Data from: Rainfall pulse response of carbon fluxes in a temperate grass ecosystem in the semiarid Loess Plateau
Tang, Yakun et al. (2018), Data from: Rainfall pulse response of carbon fluxes in a temperate grass ecosystem in the semiarid Loess Plateau, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.4fq5vr6
Rainfall pulses can significantly influence carbon cycling in water limited ecosystems. The magnitude of carbon flux component responses to precipitation may vary depending on precipitation amount and antecedent soil moisture, associated with nonlinear responses of plants and soil microbes. The present study was carried out in a temperate grass ecosystem during 2013–2015 in the semiarid Loess Plateau of China, to examine the response of carbon fluxes to precipitation using the “threshold-delay” model. The unique contribution of environmental variables, such as precipitation amount and antecedent soil moisture before rainfall (SWC_antecedent) to carbon fluxes in response to rainfall were also investigated. The lower threshold of effective rainfall was 6.6 mm for gross ecosystem production (GEP), 8.5 mm for net ecosystem production (NEP) and 4.5 mm for ecosystem respiration (RE); and the upper threshold of effective rainfall was 21.4 mm for GEP and NEP, and 16.8 mm for RE. Rainfall amount was positively affected the relative rainfall responses of GEP, NEP and RE. However, SWC_antecedent at 20 cm soil depth offset the response of GEP to rainfall pulses, and SWC_antecedent at 5 cm depth offset the response of NEP and RE to rainfall pulses, with corresponding partial slopes of linear regressions of −0.50, −0.40 and −0.52. These results indicated that NEP was more sensitive to rainfall pulses and RE was more sensitive to SWC_antecedent. These results demonstrate the importance of rainfall events of < 10 mm, and that the negative effect of SWC_antecedent should also be considered when estimating ecosystem carbon fluxes in this semiarid region.