EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Inter-annual variability in the response of soil respiration to elevated CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere

Nine Douwes Dekker, Elise Pendall, Liz Hamilton, Josep Barba, Johanna Pihlblad, Robert Mackenzie, Angeliki Kourmouli, Sirwan Yamulki, Vincent Gauci, and Sami Ullah
Nine Douwes Dekker et al.
  • University of Birmingham, Geography, Earth and Environmental Science, United Kingdom of Great Britain – England, Scotland, Wales (

In this research we consider the response of soil respiration under elevated CO2 (eCO2) in an oak-dominated temperate forest. We hypothesised that under elevated CO2 (550 ppm) soil moisture would increase as a result of reduced stomatal conductance, which would in turn lead to higher soil respiration. Continuous measurements were performed on three pairs of plots near Stafford (United Kingdom). Respiration was measured diurnally for 2 minutes each time, using the LI-COR 8100A set-up, and the rate of respiration (flux rate) was calculated SoilFluxPro software. Next, an empirical model was fitted to the dataset based on hourly averages of the flux rates, soil temperature, and soil moisture. Three respiration collars per plot were averaged, thus accounting for spatial variability within the site. Model parameterization and gap filling were conducted on individual plots to calculate annual rates for 2019-2021. Cross-validation was performed by using 80% (randomly selected) of each dataset for training and the remaining 20% for testing the data against the parameters obtained by the empirical models. Preliminary results suggest that annual respiration rates were significantly higher for the eCO2 across all pairs in 2019. However, 2 out of 3 pairs in 2020 and 2021 showed significantly higher respiration for the aCO2 plots compared to eCO2, which is not in line with our hypothesis. Relationships with soil moisture and temperature help to explain what drives the difference in these fluxes. Our findings show that the relationship between higher CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere and soil respiration is not a straightforward one, which is of interest when considering the role of forest C-cycling on a global scale.

How to cite: Douwes Dekker, N., Pendall, E., Hamilton, L., Barba, J., Pihlblad, J., Mackenzie, R., Kourmouli, A., Yamulki, S., Gauci, V., and Ullah, S.: Inter-annual variability in the response of soil respiration to elevated CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-11200,, 2023.