Decomposition of soil organic matter (SOM) in permafrost terrain and the production of greenhouse gases is a key factor for understanding climate change‐carbon feedbacks. Previous studies have shown that SOM decomposition is mostly controlled by soil temperature, soil moisture, and carbon‐nitrogen ratio (C:N). However, focus has generally been on site‐specific processes and little is known about variations in the controls on SOM decomposition across Arctic sites. For assessing SOM decomposition, we retrieved 241 samples from 101 soil profiles across three contrasting Arctic regions and incubated them in the laboratory under aerobic conditions. We assessed soil carbon losses (Closs) five times during a 1 year incubation. The incubated material consisted of near‐surface active layer (ALNS), subsurface active layer (ALSS), peat, and permafrost samples. Samples were analyzed for carbon, nitrogen, water content, δ13C, δ15N, and dry bulk density (DBD). While no significant differences were observed between total ALSS and permafrost Closs over 1 year incubation (2.3 ± 2.4% and 2.5 ± 1.5% Closs, respectively), ALNS samples showed higher Closs (7.9 ± 4.2%). DBD was the best explanatory parameter for active layer Closs across sites. Additionally, results of permafrost samples show that C:N ratio can be used to characterize initial Closs between sites. This data set on the influence of abiotic parameter on microbial SOM decomposition can improve model simulations of Arctic soil CO2 production by providing representative mean values of CO2 production rates and identifying standard parameters or proxies for upscaling potential CO2 production from site to regional scales.
Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 2018
Keywords: ; ; ; ;
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