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Large Differences in Global and Regional Total Soil Carbon Stock Estimates Based on SoilGrids, HWSD, and NCSCD: Intercomparison and Evaluation Based on Field Data From USA, England, Wales, and France

Marwa Tifafi 1 Bertrand Guenet 2 Christine Hatté 1
1 GEOTRAC - Géochrononologie Traceurs Archéométrie
LSCE - Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement [Gif-sur-Yvette] : DRF/LSCE
2 MOSAIC - Modélisation des Surfaces et Interfaces Continentales
LSCE - Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement [Gif-sur-Yvette] : DRF/LSCE
Abstract : Soils are the major component of the terrestrial ecosystem and the largest organic carbon reservoir on Earth. However, they are a nonrenewable natural resource and especially reactive to human disturbance and climate change. Despite its importance, soil carbon dynamics is an important source of uncertainty for future climate predictions and there is a growing need for more precise information to better understand the mechanisms controlling soil carbon dynamics and better constrain Earth system models. The aim of our work is to compare soil organic carbon stocks given by different global and regional databases that already exist. We calculated global and regional soil carbon stocks at 1 m depth given by three existing databases (SoilGrids, the Harmonized World Soil Database, and the Northern Circumpolar Soil Carbon Database). We observed that total stocks predicted by each product differ greatly: it is estimated to be around 3,400 Pg by SoilGrids and is about 2,500 Pg according to Harmonized World Soil Database. This difference is marked in particular for boreal regions where differences can be related to high disparities in soil organic carbon concentration. Differences in other regions are more limited and may be related to differences in bulk density estimates. Finally, evaluation of the three data sets versus ground truth data shows that (i) there is a significant difference in spatial patterns between ground truth data and compared data sets and that (ii) data sets underestimate by more than 40% the soil organic carbon stock compared to field data.
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Marwa Tifafi, Bertrand Guenet, Christine Hatté. Large Differences in Global and Regional Total Soil Carbon Stock Estimates Based on SoilGrids, HWSD, and NCSCD: Intercomparison and Evaluation Based on Field Data From USA, England, Wales, and France. Global Biogeochemical Cycles, American Geophysical Union, 2018, 32 (1), pp.42 - 56. ⟨10.1002/2017GB005678⟩. ⟨hal-01806874⟩

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