Improving conceptual models of water and carbon transfer through peat

Jeffrey M. McKenzie, Donald I. Siegel, Donald O. Rosenberry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Northern peatlands store 500 × 1015 g of organic carbon and are very sensitive to climate change. There is a strong conceptual model of sources, sinks, and pathways of carbon within peatlands, but challenges remain both in understanding the hydrogeology and the linkages between carbon cycling and peat pore water flow. In this chapter, research findings from the glacial Lake Agassiz peatlands are used to develop a conceptual framework for peatland hydrogeology and identify four challenges related to northern peatlands yet to be addressed: (1) develop a better understanding of the extent and net impact of climate-driven groundwater flushing in peatlands; (2) quantify the complexities of heterogeneity on pore water flow and, in particular, reconcile contradictions between peatland hydrogeologic interpretations and isotopic data; (3) understand the hydrogeologic implications of free-phase methane production, entrapment, and release in peatlands; and (4) quantify the impact of arctic and subarctic warming on peatland hydrogeology and its linkage to carbon cycling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)265-275
Number of pages11
JournalGeophysical Monograph Series
StatePublished - 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics


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