Methane emissions from northern high latitude wetlands


Methane emissions from northern high-latitude wetlands are an important consideration for understanding past, present, and future atmospheric concentrations of this important greenhouse gas. In this chapter we review progress on measuring methane emissions from northern wetlands and, through a model, estimate emission variability in relation to one component of climate variability. Our conclusions are as follows: (1) Methane emissions from northern wetlands are dependent on both soil moisture and temperature. The relative influence of these soil climate parameters is quite variable from one region to another, as is the magnitude of the net emission rate to the atmosphere. Some important wetland regions have not been surveyed for methane emissions (e.g., the Siberian Lowlands); further progress on defining global emissions from northern wetlands awaits field data from these areas. (2) Our preliminary modeling of the sensitivity of methane flux from northern wetlands to variability in temperature indicates that feedbacks from this source are unlikely to significantly influence rates of climate change during the initial stages of a global warming.


Earth Sciences, Earth Systems Research Center

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Book Chapter