01.05 - 30.05.2018  
College Station, TX, USA
Contact person:
Julie Loisel, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

PAGES' Carbon in Peat on EArth through Time working group (C-PEAT) will hold a workshop, titled "Short-Term Peatland Patterns, Processes, and Sensitivity to Rapid Climate Change" in May 2018 in College Station TX, USA. Final dates TBA.


Texas A&M University
College Station, TX, USA


This is an open meeting for 15-20 participants. There is a plan to record parts of the workshop and share the videos live with a larger audience of peatland scientists who might not be able to attend.


Peatlands have played a key role in the global carbon (C) cycle during the Holocene and previous interglacials. While it is well known that high-latitude and tropical peatlands have acted as net long-term atmospheric sinks for carbon dioxide (CO2) over time, key uncertainties remain regarding the short-term peatland patterns and processes that lead to C sequestration (or loss) at decadal to centennial timescales.

We know that a changing climate can strengthen or weaken the peatland C sink capacity and induce non-linear responses and feedbacks in peatland systems. However, we don’t know which factors are responsible for such changes. A better understanding of these short-term processes is essential to (1) assess climate sensitivity of peatlands’ C sequestration potential, and (2) integrate peatland dynamics in terrestrial, climate, and land-cover change models.

This workshop will have an emphasis on understanding short-term peatland dynamics and system resilience.

We identified two main objectives:

(1) Discuss the possible second phase of C-PEAT
Task 1- present the idea of simulating short-term (100 years) dynamics of peatlands to document the processes of peat formation and C accumulation to the group; Task 2 - discuss the integration of peat-based data with peatland flux data from natural sites, field experiments, and laboratory incubations; Task 3 - discuss ideas pertaining to developing a new process-based modeling framework; Task 4 - create a calendar and a series of tasks to be accomplished by the end of the year.

(2) Develop a ‘peatland sensitivity and resilience’ framework to analyze peatland dynamics
Task 1 - analyze our peat-core databases (from C-PEAT Phase I) with the specific goal to develop indices to identify rapid changes in the peatland C-sink function during three rapid climatic changes that have occurred since the last deglaciation (Younger Dryas, and the 8.2ka and 4.2ka events); Task 2 - identify key patterns and their relationship to potential controls; Task 3 - develop a conceptual model describing peatland responses to climate change; Task 4 - simulate peatland responses to different climate change scenarios (temperature, moisture, seasonality) using a process-based model (Holocene Peat Model); Task 5 - assess peatland sensitivity and resilience to rapid climate change.

We identified four outcomes:

(1) the preparation of a peer-review article to be submitted to a Special Issue of Environmental Research Letters on carbon cycle dynamics during episodes of rapid climate change, and potentially other articles based on case studies;

(2) a better understanding of peatland sensitivity and resilience to rapidly changing climatic conditions,

(3) a new set of model simulations showing a range of peatland responses to changes in temperature and moisture, and

(4) an inclusive and participatory research agenda for the coming year that facilitates data integration and analysis, as well as collaboration between international scientists with expertise in empirical, experimental, and modeling methodologies and experience from around the world (tropical and high-latitude peatlands).


This meeting on short-term peatland patterns and processes and its responses to rapid climate change will also be used to plan a proposed second phase of the working group.

The meeting will allow us to (1) utilize the data previously synthesized, (2) write at least one new community paper, and (3) plan out our research agenda and activities pertaining to ‘short-term peatland dynamics’ for the next three years.

Financial support

PAGES has provided some funding for early-career researchers and scientists from developing countries to attend this meeting. The deadline for applications will be 26 February.


An announcement will soon be made on how to register. The deadline for registrations will be 26 February.

Further information

In the meantime, workshop organizer Julie Loisel at the Department of Geography, Texas A&M University, USA: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.