The Interactions between Biogeophysical and Biogeochemical Processes and their Feedbacks on Permafrost Soil Carbon Stocks

Friday, 19 December 2014
Atul K Jain1, Bassil ElMasri1, Rahul Barman2, Shijie Shu3 and Yang Song2, (1)University of Illinois at Urbana, Urbana, IL, United States, (2)UIUC, Urbana, IL, United States, (3)University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, Urbana, IL, United States
One of the major challenges in more detailed Earth system models (ESMs) is the treatment of the biophysical and biogeochemical processes and feedbacks and their impact on soil organic carbon in the Northern high latitudes (NHL). We use a land surface model, the Integrated Science Assessment Model (ISAM) to investigate the effects of feedbacks between the biogeochemical and biogeophysical processes on the model estimated soil organic carbon (SOC) for the NHL permafrost region. We not only focus on recent model improvements in the biogeophysical processes that are deemed important for the high latitude soils/snow; such as deep soil column, modulation of soil thermal and hydrological properties, wind compaction of snow, and depth hoar formation; on permafrost SOC; but also biogeochemical processes; such as dynamic phenology and root distribution, litter carbon decomposition rates and nitrogen amount remaining; on soil biogeochemistry. We select multiple sites to evaluate the model. We then carried out several model simulations to study the effects of feedbacks between biogeochemical and biogeophysical processes on SOC. Our model analysis shows that including the biogeophysical processes alone could increase modeled NHL permafrost carbon by about 30% compared to measurements. Accounting for the biogeochmical processes further improve the NHL soil carbon.