The work of Geophysical Institute Research Assistant Professor Guido Grosse and colleagues has been spotlighted by the American Geophysical Union. Grosse is the lead author of “Vulnerability of high-latitude soil organic carbon in North America to disturbance,” a comprehensive investigation into climate change impacts on soil carbon storage in the far north appearing in the Journal of Geophysical Research Biogeosciences, Vol. 116.
Selected out of several research pieces compiled for the journal’s special issue focusing on different disturbances to the carbon cycle, the article is the focus of the Editors’ Highlight:
“The authors defined two broad classes of external forces that may accelerate and intensify in a warming Arctic: "pulse" impacts, described as one-off extreme events, and "press" impacts, slow but persistent change in an environmental parameter. They found that permafrost thawing and changes in the regional hydrologic regime are the most important press forces, with previous research suggesting that up to 20 [percent] of permafrost will turn to being only seasonally frozen by 2100. For pulse forces, the authors identified wildfires and rapid thawing of icy permafrost as the most important. In the past 60 years the strength, frequency, and area affected by wildfires have all increased, a trend that is expected to continue into the future.”
The multi-agency initiative focuses on the vulnerability of soil carbon pools within the North America Carbon Program. The article integrates many research projects under an overarching framework, with all of the research looking at carbon cycling and the effects of change in arctic tundra and boreal forest regions, Grosse said.
Since the journal volume’s release in late July, Grosse’s collaborative research has been tracked as one of the most accessed articles for the last 30, 60 and 90 days according to JGR’s website, indicating the strong interest of the science community in northern soil carbon dynamics. In addition to JGR Biogeoscience, Grosse and colleagues will also be featured in an upcoming issue of EOS as a Research Spotlight, an ongoing column in the AGU weekly newspaper.
The full Editors’ Highlight is here: http://www.agu.org/cgi-bin/highlights/highlights.cgi?action=show&doi=10.1029/2010JG001507&jc=jg
Full article here: http://www.agu.org/journals/jg/jg1103/2010JG001507/
EOS online here: http://www.agu.org/pubs/eos-news/