University of Oulu

Morel, X., Hansen, B., Delire, C., Ambus, P., Mastepanov, M., and Decharme, B.: A new dataset of soil carbon and nitrogen stocks and profiles from an instrumented Greenlandic fen designed to evaluate land-surface models, Earth Syst. Sci. Data, 12, 2365–2380,, 2020.

A new dataset of soil carbon and nitrogen stocks and profiles from an instrumented Greenlandic fen designed to evaluate land-surface models

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Author: Morel, Xavier1; Hansen, Birger2; Delire, Christine1;
Organizations: 1CNRM UMR 3589, Meteo-France/CNRS, Toulouse, France
2Center for Permafrost (CENPERM), Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
3Department of Biosciences, Arctic Research Centre, Aarhus University, Roskilde, Denmark
4Oulanka research station, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 11.9 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Copernicus Publications, 2020
Publish Date: 2021-02-12


Arctic and boreal peatlands play a major role in the global carbon (C) cycle. They are particularly efficient at sequestering carbon because their high water content limits decomposition rates to levels below their net primary productivity. Their future in a climate-change context is quite uncertain in terms of carbon emissions and carbon sequestration.

Nuuk fen is a well-instrumented Greenlandic fen with monitoring of soil physical variables and greenhouse gas fluxes (CH₄ and CO₂) and is of particular interest for testing and validating land-surface models. But knowledge of soil carbon stocks and profiles is missing. This is a crucial shortcoming for a complete evaluation of models, as soil carbon is one of the primary drivers of CH₄ and CO₂ soil emissions. To address this issue, we measured, for the first time, soil carbon and nitrogen density, profiles and stocks in the Nuuk peatland (64∘07′51′′ N, 51∘23′10′′ W), colocated with the greenhouse gas measurements. Measurements were made along two transects, 60 and 90 m long and with a horizontal resolution of 5 m and a vertical resolution of 5 to 10 cm, using a 4 cm diameter gouge auger. A total of 135 soil samples were analyzed. Soil carbon density varied between 6.2 and 160.2 kg C m⁻³ with a mean value of 50.2 kg C m⁻³. Mean soil nitrogen density was 2.37 kg N m⁻³. Mean soil carbon and nitrogen stocks are 36.3 kg C m⁻² and 1.7 kg N m⁻². These new data are in the range of those encountered in other arctic peatlands. This new dataset, one of very few in Greenland, can contribute to further development of joint modeling of greenhouse gas emissions and soil carbon and nitrogen in land-surface models. The dataset is open-access and available at (Morel et al., 2019b).

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Series: Earth system science data
ISSN: 1866-3508
ISSN-E: 1866-3516
ISSN-L: 1866-3508
Volume: 12
Issue: 4
Pages: 2365 - 2380
Article number: essd-12-2365-2020
DOI: 10.5194/essd-12-2365-2020
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1171 Geosciences
Funding: This research has been supported by the Acceleration of Permafrost Thaw (APT) – BNP Paribas Foundation (grant no. 2014-00000004300), the CRESCENDO “Coordinated Research in Earth Systems and Climate: Experiments, kNowledge, Dissemation and Outreach” – European Union's Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation program (grant no. 641816), and the Institut Français du Danemark (AFD) (grant no. 15/2017/CSU8.2.1).
Dataset Reference: The dataset is open-access and available at
Copyright information: © Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.