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Reply to comment by R. Parkinson on “Increasing rates of carbon burial in southwest Florida coastal wetlands” by J. Breithaupt et al.

April 1, 2021

Breithaupt et al. (2020) investigated why rates of organic carbon (OC) burial in coastal wetlands appear to increase over the past ∼120 years. After comparing dating methods and applying biogeochemical analyses, we concluded that neither dating method nor carbon degradation contribute to the observed trend. Rather, we concluded that OC burial has increased in the past century. Parkinson's (2021) Comment disagrees with our conclusion, contending that: 1) use of a density correction to account for soil auto‐compaction is a flawed methodology that artificially shortens a core's length, 2) there is limited evidence for an acceleration in the regional sea‐level rise (SLR) rate, and 3) vertical accretion rates in previous papers by Breithaupt et al. (2014, 2017) are lower than the regional mean rate of SLR and are not to be believed as these wetlands should have converted to open water by now. We reject these contentions because: 1) no density correction was applied to the cores in this study, 2) local tide gauge records and analyses in the literature support an increase in SLR rates coinciding with the timeframe of our OC burial records, and 3) Parkinson's comparison of the 100‐yr mean rate of SLR neglects temporal variability and uncertainties in the long‐term sea‐level record, as well as biophysical feedbacks between wetland surface elevation and SLR. Here, we provide detailed responses to Parkinson's contentions and establish the importance of differentiating operational definitions of OC burial and accretion to clarify why an auto‐compaction correction is not applicable for OC burial measurements.

Publication Year 2021
Title Reply to comment by R. Parkinson on “Increasing rates of carbon burial in southwest Florida coastal wetlands” by J. Breithaupt et al.
DOI 10.1029/2021JG006245
Authors Joshua L. Breithaupt, Joseph M. Smoak, Thomas S. Bianchi, Derrick Vaughn, Christian J. Sanders, Kara R. Radabaugh, Michael Osland, Laura Feher, James C. Lynch, Donald Cahoon, Gordon Anderson, Kevin R. T. Whelan, Brad E. Rosenheim, Ryan P. Moyer, Lisa G. Chambers
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Biogeosciences
Index ID 70229806
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Wetland and Aquatic Research Center