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Constraining the potential of stalagmites as quantitative archives for past soil carbon dynamics

English title Constraining the potential of stalagmites as quantitative archives for past soil carbon dynamics
Applicant Lechleitner Franziska
Number 180789
Funding scheme Postdoc.Mobility
Research institution Department of Earth Sciences University of Oxford
Institution of higher education Institution abroad - IACH
Main discipline Geochemistry
Start/End 01.08.2018 - 31.01.2020
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All Disciplines (2)

Discipline
Geochemistry
Pedology

Keywords (7)

terrestrial carbon cycle; paleoclimate science; stalagmites; soils; carbon isotopes; calcium isotopes; lithium isotopes

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Böden speichern drei mal mehr Kohlenstoff als die Atmosphäre und sind somit der grösste aktive terrestrische Kohlenstoffspeicher der Erde. Geringe Änderungen im Kohlenstoffflux zwischen Böden und Atmosphäre können grosse Auswirkungen auf das globale Klima haben durch ihren Beitrag zum Treibhauseffekt. Die Reaktion von Böden auf Klimaänderungen sind jedoch immer noch nicht gut quantifiziert, was insbesondere auf die räumliche Heterogenität und chemische Komplexität von Böden zurückzuführen ist. Tropfsteine, und insbesondere Stalagmiten, bieten sich als neues und unkonventionelles geochemisches Archiv an, um die Reaktion von Böden auf Klimaveränderungen in der Vergangenheit zu erforschen und somit als Analog für zukünftige Rückkoppelungen zu fungieren.
Lay summary

Das Ziel dieses Projekt ist, den lokalen Kohlenstoffzylus in Böden anhand von Stalagmiten zu rekonstruieren, insbesondere über Zeitintervalle bekannter Klimaschwankungen in der Vergangenheit, wie der Rückgang der letzten Eiszeit.  

Im Detail werden wir dazu hochaufgelöste geochemische Analysen (Radiokarbon, stabile Kohlenstoff-, Kalzium-, und Lithiumisotopen, Spurenelemente) an Stalagmiten aus verschiedenen Klimazonen ausführen. Der Fokus wird dabei auf Böden aus Klimazonen gelegt, wo besonders starke Auswirkungen durch den menschengemachten Klimawandel erwartet werden, wie z.B. boreal, monsunal, tropisch, und trocken.

Die Resultate dieses Projekts werden von grosser Bedeutung sein für das genauere Verständnis des Verhaltens von Böden als Kohlenstoffquelle oder –senke mit ansteigenden globalen Temperaturen.

Dieses Projekt wird zudem die Anwendung von Stalagmiten als Umweltarchiv für Bodenbedingungen testen.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 09.07.2018

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Publications

Publication
Stalagmite carbon isotopes suggest deglacial increase in soil respiration in western Europe driven by temperature change
Lechleitner Franziska A., Day Christopher C., Kost Oliver, Wilhelm Micah, Haghipour Negar, Henderson Gideon M., Stoll Heather M. (2021), Stalagmite carbon isotopes suggest deglacial increase in soil respiration in western Europe driven by temperature change, in Climate of the Past, 17, 1903-1918.

Datasets

Spain_analysis

Author Lechleitner, Franziska; Wilhelm, Micah
Publication date 13.09.2021
Persistent Identifier (PID) 10.5281/zenodo.5503041
Repository Zenodo


DCF_calculator

Author Lechleitner, Franziska
Publication date 13.09.2021
Persistent Identifier (PID) 10.5281/zenodo.5503025
Repository Zenodo


Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Dr. Christpher Day, University of Oxford Great Britain and Northern Ireland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
Prof. Heather Stoll, ETH Zürich Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
Micah Wilhelm, WSL Birmensdorf, Schweiz Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Dr. Jens Fohlmeister, PIK Potsdam Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
European Geoscience Union General Assembly 2021 Talk given at a conference A coupled multi-proxy and process modelling approach for extraction of quantitative terrestrial ecosystem information from speleothems 19.04.2021 Wien, Austria Lechleitner Franziska;
KRonline seminar series Talk given at a conference Stalagmite carbon isotopes suggest deglacial increase in soil respiration in Western Europe driven by temperature change 22.02.2021 Innsbruck, Austria Lechleitner Franziska;
European Geoscience Union General Assembly 2020 Talk given at a conference Understanding the deglacial relationship between carbon isotopes and temperature in stalagmites from Western Europe 04.05.2020 Wien, Austria Lechleitner Franziska;
Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences, Northumbria University, UK Individual talk Tracing past climate and ecosystem conditions using stalagmites 17.01.2020 Newcastle upon Tyne, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Lechleitner Franziska;
Organic Geochemistry Unit seminar, University of Bristol, UK Individual talk Tracing past climate and ecosystem conditions using stalagmites 14.11.2019 Bristol, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Lechleitner Franziska;
SISAL 4th workshop: Exploiting the SISALv2 database for evaluating climate processes Talk given at a conference Global Controls on the Stable Carbon Isotope Composition of Speleothems 14.10.2019 Xi'an, China Lechleitner Franziska;
European Geoscience Union General Assembly 2019 Poster From local processes to global controls: Disentangling the complexity of carbon isotopes in speleothems using the SISAL database 07.04.2019 Wien, Austria Lechleitner Franziska;
European Geoscience Union General Assembly 2019 Poster Reconciling local and regional trends in stalagmite carbon isotopes - results from a case study at El Pindal cave, Spain 07.04.2019 Wien, Austria Lechleitner Franziska;


Self-organised

Title Date Place

Awards

Title Year
EGU 2021 Division Outstanding Early Career Scientist 2021

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
172213 Permafrost thawing in a warming climate - reconstructions from Siberian stalagmites 01.02.2017 Early Postdoc.Mobility
186693 Exploring the potential of stalagmite organic carbon isotope records as a novel proxy for past ecosystem conditions 01.03.2020 Return CH Postdoc.Mobility

Abstract

Soils are the largest active terrestrial carbon reservoir, storing at least three times as much carbon as the atmosphere. Thus, even small changes in the flux of carbon between soils and atmosphere can strongly impact on the greenhouse effect, making soils a crucial player in the modulation of Earth’s climate. The net response of soils to on-going anthropogenic climate change remains uncertain, due to the heterogeneous nature of soils and the strong imprint of local environmental conditions. Only a thorough understanding of the underlying biogeochemical processes will allow for accurate predictions of future global soil responses to changing climate.The aim of this project is to answer essential questions related to how soils respond to climate change, with an unconventional and novel approach. Stalagmites (cave carbonates) from different regions of the world, including key soil end-member regions (e.g., permafrost, arid, monsoonal), will serve as an archive for soil conditions in Earth’s past. Combining established and novel stalagmite proxies, processes occurring in soil, karst, and cave will be characterized and quantified. Stalagmite carbon isotope proxies (stable carbon isotope ratio: d13C, and radiocarbon: 14C) will provide information on the amount of carbon stored in the soil overlying the cave and its turnover time, while the calcium isotope ratio (d44/42Ca) helps quantifying processes occurring in the karst that often mask the carbon isotope signal. Lithium stable isotopes (d7Li) will be applied to constrain the rate of silicate weathering in the soil, another important carbon sequestration process sensitive to climate change. The geochemical results will be compared to model simulations of soil, karst, and cave processes, using the new software CaveCalc. I expect this project to provide a detailed and high-resolution assessment of the magnitude of changes in the soil carbon cycle related to climate forcing. More generally, this project could provide a new perspective on the response of soil processes to climate change, and open the door to the use of stalagmites as recorders of past soil conditions.
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