Deepened snow in combination with summer warming increases growing season nitrous oxide emissions in dry tundra, but not in wet tundra

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Impacts of increased winter snowfall and warmer summer air temperatures on nitrous oxide (N2O) dynamics in arctic tundra are uncertain. Here we evaluate surface N2O dynamics in both wet and dry tundra in West Greenland, subjected to field manipulations with deepened winter snow and summer warming. The potential denitrification activity (PDA) and potential net N2O production (N2Onet) were measured to assess denitrification and N2O consumption potential. The surface N2O fluxes averaged 0.49 ± 0.42 and 2.6 ± 0.84 μg N2O–N m−2 h−1, and total emissions were 212 ± 151 and 114 ± 63 g N2O–N scaled to the entire study area of 0.15 km2, at the dry and wet tundra, respectively. The experimental summer warming, and in combination with deepened snow, significantly increased N2O emissions at the dry tundra, but not at the wet tundra. The deepened snow increased winter soil temperatures and growing season soil N availability (DON, NH4+-N or NO3-N), but no main effect of deepened snow on N2O fluxes was found at either tundra ecosystem. The mean PDA was 5- and 121-fold higher than the N2Onet at the dry and wet tundra, respectively, suggesting that N2O might be reduced and emitted as dinitrogen (N2). Overall, this study reveals modest but evident surface N2O fluxes from tundra ecosystems in Western Greenland, and suggests that projected increases in winter precipitation and summer air temperatures may increase N2O emissions, particularly at the dry tundra dominating in this region.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109013
JournalSoil Biology and Biochemistry
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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Publisher Copyright:
© 2023

    Research areas

  • Arctic, Dry heath, Fen, Global warming potential, Greenland, NO budget, Open top chambers (OTCs), Snowfence, Soil moisture, Soil temperature

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