluxes, soil temperature and moisture, the process-oriented model (CoupModel) has been constrained to quantify an annual budget and characterize seasonal patterns of CO2 fluxes. The results show that total photosynthesis corresponds to -202 ± 20 g C m−2 yr-1 with ecosystem respiration of 167 ± 28 g C m-2 yr-1, resulting in NEE of -35 ± 15 g C m-2 yr-1. The respiration loss is mainly described as decomposition of near-surface litter. A year with an anomalously deep snowpack shows a threefold increase in the rate of ecosystem respiration compared to other years. Due to the high CO2 emissions during that winter, the annual budget results in a marked reduction in the CO2 sink. The seasonal patterns of photosynthesis and soil respiration were described using response functions of the forcing atmosphere and soil conditions. Snow depth, topography-related soil moisture, and growing season warmth are identified as important environmental characteristics which most influence seasonal rates of gas exchange.