Romanovsky Vladimir

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  • Preprint
    Importance of recent shifts in soil thermal dynamics on growing season length, productivity, and carbon sequestration in terrestrial high-latitude ecosystems
    ( 2005-10-07) Euskirchen, Eugenie ; McGuire, A. David ; Kicklighter, David W. ; Zhuang, Qianlai ; Clein, Joy S. ; Dargaville, R. J. ; Dye, D. G. ; Kimball, John S. ; McDonald, Kyle C. ; Melillo, Jerry M. ; Romanovsky, Vladimir ; Smith, N. V.
    In terrestrial high-latitude regions, observations indicate recent changes in snow cover, permafrost, and soil freeze-thaw transitions due to climate change. These modifications may result in temporal shifts in the growing season and the associated rates of terrestrial productivity. Changes in productivity will influence the ability of these ecosystems to sequester atmospheric CO2. We use the Terrestrial Ecosystem Model (TEM), which simulates the soil thermal regime, in addition to terrestrial carbon, nitrogen and water dynamics, to explore these issues over the years 1960-2100 in extratropical regions (30°-90°N). Our model simulations show decreases in snow cover and permafrost stability from 1960 to 2100. Decreases in snow cover agree well with NOAA satellite observations collected between the years 1972-2000, with Pearson rank correlation coefficients between 0.58-0.65. Model analyses also indicate a trend towards an earlier thaw date of frozen soils and the onset of the growing season in the spring by approximately 2-4 days from 1988-2000. Between 1988 and 2000, satellite records yield a slightly stronger trend in thaw and the onset of the growing season, averaging between 5-8 days earlier. In both the TEM simulations and satellite records, trends in day of freeze in the autumn are weaker, such that overall increases in growing season length are due primarily to earlier thaw. Although regions with the longest snow cover duration displayed the greatest increase in growing season length, these regions maintained smaller increases in productivity and heterotrophic respiration than those regions with shorter duration of snow cover and less of an increase in growing season length. Concurrent with increases in growing season length, we found a reduction in soil carbon and increases in vegetation carbon, with greatest losses of soil carbon occurring in those areas with more vegetation, but simulations also suggest that this trend could reverse in the future. Our results reveal noteworthy changes in snow, permafrost, growing season length, productivity, and net carbon uptake, indicating that prediction of terrestrial carbon dynamics from one decade to the next will require that large-scale models adequately take into account the corresponding changes in soil thermal regimes.
  • Preprint
    Long-term release of carbon dioxide from Arctic tundra ecosystems in Alaska
    ( 2016-11) Euskirchen, Eugenie ; Bret-Harte, M. Syndonia ; Shaver, Gaius R. ; Edgar, Colin W. ; Romanovsky, Vladimir
    Releases of the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) from thawing permafrost are expected to be among the largest feedbacks to climate from arctic ecosystems. However, the current net carbon (C) balance of terrestrial arctic ecosystems is unknown. Recent studies suggest that these ecosystems are sources, sinks, or approximately in balance at present. This uncertainty arises because there are few long-term continuous measurements of arctic tundra CO2 fluxes over the full annual cycle. Here, we describe a pattern of CO2 loss based on the longest continuous record of direct measurements of CO2 fluxes in the Alaskan Arctic, from two representative tundra ecosystems, wet sedge and heath tundra. We also report on a shorter time series of continuous measurements from a third ecosystem, tussock tundra. The amount of CO2 loss from both heath and wet sedge ecosystems was related to the timing of freeze-up of the soil active layer in the fall. Wet sedge tundra lost the most CO2 during the anomalously warm autumn periods of September – December 2013 - 2015, with CH4 emissions contributing little to the overall C budget. Losses of C translated to approximately 4.1% and 1.4% of the total soil C stocks in active layer of the wet sedge and heath tundra, respectively, from 2008 – 2015. Increases in air temperature and soil temperatures at all depths may trigger a new trajectory of CO2 release, which will be a significant feedback to further warming if it is representative of larger areas of the Arctic.