Colorado mountains
From Long-Term Data to Understanding: Toward a Predictive Ecology
2015 LTER ASM Estes Park, CO - August 30 - September 2, 2015

Interactions between chronic and extreme climate change: a belowground perspective

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Ingrid Slette
Allyson Schnell
Alan Knapp

Climate change forecasts predict both gradual chronic changes in temperature and precipitation and more extreme discreet climate events such as heat waves and droughts. These have been referred to as the ‘press’ and ‘pulse’ of climate change, respectively. Though presses and pulses are likely to interact rather than occur separately, research to date has tended to focus primarily on chronic climate changes, limiting our understanding of extreme events and the nature of pulse-press interactions. This has constrained our ability to forecast ecosystem responses to climate change. We investigated how a legacy of press climate change altered ecosystem responses to an extreme climate event, focusing on belowground processes relating to soil carbon. Soil respiration and root production were measured in the Rainfall Manipulation Plots (RaMPs), an experiment at the Konza Prairie LTER which imposed 15 years of chronic rainfall alteration followed by 2 years of extreme drought.

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