Methane fluxes between terrestrial ecosystems and the atmosphere at northern high latitudes during the past century: A retrospective analysis with a process-based biogeochemistry model Academic Article uri icon


  • We develop and use a new version of the Terrestrial Ecosystem Model (TEM) to study how rates of methane (CH4) emissions and consumption in high-latitude soils of the Northern Hemisphere have changed over the past century in response to observed changes in the region's climate. We estimate that the net emissions of CH4 (emissions minus consumption) from these soils have increased by an average 0.08 Tg CH4 yr?1 during the twentieth century. Our estimate of the annual net emission rate at the end of the century for the region is 51 Tg CH4 yr?1. Russia, Canada, and Alaska are the major CH4 regional sources to the atmosphere, responsible for 64%, 11%, and 7% of these net emissions, respectively. Our simulations indicate that large interannual variability in net CH4 emissions occurred over the last century. Our analyses of the responses of net CH4 emissions to the past climate change suggest that future global warming will increase net CH4 emissions from the Pan-Arctic region. The higher net CH4 emissions may increase atmospheric CH4 concentrations to provide a major positive feedback to the climate system.

publication date

  • September 2004