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Methane emissions from western Siberian wetlands: heterogeneity and sensitivity to climate change

Bohn, T. J. and Lettenmaier, D. P. and Sathulur, K. and Bowling, L. C. and Podest, E. and McDonald, K. C. and Friborg, T. (2007) Methane emissions from western Siberian wetlands: heterogeneity and sensitivity to climate change. Environmental Research Letters, 2 (4). Art. No. 045015. ISSN 1748-9326. doi:10.1088/1748-9326/2/4/045015.

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The prediction of methane emissions from high-latitude wetlands is important given concerns about their sensitivity to a warming climate. As a basis for the prediction of wetland methane emissions at regional scales, we coupled the variable infiltration capacity macroscale hydrological model (VIC) with the biosphere–energy-transfer–hydrology terrestrial ecosystem model (BETHY) and a wetland methane emissions model to make large-scale estimates of methane emissions as a function of soil temperature, water table depth, and net primary productivity (NPP), with a parameterization of the sub-grid heterogeneity of the water table depth based on TOPMODEL. We simulated the methane emissions from a 100 km × 100 km region of western Siberia surrounding the Bakchar Bog, for a retrospective baseline period of 1980–1999 and have evaluated their sensitivity to increases in temperature of 0–5 °C and increases in precipitation of 0–15%. The interactions of temperature and precipitation, through their effects on the water table depth, played an important role in determining methane emissions from these wetlands. The balance between these effects varied spatially, and their net effect depended in part on sub-grid topographic heterogeneity. Higher temperatures alone increased methane production in saturated areas, but caused those saturated areas to shrink in extent, resulting in a net reduction in methane emissions. Higher precipitation alone raised water tables and expanded the saturated area, resulting in a net increase in methane emissions. Combining a temperature increase of 3 °C and an increase of 10% in precipitation to represent climate conditions that may pertain in western Siberia at the end of this century resulted in roughly a doubling in annual emissions.

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Additional Information:© 2007 IOP Publishing Ltd. Received 21 June 2007, accepted for publication 10 September 2007. Published 26 November 2007. ALOS/PALSAR imagery of the region was provided courtesy of JAXA. Part of "Focus on Northern Hemisphere High Latitude Climate and Environmental Change," Environmental Research Letters, 2(4):045008, doi:10.1088/1748-9326/2/4/045008
Subject Keywords:bog, methane, peatland, wetland, VIC, hydrology, model, TOPMODEL, topographic wetness index, BETHY, spatial distribution, climate, Siberia, Bakchar, Vasyugan, sensitivity, heterogeneity
Issue or Number:4
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:BOHerl07
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:9248
Deposited By: Archive Administrator
Deposited On:29 Nov 2007
Last Modified:08 Nov 2021 20:57

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