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Temperature sensitivity of soil respiration (Q10) is a critical parameter in carbon cycle models with important implications for climate-carbon feedbacks in the 21st century. The common assumption of a constant Q10, usually with a value of 2.0, was shown to be invalid by a previous model-data fusion study that reported biome-specific values of this parameter. We extend the previous analysis by demonstrating that these biome-level values of Q10 also are a function of dryness (R2 = 0.54). When tundra and cultivated lands are excluded, the correlation is much stronger (R2 = 0.92). Therefore dryness is the primary driver for variability in respiration-temperature sensitivity in forest and grassland ecosystems. This finding has important implications for the response of the terrestrial carbon cycle to climate change, as it implies that the increasing dryness would potentially accelerate the respiration temperature sensitivity feedback.


Originally published as: Yi, Chuixiang, Daniel Ricciuto, and George Hendrey. "Biome Q10 and Dryness." American Journal of Climate Change, vol. 2, 2013, pp. 292-295. doi: 10.4236/ajcc.2013.24029

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