Warming Response of Peatland CO2 Sink is Sensitive to Seasonality in Warming Trends

Manuel Helbig
Tatjana Živković
Pavel Alekseychik
Mika Aurela
Tarek El-Madany
Eugenie Euskirchen
Lawrence Flanagan
Timothy Griffis
Paul Hanson
Juha Hatakka
Carole Helfter
Takashi Hirano
Elyn Humphreys
Ger Kiely
Randy Kolka
Tuomas Laurila
Paul Leahy
Annalea Lohila
Ivan Mammarella
Mats Nilsson
Alexey Panov
Frans-Jan Parmentier
Matthias Peichl
Janne Rinne
Daniel Roman
Oliver Sonnentag
Eeva-Stiina Tuittila
Masahito Ueyama
Timo Vesala
Patrik Vestin
Simon Weldon
Per Weslien
Sönke Zaehle
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Peatlands have acted as net CO2 sinks over millennia, exerting a global climate cooling effect. Rapid warming at northern latitudes, where peatlands are abundant, can disturb their CO2 sink function. Here we show that sensitivity of peatland net CO2 exchange to warming changes in sign and magnitude across seasons, resulting in complex net CO2 sink responses. We use multiannual net CO2 exchange observations from 20 northern peatlands to show that warmer early summers are linked to increased net CO2 uptake, while warmer late summers lead to decreased net COuptake. Thus, net CO2 sinks of peatlands in regions experiencing early summer warming, such as central Siberia, are more likely to persist under warmer climate conditions than are those in other regions. Our results will be useful to improve the design of future warming experiments and to better interpret large-scale trends in peatland net CO2 uptake over the coming few decades.