Holocene carbon accumulation in the peatlands of northern Scotland

Joshua L. Ratcliffe*, R. J. Payne, T. J. Sloan, B. Smith, S. Waldron, D. Mauquoy, A. Newton, A. R. Anderson, A. Henderson, R. Andersen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
6 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The response of peatland carbon accumulation to climate can be complex, with internal feedbacks and processes that can dampen or amplify responses to external forcing. Records of carbon accumulation from peat cores provide a record of carbon which persists as peat over long periods of time, demonstrating the long-term response of peatland carbon stocks to climatic events. Numerous records of long-term carbon accumulation exist globally. However, peatlands from oceanic climates, and particularly blanket bog, remain under-represented. Scottish bogs, which collectively have more than 475 separate palaeoecological records, may prove to be a valuable resource for studying the impact of environmental change on past rates of carbon accumulation. Here we present 12 records of carbon accumulation from the north of Scotland. We support these results with a further 43 records where potential carbon accumulation is inferred from published ages. These reveal a trend of high carbon accumulation in the early Holocene, declining in the mid-to-late Holocene. The trend is consistent with accumulation profiles from other northern peatlands and is likely to have been caused by climatic cooling. Considerable variability in carbon accumulation rates between locations is apparent for the mid-to-late Holocene. We attribute to hydrologically induced changes in carbon accumulation which are likely to be inconsistent between sites.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3
Pages (from-to)1-30
Number of pages30
JournalMires and Peat
Volume23
Issue number03
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 25 Oct 2018

Keywords

  • Blanket bog
  • Caithness
  • Climate
  • Flow country
  • Lorca
  • Peat
  • Sutherland
  • Tephrochronology

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