Separating direct and indirect effects of rising temperatures on biogenic volatile emissions in the Arctic

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Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are released from biogenic sources in a temperature-dependent manner. Consequently, Arctic ecosystems are expected to greatly increase their VOC emissions with ongoing climate warming, which is proceeding at twice the rate of global temperature rise. Here, we show that ongoing warming has strong, increasing effects on Arctic VOC emissions. Using a combination of statistical modeling on data from several warming experiments in the Arctic tundra and dynamic ecosystem modeling, we separate the impacts of temperature and soil moisture into direct effects and indirect effects through vegetation composition and biomass alterations. The indirect effects of warming on VOC emissions were significant but smaller than the direct effects, during the 14-y model simulation period. Furthermore, vegetation changes also cause shifts in the chemical speciation of emissions. Both direct and indirect effects result in large geographic differences in VOC emission responses in the warming Arctic, depending on the local vegetation cover and the climate dynamics. Our results outline complex links between local climate, vegetation, and ecosystem-atmosphere interactions, with likely local-to-regional impacts on the atmospheric composition.

Original languageEnglish
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number51
Pages (from-to)32476-32483
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Bibliographical note


    Research areas

  • Climate change, Ecosystem modelling, Ecosystem-atmosphere interactions, Vegetation change

ID: 255066080