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Biogeosciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2019-305
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2019-305
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 04 Sep 2019

Submitted as: research article | 04 Sep 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Biogeosciences (BG).

Wintertime carbon uptake of managed temperate grassland ecosystems may influence grassland dynamics

Genki Katata1,2, Matthias Mauder2, Matthias J. Zeeman2, Rüdiger Grote2, and Masakazu Ota3 Genki Katata et al.
  • 1Institute for Global Change Adaptation Science (ICAS), Ibaraki University, Ibaraki, 310-8512, Japan
  • 2Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research, Atmospheric Environmental Research (IMK-IFU), Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, 82467, Germany
  • 3Research Group for Environmental Science, Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA), Ibaraki, 319-1195, Japan

Abstract. Rising temperatures and changes in snow cover, as can be expected under a global warmer climate, may have large impacts on mountain grassland productivity limited by cold and long winters. Here, we elaborated a multi-layer atmosphere-soil-vegetation model to account for snow, freeze-thaw events, grass growth, and soil microbiology. The model was applied to simulate the responses of managed grasslands to anomalously warm winter conditions. The grass growth module represented key ecological processes under a cold environment, such as leaf formation, elongation and death, tillering, carbon allocation, and cold acclimation, in terms of photosynthetic activity. Input parameters were derived for the pre-alpine grassland sites in Germany, for which the model was run using three years of data that included a winter with an exceptionally limited amount of snow cover. The model reproduced the temporal variability of observed daily mean heat fluxes, soil temperatures and snow depth throughout the simulation period. High physiological activity levels during the extremely warm winter led to a simulated CO2 uptake of 100 gC m−2, which was mainly allocated into the below-ground biomass and only to a minor extend used for additional plant growth during early spring. If this temporary dynamics is representative of the long-term changes, this process, which is so far largely unaccounted for in scenario analysis using global terrestrial biosphere models, may lead to carbon accumulation in the soil and/or carbon loss from the soil as a response to global warming.

Genki Katata et al.
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In this paper, we demonstrate that high physiological activity levels during the extremely warm winter may lead to carbon accumulation in the soil and/or carbon loss from the soil due to root litter input, heterotrophic respiration, and leaching as a response to global warming. This process may be of considerable importance for the global carbon cycle since soils of temperate grassland ecosystems are already estimated to hold a large stock of carbon.
In this paper, we demonstrate that high physiological activity levels during the extremely warm...
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