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Methane emission from Siberian arctic polygonal tundra: eddy covariance measurements and modeling

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Wille, C., Kutzbach, L., Sachs, T., Wagner, D., & Pfeiffer, E.-M. (2008). Methane emission from Siberian arctic polygonal tundra: eddy covariance measurements and modeling. Global Change Biology, 14(6), 1395-1408. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2486.2008.01586.x.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0018-2D68-5
Abstract
Eddy covariance measurements of methane flux were carried out in an arctic tundra landscape in the central Lena River Delta at 72 degrees N. The measurements covered the seasonal course of mid-summer to early winter in 2003 and early spring to mid-summer in 2004, including the periods of spring thaw and autumnal freeze back. The study site is characterized by very cold and deep permafrost and a continental climate with a mean annual air temperature of -14.7 degrees C. The surface is characterized by wet polygonal tundra, with a micro-relief consisting of raised moderately dry sites, depressed wet sites, polygonal ponds, and lakes. We found relatively low fluxes of typically 30 mg CH(4) m(-2) day(-1) during mid-summer and identified soil temperature and near-surface atmospheric turbulence as the factors controlling methane emission. The influence of atmospheric turbulence was attributed to the high coverage of open water surfaces in the tundra. The soil thaw depth and water table position were found to have no clear effect on methane fluxes. The excess emission during spring thaw was estimated to be about 3% of the total flux measured during June-October. Winter emissions were modeled based on the functional relationships found in the measured data. The annual methane emission was estimated to be 3.15 g m(-2). This is low compared with values reported for similar ecosystems. Reason for this were thought to be the very low permafrost temperature in the study region, the sandy soil texture and low bio-availability of nutrients in the soils, and the high surface coverage of moist to dry micro-sites. The methane emission accounted for about 14% of the annual ecosystem carbon balance. Considering the global warming potential of methane, the methane emission turned the tundra into an effective greenhouse gas source.