Scotland's forgotten carbon : a national assessment of mid-latitude fjord sedimentary stocks
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Fjords are recognised as hotspots for the burial and long-term storage of carbon (C) and potentially provide a significant climate regulation service over multiple timescales. Understanding the magnitude of marine sedimentary C stores and the processes which govern their development is fundamental to understanding the role of the coastal ocean in the global C cycle. In this study, we use the mid-latitude fjords of Scotland as a natural laboratory to further develop methods to quantify these marine sedimentary C stores on both the individual fjord and national scale. Targeted geophysical and geochemical analysis has allowed the quantification of sedimentary C stocks for a number of mid-latitude fjords and, coupled with upscaling techniques based on fjord classification, has generated the first full national sedimentary C inventory for a fjordic system. The sediments within these mid-latitude fjords hold 640.7 ± 46 Mt of C split between 295.6±52 and 345.1 ± 39 Mt of organic and inorganic C, respectively. When compared, these marine mid-latitude sedimentary C stores are of similar magnitude to their terrestrial equivalents, with the exception of the Scottish peatlands, which hold significantly more C. However, when area normalised comparisons are made, these mid-latitude fjords are significantly more effective as C stores than their terrestrial counterparts, including Scottish peatlands. The C held within Scotland’s coastal marine sediments has been largely overlooked as a significant component of the nation’s natural capital; such coastal C stores are likely to be key to understanding and constraining improved global C budgets.
Smeaton , C , Austin , W E N , Davies , A , Baltzer , A , Howe , J A & Baxter , J M 2017 , ' Scotland's forgotten carbon : a national assessment of mid-latitude fjord sedimentary stocks ' Biogeosciences , vol 14 , no. 24 , pp. 5663-5674 . DOI: 10.5194/bg-14-5663-2017
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
This work was supported by the Natural Environment Research Council (grant number: NE/L501852/1) with additional support from the NERC Radiocarbon Facility (Allocation 1934.1015). Further seismic profiles and the CALYPSO long core were acquired within the frame of the French ECLIPSE programme with additional financial support from NERC, SAMS and the University of St Andrews.
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