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Biogeosciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

Scheduled special issues

The following special issues are scheduled for publication in BG:

Quantifying weathering rates for sustainable forestry (BG/SOIL inter-journal SI) 01 Apr 2018–31 Dec 2018 | Guest editors: N. Ohte and S. Anderson | Information

Increased harvest of forest biomass has the potential for mitigating climate change as well as reducing dependency on fossil fuels across much of the boreal zone. For forestry to be sustainable in the long term, the supply of weathering (chemical dissolution of minerals) needs to be sufficient to compensate for what is harvested and washed out by acid deposition. There are indications that current levels of forest harvest in boreal regions are not sustainable because soils are already being depleted of key elements in large areas, and increased harvest rates will be even less sustainable. This weathering deficit threatens both trees and aquatic ecosystems. But there is also a concern that weathering estimates are uncertain relative to the accuracy needed to guide forest policy. This special issue brings together key results and syntheses from a 5-year research programme involving six universities and two research institutes to improve weathering estimates at the spatial and temporal scales relevant to sustainable forest management, including how climate and forest management can affect weathering rates.

The articles in this issue do the following:

  • present improvements made in soil mineral weathering models via improved descriptions of tree physiology, forest ecology, and aqueous geochemistry;
  • advance our understanding of the biological controls upon and responses to changes in soil mineral weathering rates;
  • demonstrate the sensitivity of base cation weathering rates to small changes in mineralogy;
  • use improved understanding to project weathering in the coming century across a broad section of the boreal region for multiple climate scenarios;
  • discuss weathering rates and their importance for sustainable forestry and aquatic ecosystems in the context of other nutrient pools in the soil.


Assessing environmental impacts of deep-sea mining – revisiting decade-old benthic disturbances in Pacific nodule areas 14 Nov 2017–31 Dec 2018 | Guest editors: J. Middelburg, T. Treude, M. Haeckel, A. Purser, P. Arbizu, A. Vanreusel, and D. Jones | Information

After more than 20 years, mining of mineral resources, such as polymetallic nodules and massive sulfides, in the deep sea is back on the agenda of many countries and companies in their search for high-tech raw metals. In this course, the past 10 years have seen an immense increase of exploration licences issued by the International Seabed Authority (ISA), which organizes and controls activities at the ocean floor beyond national jurisdiction, generally termed the "area". The seven pilot investors are renewing their exploration licences for another five years, after which they will need to apply for an exploitation licence (or lose their contracted claim). Thus, ISA is currently developing the regulatory framework for the exploitation of seafloor mineral resources, which includes legislation to "ensure effective protection of the marine environment from harmful effects" according to UNCLOS article 145. In order to support decision-making for ISA's regulations, several benthic impact experiments were conducted more than 20 years ago. However, the impacts have only been studied over the following 5–7 years. Until now, no information has been available for the expected longer-term impacts induced by mining operations, i.e. in case of nodule mining the removal of the surface sediments and dispersal of the suspended particle plume and subsequent seafloor blanketing. Therefore, in 2015 the European project MiningImpact, funded through the Joint Programming Initiative Healthy Seas and Oceans (JPIO), revisited several impact scars at the seafloor in the nodule exploration licence areas of the Clarion–Clipperton Fracture Zone (CCZ) as well as the benthic impact experiment DISCOL (DIsturbance and reCOLonization) in the Peru Basin. Our scientific study provides the first results of environmental consequences on the deep-sea ecosystem that prevail for up to 40 years after a disturbance was created. Also, the impacted areas vary in size from single 1–2 nm long dredge or sled tracks to the 78 criss-crossing, 4 m wide plough harrow marks in the 11 km2 large DISCOL experimental area. This special issue presents the scientific results of the biological, biogeochemical, geological, and oceanographic investigations carried out in the MiningImpact project (consisting of 25 institutes from 11 European countries) that is used to provide recommendations for the exploitation mining code of ISA (e.g. improved methods for the management and monitoring of mining operations) and to improve our understanding of the ecological functions of the deep seafloor.

Paleoclimate data synthesis and analysis of associated uncertainty (BG/CP/ESSD inter-journal SI) 10 Oct 2017–30 Jun 2019 | Guest editors: M. Kienast, U. Herzschuh, and L. Jonkers | Information

Paleoclimate data provide unique insights into climate dynamics across a range of timescales. Importantly, paleoclimate data are the only means of evaluating and constraining climate models under boundary conditions different from today and the recent past. However, most paleoclimate data are presently archived in a fragmented and non-standardized way, necessitating synthesis efforts in order to allow meaningful analysis of spatio-temporal climate dynamics and data-model comparison. Moreover, paleoclimate data are inherently uncertain since they are based on indirect evidence (proxies) and associated with chronological error, requiring rigorous uncertainty analysis to separate signal from noise and to make full use of paleoclimate data syntheses.

This special issue provides a platform to present paleoclimate synthesis products, to review the current state of proxy uncertainty analysis, as well as to present new developments. The issue is organized within the paleoclimate data synthesis working group of the PALMOD ( project, which focuses on the past 130,000 years. However, this is an open submission issue and we explicitly invite contributions from across the paleoclimate community describing synthesis methods and results from any kind of archive and/or parameter. We welcome contributions presenting paleoclimate synthesis products and their analysis across timescales, with regional or global focus and both time slice and transient approaches as well as conceptual contributions to proxy data uncertainty analysis (theoretical, empirical, Bayesian).

The 10th International Carbon Dioxide Conference (ICDC10) and the 19th WMO/IAEA Meeting on Carbon Dioxide, other Greenhouse Gases and Related Measurement Techniques (GGMT-2017) (AMT/ACP/BG/CP/ESD inter-journal SI) 01 Oct 2017–30 Sep 2018 | Guest editors: F. Joos, C. Heinze, C. Le Quere, J. Pongratz, I. C. Prentice, and N. Zeng | Information

The International Carbon Dioxide Conference (ICDC) is the single largest conference organized by the global research community every four years to present the latest scientific findings on the science of the carbon cycle and its perturbation by human activities. The ICDC10 in 2017 is the 10th anniversary conference. It covers fundamental science advancement and discovery, the generation of policy relevant information, and observational and modeling approaches. ICDC10 brings together scientists from different disciplines to work towards an integrated view on the global cycle of carbon in the Earth system.

The main themes of the conference are as follows:

  1. The contemporary carbon cycle
    • Trends, variability, and time of emergence of human impacts
    • Emerging approaches and novel techniques in observations
  2. The paleo-perspective: patterns, processes, and planetary bounds
  3. Biogeochemical processes
    • Process understanding and human impacts
    • Coping with complexity: from process understanding to robust models
  4. Scenarios of the future Earth and steps toward long-term Earth system stability

GGMT-2017 is a key conference on measurement techniques for accurate observation of long- lived greenhouse and related gases, their isotopic composition in the atmosphere relevant for climate change, and global warming research findings. The biannual meeting, known as the WMO/IAEA Meeting of Experts on Carbon Dioxide, Other Greenhouse Gases and Related Tracer Measurement Techniques, is to be held for the 19th time in 2017.

Main topics:

  • Developments of the GHG networks
  • CO2 observations (measurement techniques and calibration)
  • Non-CO2 observations (measurement techniques and calibration)
  • Isotope measurement and calibration
  • Emerging techniques
  • GHG standards and comparison activities
  • Integration of observations, data products and policy

The special issue is open for papers that emerged from ICDC10 and GGMT-2017 conference contributions.

Human impacts on carbon fluxes in Asian river systems 15 Aug 2017–31 May 2018 | Guest editors: J.-H. Park, V. V. S. S. Sarma, G. Abril, and D. Butman | Information

Despite the importance of Asian river systems for the global riverine carbon fluxes, surprisingly few efforts have been made to synthesize the current status and emerging trends of CO2 outgassing and organic carbon export from the rapidly urbanizing watersheds across Asia. Asian rivers have been estimated to account for up to 40 and 50 % of the global inorganic and organic carbon transport from the land to the oceans, respectively. However, the lack of data has limited our ability to estimate the contributions of Asian rivers to the global carbon fluxes. Particularly sparse are measurements of dissolved CO2, so obtaining pCO2 data in Southeast Asian rivers has been suggested as a top priority in reducing large uncertainty in estimating the global riverine CO2 outgassing. Moreover, little is known about organic carbon export and CO2 outgassing from streams and rivers draining rapidly urbanizing watersheds in developing countries across Asia. The proposed special issue will provide a venue for presenting the most up-to-date overview of the current status and wide-ranging anthropogenic alterations of riverine carbon fluxes including dissolved and particulate organic carbon, inorganic carbon, and dissolved CO2 and other greenhouse gases such as CH4, N2O, and DMS. We will solicit both review and primary research articles that address emerging trends in riverine carbon transport and greenhouse gas outgassing from major river systems across Asia, particularly from the perspective of human-induced perturbations to those fluxes.

GEOVIDE, an international GEOTRACES study along the OVIDE section in the North Atlantic and in the Labrador Sea (GA01) 18 Apr 2017–30 Jun 2018 | Guest editors: G. Henderson, M. Lohan, L. Bopp, C. Jeandel, and G. Reverdin | Information

GEOTRACES is an international scientific collaboration that aims to improve the understanding of biogeochemical cycles and large-scale distribution of trace elements and isotopes (TEIs) in the marine environment. The central focus of this programme is a series of cruises – GEOTRACES sections – that cover the global ocean. In the North Atlantic, a first zonal transect was carried out by the US in 2010–2011 (GEOTRACES Section GA03; Boyle et al., 2015, and articles in the Deep Sea 2 special issue). The GEOVIDE cruise is the GEOTRACES Section GA01 led by the French community and carried out in 2014. The cruise track (North Atlantic and Labrador Sea) is located in a crucial area for the Earth climate and the thermohaline circulation as it represents a major overturning area of the so-called Meridional Overturning Circulation (MOC). Moreover, TEI distribution is poorly constrained in this area. The main scientific objectives of GEOVIDE are to (i) better know and quantify the MOC and the carbon cycle in a decadal variability context, adding new key tracers; (ii) map the TEI distribution with their physical and chemical speciation along a full-depth, high-resolution ocean section; (iii) investigate the link between the TEIs and the production, export, and remineralisation of particulate organic matter; (iv) characterise the TEI sources and sinks and quantify their fluxes at the ocean boundaries; and (v) better understand and quantify the palaeoproxies 231Pa/230Th, εNd, and δ30Si.

This special issue will present the first outputs of this interdisciplinarity (physical oceanography, geochemistry, and biogeochemistry) and international collaborative project, based on a 47-day oceanographic cruise on the R/V Pourquoi Pas? (May–June 2014).

Interactions between planktonic organisms and biogeochemical cycles across trophic and N2 fixation gradients in the western tropical South Pacific Ocean: a multidisciplinary approach (OUTPACE experiment) 15 Feb 2017–31 Mar 2018 | Guest editors: T. Moutin, S. Bonnet, K. Richards, D. G. Capone, E. Marañón, and L. Mémery | Information

The goal of this special issue is to present the knowledge obtained concerning the functioning of the western tropical South Pacific (WTSP) ecosystems and associated biogeochemical cycles based on the datasets acquired during the OUTPACE experiment. The physical variability and the hydrodynamic context of biogeochemical sampling are described, as well as the impacts of mesoscale circulation and forcing on biogeographic gradients, along with the longitudinal contrast in small-scale turbulence along ~20° S. An optimum multi-parameter analysis of the water mass structure is also provided.

The focus on diazotrophs and dinitrogen fixation concerns the distribution and drivers of symbiotic and free-living diazotrophic cyanobacteria, the contribution of particulate and dissolved (N release) fractions to the hotspot of N2 fixation found during the cruise, zonal gradient in N2 fixation rates, the partition of N2 fixation rates between the particulate and dissolved fractions, the diazotroph-derived N transfer to the planktonic food web, the N2 fixation contribution to export production, and finally the N budget at the long-duration stations studied using a Lagrangian adaptative strategy. Aphotic N2 fixation, heterotrophic diazotrophs and their relationship with labile organic matter, as well as programmed cell death in diazotrophs, are also investigated.

The dynamics of phytoplankton, heterotrophic bacterioplankton, and zooplankton along the gradient of diazotroph diversity and activity are described together with the composition and distribution of dissolved organic carbon and the changes in inorganic carbon content along the longitudinal transect. Net community production, the assimilation of organic carbon and nutrient substrates by unicellular cyanobacteria, and microbial response to the N and P compounds excreted by copepods are quantified. A specific focus on siliceous plankton and Si biogeochemical cycling is also presented.

Optical properties of the WTSP waters are presented, with a focus on the cyanobacterial (diazotroph) impact on bio-optical properties, UV–visible light attenuation and Chl a algorithms for WTSP oligotrophic waters. Finally, the main processes controlling the biological carbon pump in the WTSP are investigated using a 1DV biogeochemical–physical coupled model, and the new knowledge gained on the interactions between planktonic organisms and the cycle of biogenic elements is used to propose a new scheme for this functioning and role, at the present time and in the near future, in the oligotrophic Pacific Ocean.

NETCARE (Network on Aerosols and Climate: Addressing Key Uncertainties in Remote Canadian Environments)
(ACP/AMT/BG inter-journal SI)
23 Feb 2016–28 Feb 2019 | Guest editors: L. Bopp, K. Carslaw, D. J. Cziczo, and L. M. Russell | Information

NETCARE (Network on Aerosols and Climate: Addressing Key Uncertainties in Remote Canadian Environments) is a large research network focusing on aerosol–cloud–climate interactions. While Canadian-based, it operates with many international collaborations. It is comprised of scientists working in both atmospheric science and marine biogeochemistry, with particular attention given to a suite of intensive field measurements (with both atmospheric and oceanic components) and model evaluation and development. There are three major research directions within the network: 1. Carbonaceous Aerosol, 2. Arctic Clouds, and 3. Ocean–Atmosphere Interactions. A large amount of the research has an Arctic focus, it being a region especially susceptible to anthropogenic input and experiencing a large degree of biogeochemical change. The website for the network is On the website, there is more information on research activities, field campaign details, modeling activities, data products, and personnel.

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