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The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2019-214
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2019-214
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 11 Oct 2019

Submitted as: research article | 11 Oct 2019

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A revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal TC.

Freeze-thaw processes of active layer regulate soil respiration of alpine meadow in the permafrost region of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau

Junfeng Wang1,2, Qingbai Wu1, Ziqiang Yuan1, and Hojeong Kang3 Junfeng Wang et al.
  • 1State Key Laboratory of Frozen Soil Engineering, Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources, CAS, Lanzhou 730000, China
  • 2Beiluhe Observation Station of Frozen Soil Environment and Engineering, Northwest Institute of Eco-environment and Resources, CAS, Lanzhou 730000, China
  • 3School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Yonsei University, Seoul 03722, Korea

Abstract. Freezing and thawing action of the active layer plays a significant role in soil respiration (Rs) in permafrost regions. However, little is known about how the freeze-thaw process regulates the Rs dynamics in different stages for the alpine meadow underlain by permafrost on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau (QTP). We conducted continuous in-situ measurements of Rs and freeze-thaw process of the active layer at an alpine meadow site in the Beiluhe permafrost region of QTP to determine the regulatory mechanisms of the different freeze-thaw stages of the active layer on the Rs. We found that the freezing and thawing process of active layer modified the Rs dynamics differently in different freeze-thaw stages. The mean Rs ranged from 0.56 to 1.75 μmol/m2s across the stages, with the lowest value in the SW stage and highest value in the ST stage; and Q10 among the different freeze-thaw stages changed greatly, with maximum (4.9) in the WC stage and minimum (1.7) in the SW stage. Patterns of Rs among the ST, AF, WC, and SW stages differed, and the corresponding contribution percentages of cumulative Rs to annual total Rs were 61.54, 8.89, 18.35, and 11.2 %, respectively. Soil temperature (Ts) was the most important driver of Rs regardless of soil water status in all stages. Our results suggest that as the climate warming and permafrost degradation continue, great changes in freeze-thaw process patterns may trigger more Rs emissions from this ecosystem because of prolonged ST stage.

Junfeng Wang et al.

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Junfeng Wang et al.

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Short summary
The active layer, a buffer between permafrost and atmosphere, is more sensitive and responds more quickly to climate change. How the freeze-thaw action at different stages regulates the carbon emissions is still unclear. We conducted a two-year continuous in-situ measurement at an alpine meadow permafrost ecosystem in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and found the freeze-thaw process modified the Rs dynamics differently in different stages. Results suggest great changes in freeze-thaw process patterns.
The active layer, a buffer between permafrost and atmosphere, is more sensitive and responds...
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