Extreme heat events heighten soil respiration

Abstract

In the wake of climate change, extreme events such as heatwaves are considered to be key players in the terrestrial biosphere. In the past decades, the frequency and severity of heatwaves have risen substantially, and they are projected to continue to intensify in the future. One key question is therefore: how do changes in extreme heatwaves affect the carbon cycle? Although soil respiration (Rs) is the second largest contributor to the carbon cycle, the impacts of heatwaves on Rs have not been fully understood. Using a unique set of continuous high frequency in-situ measurements from our field site, we characterize the relationship between Rs and heatwaves. We further compare the Rs response to heatwaves across ten additional sites spanning the contiguous United States (CONUS). Applying a probabilistic framework, we conclude that during heatwaves Rs rates increase significantly, on average, by similar to 26% relative to that of non-heatwave conditions over the CONUS. Since previous in-situ observations have not measured the Rs response to heatwaves (e.g., rate, amount) at the high frequency that we present here, the terrestrial feedback to the carbon cycle may be underestimated without capturing these high frequency extreme heatwave events.

Description
Keywords
CLIMATE EXTREMES, CARBON, RESPONSES, DROUGHT, WATER, COMMUNITIES, RESILIENCE, RESISTANCE, INCREASES, MOISTURE, Multidisciplinary Sciences
Citation
Anjileli, H., Huning, L. S., Moftakhari, H., Ashraf, S., Asanjan, A. A., Norouzi, H., & AghaKouchak, A. (2021). Extreme heat events heighten soil respiration. In Scientific Reports (Vol. 11, Issue 1). Springer Science and Business Media LLC. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-85764-8