Simulating long-term carbon and water dynamics in northern peatlands


We present a new model that simulates coupled carbon and water dynamics of northern peatlands at an annual time step over time scales of decades to millennia. The Holocene Peatland Model (HPM) simulates peatland carbon and water dynamics as the net consequence of several interacting processes: (1) above- and below-ground vegetation NPP and litter production for bryophytes and vascular plants; (2) aerobic and anaerobic litter/peat decomposition down the peat profile; (3) the dependence of peat physical and hydraulic properties on peat humification; and (4) peatland annual water balance, water table depth, and unsaturated zone water content. The model generates time series of vegetation, carbon and water dynamics over a 5000-10000 year simulation, and a ‘final state’ peat core that can be compared to contemporary peat core data. The sensitivities of peatland carbon and water dynamics to climate and climate variability and to succession rate are evaluated.


Earth Sciences, Earth Systems Research Center

Publication Date


Journal Title

EOS, Transactions American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting, Supplement


American Geophysical Union Publications

Document Type

Conference Proceeding