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The patterns of boreal forest carbon fluxes in response to drought changed by temporal scales

Authors: Xinyuan Wei*, University of Maine, Daniel Hayes, University of Maine
Topics: Biogeography, Earth Science, United States
Keywords: carbon budget, dissolved organic carbon, drought, watershed
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


As the largest land biome, the boreal forest acts as a major sink for atmospheric carbon dioxide by taking up and storing carbon in vegetation biomass, soil organic matter, and other ecosystem pools. Through modifying both carbon uptake by photosynthesis and carbon release by total ecosystem respiration, drought can greatly affect boreal forest carbon fluxes and storage. The frequency and intensity of droughts are projected to increase under climate change. It is a challenge to fully understand the correlation and response of carbon fluxes to droughts. Therefore, we used carbon flux estimates for the boreal forest biome based on the simulation outputs from eight terrestrial biosphere models to examine the correlation and response of land-atmosphere carbon exchange with droughts at 3-, 6-, 12-, 24- and 48-month time scales. Our results suggest that carbon fluxes were strongly correlated with drought at a 24-month time scale. The spatial patterns of boreal forest net carbon exchange in response to drought were similar at 3- and 6- month time scales. The dominant drought response in the Eurasian boreal forest was to increase carbon uptake in the ecosystem; in the North American boreal forest, on the other hand, there was both a decrease in carbon uptake and an increase in release in response to drought. When the time scale increased from a 6- to 12-month period, the drought response changed to a decrease in carbon uptake in the Eurasian boreal whereas there was an increase in carbon release from the North American boreal forest.

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