Soil organic carbon pools in the northern circumpolar permafrost region

C. Tamocai, J. G. Canadell, E. A.G. Schuur, P. Kuhry, G. Mazhitova, S. Zimov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1595 Scopus citations

Abstract

The Northern Circumpolar Soil Carbon Database was developed in order to determine carbon pools in soils of the northern circumpolar permafrost region. The area of all soils in the northern permafrost region is approximately 18,782 × 103 km2, or approximately 16% of the global soil area. In the northern permafrost region, organic soils (peatlands) and cryoturbated permafrost-affected mineral soils have the highest mean soil organic carbon contents (32.2-69.6 kg m-2). Here we report a new estimate of the carbon pools in soils of the northern permafrost region, including deeper layers and pools not accounted for in previous analyses. Carbon pools were estimated to be 191.29 Pg for the 0-30 cm depth, 495.80 Pg for the 0-100 cm depth, and 1024.00 Pg for the 0-300 cm depth. Our estimate for the first meter of soil alone is about double that reported for this region in previous analyses. Carbon pools in layers deeper than 300 cm were estimated to be 407 Pg in yedoma deposits and 241 Pg in deltaic deposits. In total, the northern permafrost region contains approximately 1672 Pg of organic carbon, of which approximately 1466 Pg, or 88%, occurs in perennially frozen soils and deposits. This 1672 Pg of organic carbon would account for approximately 50% of the estimated global belowground organic carbon pool.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberGB2023
JournalGlobal Biogeochemical Cycles
Volume23
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Atmospheric Science

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