Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-2021-411
https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-2021-411
20 Nov 2021
 | 20 Nov 2021
Status: this discussion paper is a preprint. It has been under review for the journal Earth System Science Data (ESSD). The manuscript was not accepted for further review after discussion.

A data-driven topsoil δ13C dataset and the drivers of spatial variability across the Tibetan Plateau

Yunsen Lai, Shaoda Li, Yuehong Shi, Xinrui Luo, Liang Liu, Peng Yu, Guo Chen, Longxi Cao, Chunju Cai, Jian Sun, Shaohui Chen, Houyuan Lu, Xuanlong Ma, and Xiaolu Tang

Abstract. Soil carbon isotopes (δ13C) provide reliable insights at a long-term scale for studying soil carbon turnover. The Tibetan Plateau (TP), called “the third pole of the earth” is one of the most sensitive areas to global climate change and exhibits an early warning signal of global warming. Although many studies detected the variability of soil δ13C at site scales, a knowledge gap still exists in the spatial pattern of topsoil δ13C across the TP. To fill the substantial knowledge gap, we first compiled a database of topsoil δ13C with 396 observations from published literatures. Then we applied a Random Forest (RF) algorithm – a machine learning approach, to predict the spatial pattern of topsoil δ13C and β (indicating the decomposition rate of soil organic carbon (SOC), calculated by δ13C divided by logarithmically converted SOC). Finally, two datasets – topsoil δ13C and β with a fine spatial resolution of 1 km across the TP were developed. Results showed that topsoil δ13C varied significantly among different ecosystem types (p < 0.001). Topsoil δ13C was −26.3 ± 1.60 ‰ (mean ± standard deviation) for forests, 24.3 ± 2.00 ‰ for shrublands, −23.9 ± 1.84 ‰ for grasslands, −18.9 ± 2.37 ‰ for deserts, respectively. RF could well predict the spatial variability of topsoil δ13C with a model efficiency of 0.62 and root mean square error of 1.12 ‰, enabling to derive data-driven δ13C and β products. Data-driven topsoil δ13C varied from −28.26 ‰ to −16.95 ‰, with the highest topsoil δ13C in the north and northwest TP and the lowest δ13C in Southeast or South TP, indicating strong spatial variabilities in topsoil δ13C. Similarly, there were strong spatial variabilities in data-driven β, with the lowest β values at the east and middle TP, indicating a higher SOC turnover in the east and middle TP compared that of other regions in the TP. This study was the first attempt to develop a fine resolution product of topsoil δ13C and β across the TP, which could provide an independent data-driven benchmark for biogeochemical cycling models to study SOC turnover and terrestrial carbon-climate feedbacks over the TP under climate change. The data-driven δ13C and β datasets are public available at https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.16641292.v2 (Tang, 2021).

Yunsen Lai et al.

Status: closed

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on essd-2021-411', Anonymous Referee #1, 06 Feb 2022
  • CC1: 'Comment on essd-2021-411', Kerong Zhang, 08 Feb 2022
  • CC2: 'Comment on essd-2021-411', Brenton Ladd, 20 May 2022
  • RC2: 'Comment on essd-2021-411', Anonymous Referee #2, 25 May 2022

Status: closed

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on essd-2021-411', Anonymous Referee #1, 06 Feb 2022
  • CC1: 'Comment on essd-2021-411', Kerong Zhang, 08 Feb 2022
  • CC2: 'Comment on essd-2021-411', Brenton Ladd, 20 May 2022
  • RC2: 'Comment on essd-2021-411', Anonymous Referee #2, 25 May 2022

Yunsen Lai et al.

Data sets

A data-driven estimate of topsoil (0-5 cm) isotope carbon across the Tibetan Plateau Xiaolu Tang https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.16641292.v2

Yunsen Lai et al.

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Short summary
Topsoil (0–5 cm) carbon isotopes (δ13C) was predicted using Random Forest by the published observations and gridded environmental variables across the Tibetan Plateau (TP). Soil β values were also calculated across the TP. Results showed that spatially topsoil δ13C and β varied greatly across the TP. The developed topsoil δ13C and β dataset provide an independent data-driven benchmark for biogeochemical cycling models to study SOC turnover under ongoing climate change.