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Vertical Distribution of carbon in Soils - Bayesian Analysis of carbon content and C14 profiles

Authors
  • Jreich, Rana
Publication Date
Nov 28, 2018
Source
HAL-UPMC
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown
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Abstract

Global warming is a major issue for both the scientific world and societies. The concentration of carbon dioxide has increased by 45% since the pre-industrial era (Harris, 2010) as a consequence of human activities, unbalancing the global carbon cycle. This results in global warming with dramatic impacts on the Earth, particularly for fragile populations.Amongst mitigation solutions, a better use of soil is proposed. Soils have the largest capacity of carbon exchanges with the atmosphere and contain a large stock of carbon. A tiny increase in this soil carbon stock and in carbon exchanges between atmosphere and soil would be more favorable to soil carbon sequestration and would compensate for carbon emissios from burning fossil fuel. However, soil carbon dynamics still suffers from insufficient knowledge. There remains therefore a huge uncertainty about the soil carbon response to climate and land-use changes.While several mechanistic models have been developed to better understand the dynamics of soil carbon, they provide an incomplete view of the physical processes affecting soil organic matter (OM). It will be long before a complete and updated soil dynamics model becomes available.In my thesis, I propose a Bayesian statistical model aiming at describing the vertical dynamics of soil carbon. This is done thanks to the modeling of both soil organic carbon and of radiocarbon data as they illustrate the residence time of organic matter and thus the soil carbon dynamics. The purpose of this statistical approach was to better represent the uncertainties on soil carbon dynamics and to quantify the effects of climatic and environmental factors on both surface and deep soil carbon.This meta-analysis was performed on a database of 344 profiles, collected from 87 soil science papers and the literature in archeology and paleoclimatology, under different climate conditions (temperature, precipitation, etc.) and environments (soil type and type of ecosystem).A hierarchical non-linear model with random effects was proposed to model the vertical dynamics of radiocarbon as a function of depth. Bayesian selection techniques, recently published, were applied to the latent layers of the model, which in turn are linked by a linear relationship to the climatic and environmental factors. The Bayesian Group Lasso with Spike and Slab Prior (BGL-SS), the Bayesian Sparse Group Selection (BSGS) and the Bayesian Effect Fusion model-based clustering (BEF) were tested to identify the significant categorical explanatory predictors (soil type, ecosystem type) and the Stochastic Search Variable Selection method to identify the influential numerical explanatory predictors. A comparison of these Bayesian techniques was made based on the Bayesian model selection criteria (the DIC (Deviance Information Criterion), the Posterior Predictive Check, etc.) to specify which model has the best predictive and adjustment power of the database profiles. In addition to selecting categorical predictors, the BSGS allows the formulation of an a posteriori inclusion probability for each level within the categorical predictors such as soil type and ecosystem type (9 soil types and 6 ecosystem types were considered in our study). Furthermore, the BEF made it possible to merge the types of soil as well as the types of ecosystem, which according to the BEF, are considered to have the same effects on the responses of interest here, such as the response of the topsoil radiocarbon.The application of these techniques allowed us to predict, on average and on a global level, the vertical dynamics of the radiocarbon in the case of a temperature increase of 1, 1.5 and 2 °C, and in the case of a change in vegetation cover. For example, we studied the impact of deforesting tropical forests and replacing them by cultivated land on soil carbon dynamics. The same statistical analysis was also done to better understand the vertical dynamics of soil carbon content.

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