Edward A G Schuur

Edward A G Schuur
Northern Arizona University | NAU · Center for Ecosystem Science and Society

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294
Publications
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Publications

Publications (294)
Article
Climate change affects the Arctic and sub-Arctic regions by exposing previously frozen permafrost to thaw, unlocking soil nutrients, changing hydrological processes, and boosting plant growth. As a result, sub-Arctic tundra is subject to a shrub expansion, called “shrubification”, at the expense of sedge species. Depending on the intrinsic foliar p...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background Determining the life-history traits of extinct species is often difficult from skeletal remains alone, limiting the accuracy of studies modeling past ecosystems. However, the analysis of the degraded endogenous bacterial DNA present in paleontological fecal matter (coprolites) may enable the characterization of specific traits such as th...
Article
Full-text available
Arctic warming and permafrost degradation are modifying northern ecosystems through changes in microtopography, soil water dynamics, nutrient availability, and vegetation succession. Upon permafrost degradation, the release of deep stores of nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, from newly thawed permafrost stimulates Arctic vegetation produc...
Article
Full-text available
Peatlands have often been neglected in Earth system models (ESMs). Where they are included, they are usually represented via a separate, prescribed grid cell fraction that is given the physical characteristics of a peat (highly organic) soil. However, in reality soils vary on a spectrum between purely mineral soil (no organic material) and purely o...
Article
Full-text available
Mineral elements bind to dissolved organic carbon (DOC) in permafrost soils, and this may contribute to the stabilization or the degradation of organic carbon along the soil to river continuum. Permafrost thaw enlarges the pool of soil constituents available for soil to river transfer. The unknown is how changes in hydrology upon permafrost degrada...
Article
Thawing permafrost in northern latitudes has led to deepening active soil layers and fluctuating water tables. This could increase plant access to permafrost‐derived nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and other nutrients such as calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg), and subsequently increase plant productivity and ecosystem carbon storage and nutrient cyclin...
Article
Past efforts to synthesize and quantify the magnitude and change in carbon dioxide (CO2) fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems across the rapidly warming Arctic–boreal zone (ABZ) have provided valuable information but were limited in their geographical and temporal coverage. Furthermore, these efforts have been based on data aggregated over varying time...
Chapter
•The Arctic is continuing to warm faster than any other region on Earth, but key uncertainties remain in our knowledge of the Arctic carbon cycle. •We review the most current knowledge pertaining to estimates of arctic greenhouse gas components and discuss uncertainties associated with these measurements and models. •While the Arctic Ocean is consi...
Article
Microorganisms are major constituents of the total biomass in permafrost regions, whose underlain soils are frozen for at least two consecutive years. To understand potential microbial responses to climate change, here we examined microbial community compositions and functional capacities across four soil depths in an Alaska tundra site. We showed...
Article
Full-text available
Rapid Arctic warming is causing permafrost to thaw and exposing large quantities of soil organic carbon (C) to potential decomposition. In dry upland tundra systems, subsidence from thawing permafrost can increase surface soil moisture resulting in higher methane (CH4) emissions from newly waterlogged soils. The proportion of C released as carbon d...
Article
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Wildfire frequency and extent is increasing throughout the boreal forest-tundra ecotone as climate warms. Understanding the impacts of wildfire throughout this ecotone is required to make predictions of the rate and magnitude of changes in boreal-tundra landcover, its future flammability, and associated feedbacks to the global carbon (C) cycle and...
Preprint
Arctic warming and permafrost degradation are modifying northern ecosystems through changes in microtopography, soil water dynamics, nutrient availability, and vegetation succession. Upon permafrost degradation, the release of deep stores of nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus from newly thawed permafrost stimulates Arctic vegetation producti...
Article
Time series of wetland methane fluxes measured by eddy covariance require gap-filling to estimate daily, seasonal , and annual emissions. Gap-filling methane fluxes is challenging because of high variability and complex responses to multiple drivers. To date, there is no widely established gap-filling standard for wetland methane fluxes, with regar...
Article
Peatlands have often been neglected in Earth System Models (ESMs). Where they are included, they are usually represented via a separate, prescribed grid cell fraction that is given the physical characteristics of a peat (highly organic) soil. However, in reality soils vary on a spectrum between purely mineral soil (no organic material), and purely...
Chapter
Full-text available
Permafrost is perennially frozen ground, such as soil, rock, and ice. In permafrost regions, plant and microbial life persists primarily in the near-surface soil that thaws every summer, called the ‘active layer’. The cold and wet conditions in many permafrost regions limit decomposition of organic matter. In combination with soil mixing processes...
Article
Full-text available
Soil respiration (i.e. from soils and roots) provides one of the largest global fluxes of carbon dioxide (CO2) to the atmosphere and is likely to increase with warming, yet the magnitude of soil respiration from rapidly thawing Arctic-boreal regions is not well understood. To address this knowledge gap, we first compiled a new CO2 flux database for...
Article
Full-text available
Methane (CH4) emissions from natural landscapes constitute roughly half of global CH4 contributions to the atmosphere, yet large uncertainties remain in the absolute magnitude and the seasonality of emission quantities and drivers. Eddy covariance (EC) measurements of CH4 flux are ideal for constraining ecosystem-scale CH4 emissions due to quasi-co...
Preprint
Full-text available
Past efforts to synthesize and quantify the magnitude and change in carbon dioxide (CO2) fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems across the rapidly warming Arctic-Boreal Zone (ABZ) have provided valuable information, but were limited in their geographical and temporal coverage. Furthermore, these efforts have been based on data aggregated over varying tim...
Preprint
Full-text available
Large changes in the Arctic carbon balance are expected as warming linked to climate change threatens to destabilize ancient permafrost carbon stocks. The eddy covariance (EC) method is an established technique to quantify net losses and gains of carbon between the biosphere and atmosphere at high spatio-temporal resolution. Over the past decades,...
Article
Full-text available
Rapid climate warming is altering Arctic and alpine tundra ecosystem structure and function, including shifts in plant phenology. While the advancement of green up and flowering are well-documented, it remains unclear whether all phenophases, particularly those later in the season, will shift in unison or respond divergently to warming. Here, we pr...
Article
Full-text available
Isotopic radiocarbon (Δ¹⁴C) signatures of ecosystem respiration (Reco) can identify old soil carbon (C) loss and serve as an early indicator of permafrost destabilization in a warming climate. Warming also stimulates plant productivity causing plant respiration to dominate Reco Δ¹⁴C signatures and potentially obscuring old soil C loss. Here, we inv...
Article
Full-text available
Observations of changes in phenology have provided some of the strongest signals of the effects of climate change on terrestrial ecosystems. The International Tundra Experiment (ITEX), initiated in the early 1990s, established a common protocol to measure plant phenology in tundra study areas across the globe. Today, this valuable collection of phe...
Article
The regional variability in tundra and boreal carbon dioxide (CO2) fluxes can be high, complicating efforts to quantify sink‐source patterns across the entire region. Statistical models are increasingly used to predict (i.e., upscale) CO2 fluxes across large spatial domains, but the reliability of different modeling techniques, each with different...
Article
Full-text available
Large stocks of soil organic carbon (SOC) have accumulated in the Northern Hemisphere permafrost region, but their current amounts and future fate remain uncertain. By analyzing dataset combining >2700 soil profiles with environmental variables in a geospatial framework, we generated spatially explicit estimates of permafrost-region SOC stocks, qua...
Preprint
Full-text available
Methane (CH4) emissions from natural landscapes constitute roughly half of global CH4 contributions to the atmosphere, yet large uncertainties remain in the absolute magnitude and the seasonality of emission quantities and drivers. Eddy covariance (EC) measurements of CH4 flux are ideal for constraining ecosystem-scale CH4 emissions, including thei...
Chapter
Energy, water, and greenhouse gas exchange in the permafrost zone play an important role in the regional and global climate system at multiple temporal and spatial scales. High-latitude warming in recent years has substantially altered ecosystem function, including biosphere–atmosphere interaction, which may amplify or dampen future high-latitude w...
Article
Full-text available
Non-technical summary: We summarize some of the past year's most important findings within climate change-related research. New research has improved our understanding of Earth's sensitivity to carbon dioxide, finds that permafrost thaw could release more carbon emissions than expected and that the uptake of carbon in tropical ecosystems is weakeni...
Article
Full-text available
High‐latitude tundra ecosystems are increasingly affected by climate warming. As an important fraction of soil microorganisms, fungi play essential roles in carbon degradation, especially the old, chemically recalcitrant carbon. However, it remains obscure how fungi respond to climate warming and whether fungi, in turn, affect carbon stability of t...
Article
Full-text available
Almost half of the global terrestrial soil carbon (C) is stored in the northern circumpolar permafrost region, where air temperatures are increasing two times faster than the global average. As climate warms, permafrost thaws and soil organic matter becomes vulnerable to greater microbial decomposition. Long‐term soil warming of ice‐rich permafrost...
Article
Full-text available
Carbon (C) emissions from wildfires are a key terrestrial–atmosphere interaction that influences global atmospheric composition and climate. Positive feedbacks between climate warming and boreal wildfires are predicted based on top-down controls of fire weather and climate, but C emissions from boreal fires may also depend on bottom-up controls of...
Article
Full-text available
The continental shelves of the Arctic Ocean and surrounding seas contain large stocks of organic matter (OM) and methane (CH4), representing a potential ecosystem feedback to climate change not included in international climate agreements. We performed a structured expert assessment with 25 permafrost researchers to combine quantitative estimates o...
Article
Full-text available
Earth system models (ESMs) have been rapidly developed in recent decades to advance our understanding of climate change‐carbon cycle feedback. However, those models are massive in coding, require expensive computational resources, and have difficulty in diagnosing their performance. It is highly desirable to develop ESMs with modularity and effecti...
Preprint
Full-text available
One of the many reasons why a melting planet is a dangerous one is bacteria that break down carbon in soil. Freezing temperatures keep soil carbon locked away from these hungry microbes, but as temperatures rise, that carbon gradually becomes accessible, sending the bacteria into a feeding frenzy and thereby sending harmful carbon dioxide into the...
Article
Full-text available
Soil microbial respiration is an important source of uncertainty in projecting future climate and carbon (C) cycle feedbacks. However, its feedbacks to climate warming and underlying microbial mechanisms are still poorly understood. Here we show that the temperature sensitivity of soil microbial respiration (Q10) in a temperate grassland ecosystem...
Article
Full-text available
The magnitude of future emissions of greenhouse gases from the northern permafrost region depend crucially on the mineralization of soil organic carbon (SOC) that has accumulated over millennia in these perennially frozen soils. Many recent studies have used radiocarbon (14C) to quantify the release of this “old” SOC as CO2 or CH4 to the atmosphere...
Article
Full-text available
Background: In a warmer world, microbial decomposition of previously frozen organic carbon (C) is one of the most likely positive climate feedbacks of permafrost regions to the atmosphere. However, mechanistic understanding of microbial mediation on chemically recalcitrant C instability is limited; thus, it is crucial to identify and evaluate acti...
Article
Full-text available
Permafrost thaw is typically measured with active layer thickness, or the maximum seasonal thaw measured from the ground surface. However, previous work has shown that this measurement alone fails to account for ground subsidence and therefore underestimates permafrost thaw. To determine the impact of subsidence on observed permafrost thaw and thaw...
Preprint
Full-text available
Rising sea levels are the catastrophic image of global warming But the threat of melting ice at high latitudes goes much deeper Locked within the frozen soil in these regions are vast pools of prehistoric carbon Once freed, this carbon has the potential to accelerate the current rate at which the earth is heating up thanks in large part to microbes...
Article
Full-text available
The permafrost zone is expected to be a substantial carbon source to the atmosphere, yet large-scale models currently only simulate gradual changes in seasonally thawed soil. Abrupt thaw will probably occur in <20% of the permafrost zone but could affect half of permafrost carbon through collapsing ground, rapid erosion and landslides. Here, we syn...
Article
Full-text available
Background: It is well-known that global warming has effects on high-latitude tundra underlain with permafrost. This leads to a severe concern that decomposition of soil organic carbon (SOC) previously stored in this region, which accounts for about 50% of the world's SOC storage, will cause positive feedback that accelerates climate warming. We h...
Poster
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Abstract is available at: https://epic.awi.de/id/eprint/50808/
Article
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An amendment to this paper has been published and can be accessed via a link at the top of the paper.
Article
Modeling has become an indispensable tool for scientific research. However, models generate great uncertainty when they are used to predict or forecast ecosystem responses to global change. This uncertainty is partly due to parameterization, which is an essential procedure for model specification via defining parameter values for a model. The class...
Article
Full-text available
Recent warming in the Arctic, which has been amplified during the winter1,2,3, greatly enhances microbial decomposition of soil organic matter and subsequent release of carbon dioxide (CO2)⁴. However, the amount of CO2 released in winter is not known and has not been well represented by ecosystem models or empirically based estimates5,6. Here we sy...
Article
Thawing permafrost could release large amounts of carbon into the atmosphere, but finding out how much requires better collection and curation of data.
Article
The susceptibility of soil organic carbon (SOC) in tundra to microbial decomposition under warmer climate scenarios potentially threatens a massive positive feedback to climate change, but the underlying mechanisms of stable SOC decomposition remain elusive. Herein, Alaskan tundra soils from three depths (a fibric O horizon with litter and course r...
Article
Full-text available
Evidence suggests that 5–15% of the vast pool of soil carbon stored in northern permafrost ecosystems could be emitted as greenhouse gases by 2100 under the current path of global warming. However, direct measurements of changes in soil carbon remain scarce, largely because ground subsidence that occurs as the permafrost soils begin to thaw confoun...
Article
Full-text available
Boreal forest fires emit large amounts of carbon into the atmosphere primarily through the combustion of soil organic matter1–3. During each fire, a portion of this soil beneath the burned layer can escape combustion, leading to a net accumulation of carbon in forests over multiple fire events⁴. Climate warming and drying has led to more severe and...
Article
Full-text available
Northern-latitude tundra soils harbor substantial carbon (C) stocks that are highly susceptible to microbial degradation with rising global temperatures. Understanding the magnitude and direction (e.g., C release or sequestration) of the microbial responses to warming is necessary to accurately model climate change. In this study, Alaskan tundra so...
Article
The sudden collapse of thawing soils in the Arctic might double the warming from greenhouse gases released from tundra, warn Merritt R. Turetsky and colleagues. The sudden collapse of thawing soils in the Arctic might double the warming from greenhouse gases released from tundra, warn Merritt R. Turetsky and colleagues. Soil erosion due to permafro...
Article
Full-text available
In the version of this Article originally published, the following sentence was missing from the Acknowledgements: “This work was supported by the Norwegian Research Council SnoEco project, grant number 230970”. This text has now been added.
Article
Full-text available
Arctic land ice is melting, sea ice is decreasing, and permafrost is thawing. Changes in these Arctic elements are interconnected, and most interactions accelerate the rate of change. The changes affect infrastructure, economics, and cultures of people inside and outside of the Arctic, including in temperate and tropical regions, through sea level...
Article
Full-text available
With the likelihood that changes in global climate will adversely affect the soil C reservoir in the northern circumpolar permafrost zone, an understanding of the potential role of diazotrophic communities in enhancing biological N 2 fixation, which constrains both plant production and microbial decomposition in tundra soils, is important in elucid...
Article
Warming temperatures are likely to accelerate permafrost thaw in the Arctic, potentially leading to the release of old carbon previously stored in deep frozen soil layers. Deeper thaw depths in combination with geomorphological changes due to the loss of ice structures in permafrost, may modify soil water distribution, creating wetter or drier soil...