Biogeochemistry: Soil warming and organic carbon content

  title={Biogeochemistry: Soil warming and organic carbon content},
  author={Eric A. Davidson and Susan E. Trumbore and Ronald Amundson},
Soils store two or three times more carbon than exists in the atmosphere as CO2, and it is thought that the temperature sensitivity of decomposing organic matter in soil partly determines how much carbon will be transferred to the atmosphere as a result of global warming. Giardina and Ryan have questioned whether turnover times of soil carbon depend on temperature, however, on the basis of experiments involving isotope analysis and laboratory incubation of soils. We believe that their… 

Temperature sensitivity of soil carbon decomposition and feedbacks to climate change

This work has suggested that several environmental constraints obscure the intrinsic temperature sensitivity of substrate decomposition, causing lower observed ‘apparent’ temperature sensitivity, and these constraints may, themselves, be sensitive to climate.

Temperature and moisture are minor drivers of regional-scale soil organic carbon dynamics

This work uses 54 forest sites in Switzerland, systematically selected to span near-independent gradients in temperature and moisture, to disentangle the effects of climate, soil properties, and landform on SOC dynamics and demonstrates that τi and τ14C capture the dynamics of contrasting fractions of the SOC continuum.

Long-term sensitivity of soil carbon turnover to warming

Evidence is presented that non-labile SOC is more sensitive to temperature than labile SOC, implying that the long-term positive feedback of soil decomposition in a warming world may be even stronger than predicted by global models.

Temperature and soil organic matter decomposition rates – synthesis of current knowledge and a way forward

The response of soil organic matter (OM) decomposition to increasing temperature is a critical aspect of ecosystem responses to global change. The impacts of climate warming on decomposition dynamics

Faster Decomposition Under Increased Atmospheric CO2 Limits Soil Carbon Storage

The results of a meta-analysis and modeling show that increasing the concentration of atmospheric CO2 also stimulates microbial decomposition of organic carbon in soils, by roughly the same amount that it increases soil organic carbon, leading to lower equilibrium soil carbon inventories and limiting the accumulation of carbon.

The temperature sensitivity of soil organic carbon decomposition is not related to labile and recalcitrant carbon

The result of this study does not support current opinion that resistant soil carbon decomposition is more sensitive to temperature change than labile soil carbon.

Warming increases soil respiration in a carbon-rich soil without changing microbial respiratory potential

Abstract. Increases in global temperatures due to climate change threaten to tip the balance between carbon (C) fluxes, liberating large amounts of C from soils. Evidence of warming-induced increases

Temperature sensitivity of decomposition in relation to soil organic matter pools: critique and outlook

Abstract. Knorr et al. (2005) concluded that soil organic carbon pools with longer turnover times are more sensitive to temperature. We show that this conclusion is equivocal, largely dependent on



Will changes in soil organic carbon act as a positive or negative feedback on global warming?

The world's soils contain about 1500 Gt of organic carbon to a depth of 1m and a further 900 Gt from 1--2m. A change of total soil organic carbon by just 10% would thus be equivalent to all the

Evidence that decomposition rates of organic carbon in mineral soil do not vary with temperature

The data suggest that Cs decomposition rates for forest soils are not controlled by temperature limitations to microbial activity, and that increased temperature alone will not stimulate the decomposition of forest-derived carbon in mineral soil.


Radiocarbon data from soil organic matter and soil respiration provide pow- erful constraints for determining carbon dynamics and thereby the magnitude and timing of soil carbon response to global

Rapid Exchange Between Soil Carbon and Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Driven by Temperature Change

Comparison of 14C (carbon-14) in archived (pre-1963) and contemporary soils taken along an elevation gradient in the Sierra Nevada, California, demonstrates rapid (7 to 65 years) turnover for 50 to

Soil carbon pools and world life zones

Soil organic carbon in active exchange with the atmosphere constitutes approximately two-thirds of the carbon in terrestrial ecosystems1,2. The relatively large size and long residence time of this

The role of soil organic matter in sustaining soil fertility

MANY tropical soils are poor in inorganic nutrients and rely on the recycling of nutrients from soil organic matter to maintain fertility. In undisturbed rainforests such nutrients are recycled via

Respiration as the main determinant of carbon balance in European forests

Data of net ecosystem carbon exchange, collected between 1996 and 1998 from 15 European forests, confirm that many European forest ecosystems act as carbon sinks and indicate that, in general, ecosystem respiration determines netcosystem carbon exchange.

Changes in soil carbon inventories following cultivation of previously untilled soils

Cultivation of previously untilled soils usually results in release of carbon from the soil to the atmosphere, which can affect both soil fertility locally and the atmospheric burden of CO2 globally.

Variability in temperature regulation of CO2 fluxes and N mineralization from five Hawaiian soils: implications for a changing climate

The functional relationship between CO2 production and temperature was consistent among all five soils, despite the substantial differences in mean annual temperature, soils, and land-use among the sites, suggesting substantial uncertainty in regional estimates of gas exchange.

The global carbon dioxide flux in soil respiration and its relationship to vegetation and climate

We review measured rates of soil respiration from terrestrial and wetland ecosystems to define the annual global CO 2 flux from soils, to identify uncertainties in the global flux estimate, and to