Soil organic carbon (SOC) in Arctic coastal polygonal tundra is vulnerable to climate change, especially in soils with occurrence of large amounts of ground ice. Pan-arctic studies of mapping SOC exist, yet they fail to describe the high spatial variability of SOC storage in permafrost landscapes. An important factor is the landscape history which determines landform development and consequently the spatial variability of SOC. Our aim was to map SOC stocks, and which environmental variables that determine SOC, in two adjacent coastal areas along Canadian Beaufort Sea coast with different glacial history. We used the machine learning technique random forest and environmental variables to map the spatial distribution of SOC stocks down to 1 m depth at a spatial resolution of 2 m for depth increments of 0–5, 5–15, 15–30, 30–60 and 60–100 cm. The results show that the two study areas had large differences in SOC stocks in the depth 60–100 cm due to high amounts of ground ice in one of the study areas. There are also differences in variable importance of the explanatory variables between the two areas. The area low in ground ice content had with 66.6 kg C/m−2 more stored SOC than the area rich in ground ice content with 40.0 kg C/m−2. However, this SOC stock could be potentially more vulnerable to climate change if ground ice melts and the ground subsides. The average N stock of the area low in ground ice is 3.77 kg m−2 and of the area rich in ground ice is 3.83 kg m−2. These findings support that there is a strong correlation between ground ice and SOC, with less SOC in ice-rich layers on a small scale. In addition to small scale studies of SOC mapping, detailed maps of ground ice content and distribution are needed for a validation of large-scale quantifications of SOC stocks and transferability of models.

High resolution mapping shows differences in soil carbon and nitrogen stocks in areas of varying landscape history in Canadian lowland tundra

Lodi, Rachele;
2023-01-01

Abstract

Soil organic carbon (SOC) in Arctic coastal polygonal tundra is vulnerable to climate change, especially in soils with occurrence of large amounts of ground ice. Pan-arctic studies of mapping SOC exist, yet they fail to describe the high spatial variability of SOC storage in permafrost landscapes. An important factor is the landscape history which determines landform development and consequently the spatial variability of SOC. Our aim was to map SOC stocks, and which environmental variables that determine SOC, in two adjacent coastal areas along Canadian Beaufort Sea coast with different glacial history. We used the machine learning technique random forest and environmental variables to map the spatial distribution of SOC stocks down to 1 m depth at a spatial resolution of 2 m for depth increments of 0–5, 5–15, 15–30, 30–60 and 60–100 cm. The results show that the two study areas had large differences in SOC stocks in the depth 60–100 cm due to high amounts of ground ice in one of the study areas. There are also differences in variable importance of the explanatory variables between the two areas. The area low in ground ice content had with 66.6 kg C/m−2 more stored SOC than the area rich in ground ice content with 40.0 kg C/m−2. However, this SOC stock could be potentially more vulnerable to climate change if ground ice melts and the ground subsides. The average N stock of the area low in ground ice is 3.77 kg m−2 and of the area rich in ground ice is 3.83 kg m−2. These findings support that there is a strong correlation between ground ice and SOC, with less SOC in ice-rich layers on a small scale. In addition to small scale studies of SOC mapping, detailed maps of ground ice content and distribution are needed for a validation of large-scale quantifications of SOC stocks and transferability of models.
2023
438
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10278/5036143
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