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ArticleContrasting soil thermal responses to fire in Alaskan tundra and boreal forest(John Wiley & Sons, 2015-02-24) Jiang, Yueyang ; Rocha, Adrian V. ; O’Donnell, Jonathan A. ; Drysdale, Jessica A. ; Rastetter, Edward B. ; Shaver, Gaius R. ; Zhuang, QianlaiRecent fire activity throughout Alaska has increased the need to understand postfire impacts on soils and permafrost vulnerability. Our study utilized data and modeling from a permafrost and ecosystem gradient to develop a mechanistic understanding of the short- and long-term impacts of tundra and boreal forest fires on soil thermal dynamics. Fires influenced a variety of factors that altered the surface energy budget, soil moisture, and the organic-layer thickness with the overall effect of increasing soil temperatures and thaw depth. The postfire thickness of the soil organic layer and its impact on soil thermal conductivity was the most important factor determining postfire soil temperatures and thaw depth. Boreal and tundra ecosystems underlain by permafrost experienced smaller postfire soil temperature increases than the nonpermafrost boreal forest from the direct and indirect effects of permafrost on drainage, soil moisture, and vegetation flammability. Permafrost decreased the loss of the insulating soil organic layer, decreased soil drying, increased surface water pooling, and created a significant heat sink to buffer postfire soil temperature and thaw depth changes. Ecosystem factors also played a role in determining postfire thaw depth with boreal forests taking several decades longer to recover their soil thermal properties than tundra. These factors resulted in tundra being less sensitive to postfire soil thermal changes than the nonpermafrost boreal forest. These results suggest that permafrost and soil organic carbon will be more vulnerable to fire as climate warms.
ArticleUncertainty analysis of vegetation distribution in the northern high latitudes during the 21st century with a dynamic vegetation model(John Wiley & Sons, 2012-02-13) Jiang, Yueyang ; Zhuang, Qianlai ; Schaphoff, Sibyll ; Sitch, Stephen ; Sokolov, Andrei P. ; Kicklighter, David W. ; Melillo, Jerry M.This study aims to assess how high-latitude vegetation may respond under various climate scenarios during the 21st century with a focus on analyzing model parameters induced uncertainty and how this uncertainty compares to the uncertainty induced by various climates. The analysis was based on a set of 10,000 Monte Carlo ensemble Lund-Potsdam-Jena (LPJ) simulations for the northern high latitudes (45oN and polewards) for the period 1900–2100. The LPJ Dynamic Global Vegetation Model (LPJ-DGVM) was run under contemporary and future climates from four Special Report Emission Scenarios (SRES), A1FI, A2, B1, and B2, based on the Hadley Centre General Circulation Model (GCM), and six climate scenarios, X901M, X902L, X903H, X904M, X905L, and X906H from the Integrated Global System Model (IGSM) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). In the current dynamic vegetation model, some parameters are more important than others in determining the vegetation distribution. Parameters that control plant carbon uptake and light-use efficiency have the predominant influence on the vegetation distribution of both woody and herbaceous plant functional types. The relative importance of different parameters varies temporally and spatially and is influenced by climate inputs. In addition to climate, these parameters play an important role in determining the vegetation distribution in the region. The parameter-based uncertainties contribute most to the total uncertainty. The current warming conditions lead to a complexity of vegetation responses in the region. Temperate trees will be more sensitive to climate variability, compared with boreal forest trees and C3 perennial grasses. This sensitivity would result in a unanimous northward greenness migration due to anomalous warming in the northern high latitudes. Temporally, boreal needleleaved evergreen plants are projected to decline considerably, and a large portion of C3 perennial grass is projected to disappear by the end of the 21st century. In contrast, the area of temperate trees would increase, especially under the most extreme A1FI scenario. As the warming continues, the northward greenness expansion in the Arctic region could continue.
PreprintImportance of soil thermal regime in terrestrial ecosystem carbon dynamics in the circumpolar north( 2016-04-19) Jiang, Yueyang ; Zhuang, Qianlai ; Sitch, Stephen ; O'Donnell, Jonathan A. ; Kicklighter, David W. ; Sokolov, Andrei P. ; Melillo, Jerry M.In the circumpolar north (45-90°N), permafrost plays an important role in vegetation and carbon (C) dynamics. Permafrost thawing has been accelerated by the warming climate and exerts a positive feedback to climate through increasing soil C release to the atmosphere. To evaluate the influence of permafrost on C dynamics, changes in soil temperature profiles should be considered in global C models. This study incorporates a sophisticated soil thermal model (STM) into a dynamic global vegetation model (LPJ-DGVM) to improve simulations of changes in soil temperature profiles from the ground surface to 3 m depth, and its impacts on C pools and fluxes during the 20th and 21st centuries.With cooler simulated soil temperatures during the summer, LPJ-STM estimates ~0.4 Pg C yr-1 lower present-day heterotrophic respiration but ~0.5 Pg C yr-1 higher net primary production than the original LPJ model resulting in an additional 0.8 to 1.0 Pg C yr-1 being sequestered in circumpolar ecosystems. Under a suite of projected warming scenarios, we show that the increasing active layer thickness results in the mobilization of permafrost C, which contributes to a more rapid increase in heterotrophic respiration in LPJ-STM compared to the stand-alone LPJ model. Except under the extreme warming conditions, increases in plant production due to warming and rising CO2, overwhelm the enhanced ecosystem respiration so that both boreal forest and arctic tundra ecosystems remain a net C sink over the 21st century. This study highlights the importance of considering changes in the soil thermal regime when quantifying the C budget in the circumpolar north.