Elevation-based upscaling of organic carbon stocks in High-Arctic permafrost terrain: a storage and distribution assessment for Spitsbergen, Svalbard

  • Niels Weiss Department of Physical Geography, Stockholm University, Stockholm
  • Samuel Faucherre Center for Permafrost, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen
  • Nikos Lampiris Department of Physical Geography, Stockholm University, Stockholm
  • Robin Wojcik Section Interface Geochemistry, German Research Centre for Geoscience, Potsdam, Germany, and Department of Physical Geography, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
Keywords: Soil organic carbon; SOC inventory; upscaling model; climate warming; greenhouse gas release

Abstract

Accurate quantity and distribution estimates of permafrost soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks are needed to project potential feedbacks to climate, following warming. Still, upscaling from local field observations to regional estimates to circumarctic assessments remains a challenge. Here we explore elevation-based upscaling techniques for High-Arctic permafrost SOC stocks. We combine two detailed, high-resolution SOC inventories on Spitsbergen (Svalbard) with regional validation data. We find a clear relationship between elevation and SOC content, and use this observed exponential correlation, as well as discrete elevation classes, as upscaling models for Spitsbergen. We estimate the total amount of permafrost SOC currently present in soils on Spitsbergen to be 105.36 Tg (0.11 Pg), with a mean SOC content of 2.84 ± 0.74 kg C m−2 (mean ± 95% confidence interval). Excluding glaciers and permanent snowfields, exposed land is currently estimated to contain 6.26 ± 1.47 kg C m−2.

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Published
2017-12-15
How to Cite
Weiss, N., Faucherre, S., Lampiris, N., & Wojcik, R. (2017). Elevation-based upscaling of organic carbon stocks in High-Arctic permafrost terrain: a storage and distribution assessment for Spitsbergen, Svalbard. Polar Research, 36. Retrieved from https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/2678
Section
Research Articles