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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

C. Tarnocai et al., GBC, 23 (2009), Soil organic carbon pools in the northern circumpolar permafrost region

Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 23 (2009) GB2023; doi:10.1029/2008GB003327

Soil organic carbon pools in the northern circumpolar permafrost region

C. Tarnocai (Research Branch, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada), J. G. Canadell (Global Carbon Project, Marine and Atmospheric Research, CSIRO, Canberra, ACT, Australia), E. A. G. Schuur (Department of Botany, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, U.S.A.), P. Kuhry (Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden), G. Mazhitova (Komi Science Center, Russian Academy of Sciences, Syktyvkar, Russia), and S. Zimov (Northeast Science Station, Russian Academy of Sciences, Cherskii, Russia)


The Northern Circumpolar Soil Carbon Database was developed in order to determine carbon pools in soils of the northern circumpolar permafrost region. The area of all soils in the northern permafrost region is approximately 18,782 × 103 km2, or approximately 16% of the global soil area. In the northern permafrost region, organic soils (peatlands) and cryoturbated permafrost-affected mineral soils have the highest mean soil organic carbon contents (32.2–69.6 kg m−2). Here we report a new estimate of the carbon pools in soils of the northern permafrost region, including deeper layers and pools not accounted for in previous analyses. Carbon pools were estimated to be 191.29 Pg for the 0–30 cm depth, 495.80 Pg for the 0–100 cm depth, and 1024.00 Pg for the 0–300 cm depth. Our estimate for the first meter of soil alone is about double that reported for this region in previous analyses. Carbon pools in layers deeper than 300 cm were estimated to be 407 Pg in yedoma deposits and 241 Pg in deltaic deposits. In total, the northern permafrost region contains approximately 1672 Pg of organic carbon, of which approximately 1466 Pg, or 88%, occurs in perennially frozen soils and deposits. This 1672 Pg of organic carbon would account for approximately 50% of the estimated global below-ground organic carbon pool.

(Received 13 August 2008, accepted 3 April 2009, published 27 June 2009.)

Tarnocai, C., J. G. Canadell, E. A. G. Schuur, P. Kuhry, G. Mazhitova, & S. Zimov (2009), Soil organic carbon pools in the northern circumpolar permafrost region, Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 23, GB2023; doi:10.1029/2008GB003327.

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