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Long-term pattern and magnitude of soil carbon feedback to the climate system in a warming world

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Science  06 Oct 2017:
Vol. 358, Issue 6359, pp. 101-105
DOI: 10.1126/science.aan2874

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  • Nonnegligible role of warming-induced soil drying in regulating warming effect on soil respiration
    • Enzai Du, Associate professor, Beijing Normal University, China

    Nonnegligible role of warming-induced soil drying in regulating warming effect on soil respiration

    Enzai Du

    State Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes and Resource Ecology, Faculty of Geographical Science, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, 100875, China.

    Corresponding author: Enzai Du, Tel: +86-10-58808085, Email: enzaidu@bnu.edu.cn

    Abstract
    Based on results of a 26-year soil warming experiment (soil temperature being elevated by 5 °C) in a Harvard hardwood forest, Melillo et al. demonstrated a four-phase pattern of long-term warming effect on soil respiration, while the mechanisms were not fully elucidated because they neglected the indirect effect due to warming-induced soil drying. By showing a significant correlation between precipitation anomaly and inter-annual variation of warming effect on soil respiration, we suggest a nonnegligible role of warming-induced soil drying in regulating the long-term warming effect on soil respiration. Our analysis recommends further efforts to consider both the direct and indirect (i.e., warming-induced soil drying) warming effects to gain more in-depth understanding of the long-term soil C dynamics.  

    Understanding the long-term effect of climate warming on soil respiration is a prerequisite for the projection of future change in global soil carbon (C) pools and their consequent feedbacks to climate change. Based on results of a 26-year soil warm...

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    Competing Interests: None declared.