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Nature Communications: article with the contribution of T. Tesi (Ismar-CNR)

Terrestrial Organic Carbon role to the regulation of atmospheric CO2 and climate warming

Friday 09 March 2018

Nature Communications: article with the contribution of T. Tesi (Ismar-CNR)

The article is now live at the link:

Broder, L; Tesi, T; Andersson, A; Semiletov, I; Gustafsson, O    BO
Bounding cross-shelf transport time and degradation in Siberian-Arctic land-ocean carbon transfer
NATURE COMMUNICATIONS, 9 10.1038/s41467-018-03192-1 FEB 23 2018


The burial of terrestrial organic carbon (terrOC) in marine sediments contributes to the regulation of atmospheric CO2 on geological timescales and may mitigate positive feedback to present-day climate warming. However, the fate of terrOC in marine settings is debated, with uncertainties regarding its degradation during transport. Here, we employ compound-specific radiocarbon analyses of terrestrial biomarkers to determine cross-shelf transport times. For the World's largest marginal sea, the East Siberian Arctic shelf, transport requires 3600 +/- 300 years for the 600 km from the Lena River to the Laptev Sea shelf edge. TerrOC was reduced by similar to 85% during transit resulting in a degradation rate constant of 2.4 +/- 0.6 kyr(-1). Hence, terrOC degradation during cross-shelf transport constitutes a carbon source to the atmosphere over millennial time. For the contemporary carbon cycle on the other hand, slow terrOC degradation brings considerable attenuation of the decadal-centennial permafrost carbon-climate feedback caused by global warming.

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