Carbon burial over the last four millennia is regulated by both climatic and land-use change

Mao, J., Burdett, H. L., McGill, R. A.R. , Newton, J. , Gulliver, P. and Kamenos, N. A. (2020) Carbon burial over the last four millennia is regulated by both climatic and land-use change. Global Change Biology, 26(4), pp. 2496-2504. (doi: 10.1111/gcb.15021) (PMID:32100446)

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Carbon sequestration by sediments and vegetated marine systems contributes to atmospheric carbon drawdown, but little empirical evidence is available to help separate the effects of climate change and other anthropogenic activities on carbon burial over centennial timescales. We used marine sediment organic carbon to determine the role of historic climate variability and human habitation in carbon burial over the past 5,071 years. There was centennial‐scale sensitivity of carbon supply and burial to climatic variability, with Little Ice Age cooling causing an abrupt ecosystem shift and an increase in marine carbon contributions compared to terrestrial carbon. Although land use changes during the late 1800s did not cause marked alteration in average carbon burial, they did lead to marked increases in the spatial variability of carbon burial. Thus, while carbon burial by vegetated systems is expected to increase with projected climate warming over the coming century, ecosystem restructuring caused by abrupt climate change may produce unexpected change in carbon burial whose variability is also modulated by land use change.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:Funding was obtained from the Natural Environmental Research Council UK (LSMSF/ EK251‐06/15 and NRCF010001 [allocation number 2001.0416]) awarded to J.M., H.B. and N.K.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Kamenos, Professor Nick and Newton, Dr Jason and Gulliver, Dr Pauline and McGill, Dr Rona and Mao, Jinhua
Authors: Mao, J., Burdett, H. L., McGill, R. A.R., Newton, J., Gulliver, P., and Kamenos, N. A.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
College of Science and Engineering > Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre
Journal Name:Global Change Biology
ISSN (Online):1365-2486
Published Online:26 February 2020
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2020 John Wiley and Sons Ltd
First Published:First published in Global Change Biology 26(4): 2496-2504
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy
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