The capacity of northern peatlands for long-term carbon sequestration

Alexandrov, Georgii A.; Brovkin, Victor A.; Kleinen, Thomas; Yu, Zicheng

Northern peatlands have been a persistent natural carbon sink since the Last Glacial Maximum. The continued growth and expansion of these carbon-rich ecosystems could offset a large portion of anthropogenic carbon emissions before the end of the present interglacial period. Here we used an impeded drainage model and gridded data on the depth to bedrock and the fraction of histosol-type soils to evaluate the limits to the growth of northern peatland carbon stocks. Our results show that the potential carbon stock in northern peatlands could reach a total of inline-formula875±125 Pg C before the end of the present interglacial, which could, as a result, remove inline-formula330±200 Pg C of carbon from the atmosphere. We argue that northern peatlands, together with the oceans, will potentially play an important role in reducing the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration over the next 5000 years.



Alexandrov, Georgii A. / Brovkin, Victor A. / Kleinen, Thomas / et al: The capacity of northern peatlands for long-term carbon sequestration. 2020. Copernicus Publications.


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