University of Oulu

Heather Kropp et al 2021 Environ. Res. Lett. 16 015001,

Shallow soils are warmer under trees and tall shrubs across Arctic and Boreal ecosystems

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Author: Kropp, Heather1,2; Loranty, Michael M.2; Natali, Susan M.3;
Organizations: 1Hamilton Coll, Environm Studies Program, Clinton, NY 13323 USA.
2Colgate Univ, Dept Geog, Hamilton, NY 13346 USA.
3Woodwell Climate Res Ctr, Falmouth, MA USA.
4Univ Alaska, Inst Geophys, Fairbanks, AK USA.
5Russian Acad Sci, Inst Phys Chem & Biol Problems Soil Sci, Pushchino, Moscow Region, Russia.
6Univ Notre Dame, Dept Biol Sci, Notre Dame, IN 46556 USA.
7Univ Notre Dame, Environm Change Initiat, Notre Dame, IN 46556 USA.
8Univ Edinburgh, Sch GeoSci, Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland.
9Brigham Young Univ, Dept Plant & Wildlife Sci, Provo, UT 84602 USA.
10Graz Univ, Inst Geog & Reg Sci, Graz, Austria.
11Asiaq, Greenland Survey, Nuuk, Greenland.
12Univ Illinois, Inst Sustainabil Energy & Environm, Urbana, IL USA.
13Dutch Res Council NWO, The Hague, Netherlands.
14Ernst Moritz Arndt Univ Greifswald, Inst Bot & Landscape Ecol, Expt Plant Ecol, Soldmannstr 15, D-17487 Greifswald, Germany.
15Helmholtz Ctr Polar & Marine Res, Alfred Wegener Inst, Telegrafenberg A45, D-14473 Potsdam, Germany.
16Humboldt Univ, Germany & Geog Dept, Berlin, Germany.
17Univ Alaska, Int Arctic Res Ctr, Fairbanks, AK 99701 USA.
18US Forest Serv, USDA, Pacific Northwest Res Stn, Anchorage, AK USA.
19Univ Copenhagen, Dept Geosci & Nat Resource Management, Ctr Permafrost CENPERM, DK-1350 Copenhagen, Denmark.
20US Army Cold Reg Res & Engn Lab, Ft Wainwright, AK USA.
21Univ Virginia, Charlottesville, VA USA.
22Alaska Biol Res Inc, Fairbanks, AK USA.
23Max Planck Inst Biogeochem, Jena, Germany.
24Aarhus Univ, Dept Biosci, Aarhus, Denmark.
25Aarhus Univ, Arctic es Ctr, Aarhus, Denmark.
26Univ Saskatchewan, Coll Agr & Bioresources, Dept Soil Sci, Saskatoon, SK, Canada.
27Natl Pk Serv, Arctic Network, Anchorage, AK USA.
28Univ Alberta, Dept Renewable Resources, Edmonton, AB T6G 2R3, Canada.
29Univ Sheffield, Dept Anim & Plant Sci, Sheffield, S Yorkshire, England.
30Oak Ridge Natl Lab, Div Environm Sci, POB 2008, Oak Ridge, TN 37831 USA.
31Oak Ridge Natl Lab, Climate Change Sci Inst, POB 2008, Oak Ridge, TN 37831 USA.
32Stockholm Univ, Dept Phys Geog, Stockholm, Sweden.
33Nat Resources Canada, Geol Survey Canada, Ottawa, ON, Canada.
34Univ Montreal, Dept Geog, Montreal, PQ, Canada.
35Ctr Etud Nord, Montreal, PQ, Canada.
36San Francisco Estuary Inst, Richmond, CA USA.
37Univ Edinburgh, Sch GeoSci, Edinburgh EH9 3FF, Midlothian, Scotland.
38Towson Univ, Dept Biol Sci, Towson, MD USA.
39Univ Oulu, Geog Res Unit, Oulu, Finland.
40Trent Univ, Sch Environm, Peterborough, ON, Canada.
41Univ Alaska, Inst Arctic Biol, Fairbanks, AK 99701 USA.
42Wageningen Univ & Res, Plant Ecol & Nat Conservat Grp, Wageningen, Netherlands.
43Carleton Univ, Dept Geog & Environm Studies, Ottawa, ON, Canada.
44Shinshu Univ, Dept Environm Sci, Matsumoto, Nagano, Japan.
45Univ Alaska, Inst Northern Engn, Fairbanks, AK 99701 USA.
46Alaska EcoSci, Fairbanks, AK USA.
47Marine Biol Lab, EcoSyst Ctr, Woods Hole, MA USA.
48Univ Texas El Paso, Biol Sci, El Paso, TX 79902 USA.
49Univ Copenhagen, Dept Biol, Copenhagen, Denmark.
50Univ Zurich, Dept Evolutionary Biol & Environm Studies, Zurich, Switzerland.
51Osaka Prefecture Univ, Grad Sch Life & Environm Sci, Sakai, Osaka, Japan.
52Korea Polar Res Inst, Incheon, South Korea.
53Aarhus Univ, Dept Biosci, Roskilde, Denmark.
54Aarhus Univ, Arctic Res Ctr, Roskilde, Denmark.
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.7 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: IOP Publishing, 2020
Publish Date: 2021-03-10


Soils are warming as air temperatures rise across the Arctic and Boreal region concurrent with the expansion of tall-statured shrubs and trees in the tundra. Changes in vegetation structure and function are expected to alter soil thermal regimes, thereby modifying climate feedbacks related to permafrost thaw and carbon cycling. However, current understanding of vegetation impacts on soil temperature is limited to local or regional scales and lacks the generality necessary to predict soil warming and permafrost stability on a pan-Arctic scale. Here we synthesize shallow soil and air temperature observations with broad spatial and temporal coverage collected across 106 sites representing nine different vegetation types in the permafrost region. We showed ecosystems with tall-statured shrubs and trees (>40 cm) have warmer shallow soils than those with short-statured tundra vegetation when normalized to a constant air temperature. In tree and tall shrub vegetation types, cooler temperatures in the warm season do not lead to cooler mean annual soil temperature indicating that ground thermal regimes in the cold-season rather than the warm-season are most critical for predicting soil warming in ecosystems underlain by permafrost. Our results suggest that the expansion of tall shrubs and trees into tundra regions can amplify shallow soil warming, and could increase the potential for increased seasonal thaw depth and increase soil carbon cycling rates and lead to increased carbon dioxide loss and further permafrost thaw.

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Series: Environmental research letters
ISSN: 1748-9326
ISSN-E: 1748-9326
ISSN-L: 1748-9326
Volume: 16
Issue: 1
Article number: 015001
DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/abc994
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1172 Environmental sciences
Funding: This project was supported by the National Science Foundation (Grant No. 1417745 to M L, Grant No. 1417700 to S M N, Grant No. 1417908 to A K, Grant No. 1556772 to A R, Grant No. 1637459 to L G, Grant No. 1636476 and Grant No. 1503912 to E S E, Grant No. 1806213 to B M J, Grant No. 1833056 to K D T), UK Natural Environment Research Council (Grant No. NE/M016323/1 to I H M S, Grant No. NE/K00025X/1 to G K P, Grant No. NE/K000292/1 to M W), Natural Sciences and Engineering Research (to P L, I H M S, Grant No. RGPIN-2016-04688 to D O), Council of Canada, Canadian Graduate Scholarship to (I H M -S), Greenland Ecosystem Monitoring Programme: ClimateBasis (to J A and K A), The Next-Generation Ecosystem Experiments (NGEE Arctic) project is supported by the Office of Biological and Environmental Research in the DOE Office of Science (to A L B), Engineer Research and Development Center Army Direct (6.1) Research Program and the Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (projects RC-2110 and 18-1170 to T A D), United States Geological Survey (to E E S), Arctic Challenge for Sustainability (ArCS; Grant No. JPMXD1300000000) and ArCS II (Grant No. JPMXD1420318865) (to M U and H I), the Danish National Research Foundation (Grant No. CENPERM DNRF100 to B E), the Academy of Finland (Grant No. 315519), the National Research Foundation of Korea (Grant Nos. NRF-2016M1A5A1901769; KOPRI-PN20081 to K Y and B Y L), Research Network for Geosciences in Berlin and Potsdam (to I G), the Swiss National Science Foundation (Grant No. 140631 to G S S), the URPP Global Change and Biodiversity, University of Zurich (to G S S), the University of Alberta Northern Research Awards (to D O), and the Northern Scientific Training Program (to D O), and UT-Battelle, LLC, under contract DE-AC05-00OR22725 with the US Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science, Biological and Environmental Research (to V G S). S M has been supported by grants and/or in-kind from Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, AMAX Northwest Mining, Co. (North American Tungsten Corp., Ltd), Imperial Oil, Ltd, University of Alberta, Earthwatch International (EI), The Garfield Weston Foundation, Wapusk National Park, Churchill Northern Studies Centre, and the Northern Scientific Training Program. All code for this project are archived (DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.4041165). The data that support the findings of this study are openly available through the Arctic Data Center (Heather Kropp, Michael Loranty, Britta Sannel, Jonathan O'Donnell, Elena Blanc-Betes, et al 2020. Synthesis of soil-air temperature and vegetation measurements in the pan-Arctic. 1990-2016. Arctic Data Center. doi:10.18739/A2736M31X).
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 315519
Detailed Information: 315519 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © 2020 The Author(s). Published by IOP Publishing Ltd. Original content from this work may be used under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. Any further distribution of this work must maintain attribution to the author(s) and the title of the work, journal citation and DOI.