Holocene Circum-Arctic Peatland Carbon Dynamics: Community-Wide Data Synthesis and Modeling Initiatives

12.10 - 16.10.2013
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Contact person:
Zicheng Yu, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Workshop report: 
> Access

This workshop will focus on the synthesis of Holocene peatland C accumulation data available from the circum-Arctic region.

The synthesis results will allow the evaluation of the sensitivity of C accumulation patterns to Holocene climate changes, especially past warm climates, such as the Holocene Thermal Maximum and Medieval Warm Period.


Peatlands store a large belowground carbon pool of ~500 Pg C that has accumulated since the Last Glacial Maximum. Northern (boreal and sub-Arctic) peatlands contain &gt:90% of this pool. We know that this largest biosphere carbon pool has played a major role in the global carbon cycle dynamics during the last deglaciation and the Holocene. However, we do not know how these carbon-rich ecosystems have responded to past climate change, especially at regional scales.

Empirical data and evidence will be essential to document and understand regional carbon sequestration histories and their climate sensitivity, and as a result provide critical information for evaluating and validating global climate-carbon cycle models. The contribution of peatlands to the global carbon cycle, particularly their impact on atmospheric CO2 and CH4 concentrations, is critical to understanding global carbon dynamics in the past and future.

The workshop

This is an international workshop focusing on Holocene circum-Arctic synthesis and is part of a global-scale synthesis and modeling effort that has been funded by INQUA, US NSF and UK NERC.

Some of the workshop goals are to document and understand the regional C accumulation patterns and their responses to climate change, to address the role of peatland C dynamics in the Holocene global C cycle, and to explore peatland modeling in depth with the aim of building a community-based global database on Holocene peatland carbon dynamics.


Zicheng Yu, PhD
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences
Lehigh University
1 West Packer Avenue, Bethlehem
PA 18015, USA
Email:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Meeting material

Special issue: Yu Z, Loisel J, Charman DJ, Beilman DW & Camill P (2014) Holocene peatland carbon dynamics in the circum-Arctic region The Holocene 24(9) 1021-1173. (link)

PAGES Magazine workshop report: Holocene circum-Arctic peatland carbon dynamics (2014) (link)