University of Oulu

Karyn C. DeFranco, Michael P. Ricketts, Elena Blanc-Betes, Jeffrey M. Welker, Miquel A. Gonzalez-Meler & Neil C. Sturchio (2020) Deeper snow increases the net soil organic carbon accrual rate in moist acidic tussock tundra: 210Pb evidence from Arctic Alaska, Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research, 52:1, 461-475, DOI: 10.1080/15230430.2020.1802864

Deeper snow increases the net soil organic carbon accrual rate in moist acidic tussock tundra : ²¹⁰Pb evidence from Arctic Alaska

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Author: DeFranco, Karyn C.1; Ricketts, Michael P.2; Blanc-Betes, Elena2;
Organizations: 1Department of Earth Sciences, University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware, USA
2Department of Biological Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA
3Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alaska Anchorage, Anchorage, Alaska, USA
4Department of Ecology and Genetics, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 5.6 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Informa, 2020
Publish Date: 2020-12-04


The net change in the carbon inventory of arctic tundra remains uncertain as global warming leads to shifts in arctic water and carbon cycles. To better understand the response of arctic tundra carbon to changes in winter precipitation amount, we investigated soil depth profiles of carbon concentration and radionuclide activities (⁷Be, ¹³⁷Cs, ²¹⁰Pb, and ²⁴¹Am) in the active layer of a twenty-two-year winter snow depth manipulation experiment in moist acidic tussock tundra at Toolik Lake, Alaska. Depth correlations of cumulative carbon dry mass (g cm⁻²) vs. unsupported ²¹⁰Pb activity (mBq g⁻¹) were examined using a modified constant rate of supply (CRS) model. Results were best fit by two-slope CRS models indicating an apparent step temporal increase in the accumulation rate of soil organic carbon. Most of the best-fit model chronologies indicated that the increase in carbon accumulation rate apparently began and persisted after snow fence construction in 1994. The inhomogeneous nature of permafrost soils and their relatively low net carbon accumulation rates make it challenging to establish robust chronologic records. Nonetheless, the data obtained in this study support a decadal-scale increase in net soil organic carbon accumulation rate in the active layer of arctic moist acidic tussock tundra under conditions of increased winter precipitation.

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Series: Arctic, Antarctic, and alpine research
ISSN: 1523-0430
ISSN-E: 1938-4246
ISSN-L: 1523-0430
Volume: 52
Issue: 1
Pages: 461 - 475
DOI: 10.1080/15230430.2020.1802864
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
Funding: This research was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, Terrestrial Ecosystem Science Program (DE-SC0006607) to MAG-M and by the U.S. National Science Foundation, Office of Polar Programs over the 20+-year duration of the experiment with awards from the Arctic System Science and Arctic Observing Network programs, through award numbers 1504141, 1433063, 0119279, 0856728, 0632184, 9617643, 9321730 to JMW. KCD acknowledges receipt of a Grad Student Research Grant from the Geological Society of America.
Copyright information: © 2020 The Author(s). Published with license by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.