The terrestrial system is considered a net carbon sink in the global carbon cycle, referred to as “the missing link”. However, whether the global soil carbon pool is a net sink or source is still not clear. Our lack of understanding in the fate of plant biomass after plant lifetime and its transformation into soil organic matter makes this challenge more difficult. We explore the temporal change of SOC in response to climate. Knowing the change of SOC storage in the past few decades can help us understand the potential amount of soil carbon sequestration in the next decades and provide benchmarking information to current SOC Earth System Models.
Figure from Bai and Cotrufo (2022). DOI: 10.1126/science.abo2380