Permafrost Carbon Network

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Working Group: Permafrost carbon Quantity

Background and Objectives:

The amount of soil organic carbon (SOC) stored in permafrost terrain is significantly larger than what has previously been recognized in global estimates of SOC pools. Using the Northern Circumpolar Soil Carbon Database, Tarnocai et al. (2009) estimated SOC stocks in the northern circumpolar permafrost region to be 1024 Pg (1 Pg= 1 000,000,000 tons) for the upper three meters, with an additional 241 Pg stored in deep deltaic deposits and 407 Pg in Yedoma (ice rich deposits that accumulated before the last ice age). While researchers agree that there are large amounts of organic carbon in permafrost, challenges remain and estimates of deep soils (1–3 m depth) as well as deep Yedoma and deltaic deposits (>3 m) are identified as particularly uncertain.

Key questions we are addressing in the C Quantity working group are:

  • What new insight can we gain from more detailed landscape SOC studies?
  • How much SOC is stored in deeper (> 1 m) soils and deposits?
  • How large are the uncertainties in current estimates of SOC storage?
  • What are the typical SOC distribution depth profiles for different soil classes?

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    Completed synthesis productS:

    The Northern Circumpolar Soil Carbon Database (NCSCD):

    An initial action of the Carbon Quantity group has been to update, reformat and publish the Northern Circumpolar Soil Carbon Database: spatially distributed datasets of soil coverage and soil carbon storage in the northern permafrost regions.
    The descriptive data paper can be found here and the open access data-portal with all the described GIS-datasets is available online here.

    The map shows the extent of the northern circumpolar permafrost region and soil organic carbon content to a depth of 1m, estimated using the Northern Circumpolar Soil Carbon Database

    Download the data polygon based GIS data (shape-files)

    Hugelius G, Tarnocai C, Broll G, Canadell JG, Kuhry P, Swanson DK (2013) The Northern Circumpolar Soil Carbon Database: spatially distributed datasets of soil coverage and soil carbon storage in the northern permafrost regions. Earth System Science Data, 5, 1. doi: 10.5194/essd-5-3-2013

     

    Estimated stocks of circumpolar permafrost carbon with quantified uncertainty ranges and identified data gaps

    Hugelius G, Strauss J, Zubrzycki S, Harden JW, Schuur EAG, Ping C-L, Schirrmeister L, Grosse G, Michaelson GJ, Koven CD, O'Donnell JA, Elberling B, Mishra U, Camill P, Yu Z, Palmtag J, and Kuhry P (2014) Estimated stocks of circumpolar permafrost carbon with quantified uncertainty ranges and identified data gaps. Biogeosciences, 11, 6573-6593. doi:10.5194/bg-11-6573-2014

     

    The Deep Permafrost Carbon Pool of the Yedoma Region in Siberia and Alaska

    Strauss J, Schirrmeister L, Grosse G, Wetterich S, Ulrich M, Herzschuh U, Hubberten H-W (2013) The Deep Permafrost Carbon Pool of the Yedoma Region in Siberia and Alaska. Geophysical Research Letters, 2013GL058088, doi: 10.1002/2013gl058088


     

    Carbon Quantity products in progress:

    Incorpoartion of Tibetan Plateau carbon stocks in the Northern Circumpolar Soil Carbon database

    Leads: Yuanhe Yang, Gustaf Hugelius

     

    For more details on this working group send an email to Gustaf Hugelius

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    Map with sampling sites for soil cores

    Click on the map to obtain detailed information on a specific sampling location.

    Map_NCSCD