Impacts of extreme weather events on terrestrial carbon and nitrogen cycling : A global meta-analysis

Qu, Qing; Xu, Hongwei; Ai, Zemin; Wang, Minggang; Wang, Guoliang; Liu, Guobin; Geissen, Violette; Ritsema, Coen J.; Xue, Sha


Some weather events like drought, increased precipitation, and warming exert substantial impact on the terrestrial C and N cycling. However, it remains largely unclear about the effect of extreme weather events (extreme drought, heavy rainfall, extreme heat, and extreme cold) on terrestrial C and N cycling. This study aims to analyze the responses of pools and fluxes of C and N in plants, soil, and microbes to extreme weather events by conducting a global meta-analysis of 656 pairwise observations. Results showed that extreme weather events (extreme drought, heavy rainfall, and extreme heat) decreased plant biomass and C flux, and extreme drought and heavy rainfall decreased the plant N pool and soil N flux. These results suggest that extreme weather events weaken the C and N cycling process in terrestrial ecosystems. However, this study did not determine the impact of extreme cold on ecosystem C and N cycling. Additional field experiments are needed to reveal the effects of extreme cold on global C and N cycling patterns.