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Wetland Emissions of Carbon (CO2 and CH4) in China under Climate Change: Analysis, Development and Implementation

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - WetCarb (Wetland Emissions of Carbon (CO2 and CH4) in China under Climate Change: Analysis, Development and Implementation)

Reporting period: 2015-06-15 to 2017-06-14

A major research goal is to estimate the atmospheric sources and sinks of carbon dioxide and methane molecules, how these will vary with climate and land use change and investigate their feedbacks on climate. In particular, wetlands have the potential to act as either a source or a sink of carbon. However, climate feedbacks from changes in wetland carbon dioxide fluxes and methane emissions are very uncertain, due to a paucity of observational datasets; a lack of knowledge of the biogeochemical and physical processes linking these molecules and the water cycle in wetlands; uncertain estimations of inundation extent and water table dynamics for regional and global studies and the lack of explicit description of different wetland types in models.
The overall objective of the WETCARB project, within the LSCE-PKU consortium, was to improve our understanding of current and future projections of carbon dioxide and methane fluxes of Chinese wetlands, by combining local observations and mechanisms and regional remotely-sensed data into a process based wetland ecosystem model.
China was chosen as a study regional because the region has experienced important changes in air temperature and precipitation. Furthermore, wetland extent in China has also been declining at the national scale. From a methodological perspective, although preliminary estimations of carbon budget estimations do exist, regional and national scale estimations of methane and carbon dioxide fluxes from wetlands in China using process-based models are also lacking.
"This periodic report covers the five months implemented from the beginning of the project to the early termination of the Grant Agreement (GA), in accordance with the obligation to submit reports (Articles 20, 22, 23 of GA). As specified in the DoA (Description of Action), at this stage, milestones and delivrables were not yet to be achieved, with work on the specific Work Package (WP) still in progress, hence results are only partial. However, significant progress was achieved in specific actions, as detailed here below.

The scientific work undertaken mainly pertained to Work Package 2 (""Incorporating process knowledge of carbon emissions from Chinese wetlands into a spatially explicit wetland-carbon model"") on improving the current process-based model. This model was originally developed by B. Ringeval in 2011 and had been adapted by S. Peng to a 11-layer soil hydrology module. These modifications needed first to be evaluated, by comparing them to available observed data. Evaluation tests, during which the wetland model (ORCHIDEE-MICT Revision 2994) was run on historical data (1860-2000) and compared to observed data (Prigent at al., 2007), were undertaken at the global scale. Several program codes were improved to better reflect the observed temporal and spatial variations of observed wetland extent. These were included in the updated version of ORCHIDEE (ORCHIDEE-MICT Revision 3024). The assessment further led to the conclusion that it was necessary to better estimate wetland extent in high-latitude regions. In particular, the impact of the soil temperature profile on permafrost thawing and its consequent effect on wetland extent increases was diagnosed as a sensitive process requiring further study."
Impact on development of researcher:
The researcher has now found a permanent position in a French research institute. Obtaining the MCSF was clearly an important asset during the recruitment process and hence enhanced the development of her career.

Impact on dissemination:
The Researcher and the Beneficiary put in a great deal of effort in communicating and in public engagement, during the months preceding the COP21 meeting held in Paris, by participating in three activities:
- The “Train du Climat” opening event, a French national event in which a train had a travelling exposition with scientists aboard to explain the different causes and impacts of climate change. During the opening event, the Beneficiary and Researcher (within the IPSL Institute) held a stand with experiments concerning albedo, cloud formation, thermohaline marine circulation, the melting of glaciers and ocean acidification.
- The “Fête de la Science” event held in Moulon, France, from the 9th to 11th of October, 2015. The Beneficiary and the Researcher held a stand to welcome high-school students to discuss the causes and effects of climate change, with an experiment on ocean acidification.
- A radio broadcast “Autour de la Question” on RFI during which three young researchers had a debate on the question “Why choose research as a career”. The program focused on explaining our different career paths and our different motivations to engage ourselves in scientific research.