Arctic amplification of global warming strengthened by sunlight oxidation of permafrost carbon to CO <sub>2</sub>

TitleArctic amplification of global warming strengthened by sunlight oxidation of permafrost carbon to CO 2
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsBowen, JC, Ward, CP, Kling, GW, Cory, RM
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Date PublishedSep-06-2020
ISSN0094-8276
Abstract

Once thawed, up to 15% of the ∼1,000 Pg of organic carbon (C) in arctic permafrost soils may be oxidized to carbon dioxide (CO2) by 2100, amplifying climate change. However, predictions of this amplification strength ignore the oxidation of permafrost C to CO2 in surface waters (photomineralization). We characterized the wavelength dependence of permafrost dissolved organic carbon (DOC) photomineralization and demonstrate that iron catalyzes photomineralization of old DOC (4,000-6,300 a BP) derived from soil lignin and tannin. Rates of CO2 production from photomineralization of permafrost DOC are two-fold higher than for modern DOC. Given that model predictions of future net loss of ecosystem C from thawing permafrost do not include the loss of CO2 to the atmosphere from DOC photomineralization, current predictions of an average of 208 Pg C loss by 2299 may be too low by ~14%.

URLhttps://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2020GL087085
DOI10.1029/2020GL087085