Predicting soil carbon loss with warming
Crowther et al. Reported that the best predictor of surface soil carbon (top 10 cm) losses in response to warming is the size of the surface carbon stock in the soil (that is, carbon stocks in plots that have not been warmed), finding that soils that are high in soil carbon also lose more carbon under warming conditions. This relationship was based on a linear regression of soil carbon losses and soil carbon stocks in field warming studies, which was then used to project carbon losses over time and to generate a map of soil carbon vulnerability. However, a few extreme data points (high-leverage points) can strongly influence the slope of a regression line. Only 5 of the 49 sites analysed by Crowther et al. are in the upper half of the carbon stock range, which raises the possibility that the relationship they observed could be substantially altered by introducing data from sites with relatively high surface soil carbon stocks.