Global warming will increase carbon loss in Canadian peatlands by 103%
Carbon loss in Canadian peatlands is expected to increase by 103% under a high emissions scenario, according to new research by scientists at the University of Waterloo.
The results of the study, published today in Nature’s Earth & Environment Communications journal, reinforces the urgent need for a comprehensive understanding of peatlands as evolving sources of atmospheric CO2 in a warming world.
Peatlands, which are a type of wetland, are among the most valuable ecosystems in the world. In addition to their role in preserving biodiversity and reducing flood risk, they store around a third of the world’s terrestrial organic carbon, although they only cover around three percent of the continents.
The researchers believe the study, which engineering student Arash Rafat was lead author, has implications for future climate policy. Even in the lowest radiative forcing scenario, peatlands will act as a non-growing season (NSE) source of CO2 for the remainder of the 21st century. This reinforces the hypothesis that global warming has the potential to increase CO2 emissions from peatlands during NGS in various northern regions around the world.
“Our research offers important insight into how peatlands in northern Canada will respond to global warming, especially during the no-growing season,” said Fereidoun Rezanezhad, professor in the Department of Earth and Earth Sciences. environment of Waterloo. “As the climate warms, it is important to understand the extent to which this will impact peatland ecosystems and their release of CO2 emissions – especially in warmer areas, which include peatlands in the regions. from the north and during the NGS. “
To improve our ability to predict NGS CO2 emissions from northern peatlands under current and future climate change, a team of researchers from the Water Institute of Waterloo led by professors from the Ecohydrology Research Group Rezanezhad and Philippe Van Cappellen worked with Professor William Quinton of Wilfrid Laurier University, Professor Elyn Humphreys of Carleton University and researcher Dr Kara Webster of the Great Lakes Forestry Center of the Canadian Forest Service.
The team developed a machine learning model to determine that changes in soil temperature and photosynthesis are the main drivers of changes in net carbon flux. To predict future CO2 emissions from the NGS, the team developed the model using a 13-year continuous dataset of eddy covariance flux measurements from a peatland site in Ottawa. , in Canada, called the Mer Bleue bog.
“The projected 103% increase in carbon loss from peatlands by 2100 under a high radiative forcing scenario will provide a strong positive climate feedback loop,” said Rafat, who engaged in the research during his visit. cooperative internship at the Faculty of Science of Waterloo. “In this climate feedback loop as the climate warms, peatlands release greenhouse gases, which in turn contributes to further global warming.”
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