Climatic and radiative forcing consequences of peatland response to changing climatic conditions over decadal to millennial timescales


We explore short- and long-term climatic radiative forcing consequences of CO2 and CH4 emissions from peatlands under varying climatic conditions. We couple output from the Peat Accumulation Model with empirical estimates of methane emissions and a first-order atmospheric perturbation model to assess relative impacts of peatland CO2 and CH4 emissions dynamics, accounting for differences in atmospheric lifetime and radiative efficiency. This provides a more dynamic and complete view of climatic impacts than a standard global warming potential analysis. We examine the first order effects of changes in moisture conditions in response to changes in the water balance, due to changes in the difference between precipitation and evapotranspiration. We also examine potential second order influences by changing the position of the water table relative to the peat surface, which could be caused by a drop in the peatland surface due to permafrost melting (i.e., collapse scars) and/or the burning of a peatland.


Earth Sciences, Earth Systems Research Center

Publication Date


Journal Title

Joint Assembly Meeting, American Geophysical Union


American Geophysical Union Publications

Document Type

Conference Proceeding