Low impact of lateral carbon export on net ecosystem carbon balance of a polygonal Tundra catchment

Julia.Boike [ at ] awi.de


Permafrost soils contain a large quantity of soil organic carbon (SOC) potentially available for decomposition, and its permanence depends on the net ecosystem carbon balance (NECB), including both vertical and lateral fluxes. In most polygonal tundra landscapes, the CO2 flux is known to be a sink on the annual scale, but less is known about the role of lateral carbon flows. To fill this gap, we present and contextualize lateral export rates from a polygonal tundra site in northern Siberia, Russia. Furthermore, we present the vertical carbon (C) fluxes of CO2 and CH4 from this study site. Thus, we derive the NECB in one growing season. The results show cumulative lateral DIC and DOC fluxes of 0.25 – 0.28 and 0.05 – 0.06 g C m-2, respectively, during the observation period (8 June – 8 September). The vertical fluxes of CO2 and CH4 accumulate to -19.0 ± 1.2 and 1.1 ± 0.02 g C m-2, respectively. The lateral carbon export thus represents 1.6 – 1.8% of the net ecosystem exchange (NEE). However, the relationship between lateral and vertical fluxes changed over the observation period. At the beginning of the growing season (early June), the lateral carbon flux outpaces the vertical CO2 flux, causing the polygonal tundra landscape to be a carbon source at this time of the year. With ongoing growing season, the vertical CO2 flux dominates the NECB. We conclude that lateral carbon fluxes can have a considerable influence on the NECB on short time scales (days), especially during the early growing season. However, their impact decreases on seasonal time scales. Therefore, the vertical carbon flux can be seen as a good approximation for the NECB of this study site on the time scale of months.

Item Type
Conference (Poster)
Primary Division
Primary Topic
Research Networks
Peer revision
Not peer-reviewed
Publication Status
Event Details
International Online Symposium “Focus Siberian Permafrost”, 24 Mar 2021 - 25 Mar 2021, Virtual/Online.
Eprint ID
Cite as
Beckebanze, L. , Runkle, B. R. K. , Walz, J. , Wille, C. , Holl, D. , Helbig, M. , Fedorova, I. , Boike, J. , Sachs, T. and Kutzbach, L. (2021): Low impact of lateral carbon export on net ecosystem carbon balance of a polygonal Tundra catchment , International Online Symposium “Focus Siberian Permafrost”, Virtual/Online, 24 March 2021 - 25 March 2021 .


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