skip to main content

Title: BAWLD-CH<sub>4</sub>: a comprehensive dataset of methane fluxes from boreal and arctic ecosystems
Abstract. Methane (CH4) emissions from the boreal and arcticregion are globally significant and highly sensitive to climate change.There is currently a wide range in estimates of high-latitude annualCH4 fluxes, where estimates based on land cover inventories andempirical CH4 flux data or process models (bottom-up approaches)generally are greater than atmospheric inversions (top-down approaches). Alimitation of bottom-up approaches has been the lack of harmonizationbetween inventories of site-level CH4 flux data and the land coverclasses present in high-latitude spatial datasets. Here we present acomprehensive dataset of small-scale, surface CH4 flux data from 540terrestrial sites (wetland and non-wetland) and 1247 aquatic sites (lakesand ponds), compiled from 189 studies. The Boreal–Arctic Wetland and LakeMethane Dataset (BAWLD-CH4) was constructed in parallel with acompatible land cover dataset, sharing the same land cover classes to enablerefined bottom-up assessments. BAWLD-CH4 includes information onsite-level CH4 fluxes but also on study design (measurement method,timing, and frequency) and site characteristics (vegetation, climate,hydrology, soil, and sediment types, permafrost conditions, lake size anddepth, and our determination of land cover class). The different land coverclasses had distinct CH4 fluxes, resulting from definitions that wereeither based on or co-varied with key environmental controls. Fluxes ofCH4 from terrestrial ecosystems were primarily influenced by watertable position, soil temperature, more » and vegetation composition, while CH4fluxes from aquatic ecosystems were primarily influenced by watertemperature, lake size, and lake genesis. Models could explain more of thebetween-site variability in CH4 fluxes for terrestrial than aquaticecosystems, likely due to both less precise assessments of lake CH4fluxes and fewer consistently reported lake site characteristics. Analysisof BAWLD-CH4 identified both land cover classes and regions within theboreal and arctic domain, where future studies should be focused, alongsidemethodological approaches. Overall, BAWLD-CH4 provides a comprehensivedataset of CH4 emissions from high-latitude ecosystems that are usefulfor identifying research opportunities, for comparison against new fielddata, and model parameterization or validation. BAWLD-CH4 can bedownloaded from (Kuhn et al., 2021). « less
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Award ID(s):
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Earth System Science Data
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract. Methane (CH4) emissions from natural landscapes constituteroughly half of global CH4 contributions to the atmosphere, yet largeuncertainties remain in the absolute magnitude and the seasonality ofemission quantities and drivers. Eddy covariance (EC) measurements ofCH4 flux are ideal for constraining ecosystem-scale CH4emissions due to quasi-continuous and high-temporal-resolution CH4flux measurements, coincident carbon dioxide, water, and energy fluxmeasurements, lack of ecosystem disturbance, and increased availability ofdatasets over the last decade. Here, we (1) describe the newly publisheddataset, FLUXNET-CH4 Version 1.0, the first open-source global dataset ofCH4 EC measurements (available at, last access: 7 April 2021). FLUXNET-CH4includes half-hourly and daily gap-filled and non-gap-filled aggregatedCH4 fluxes and meteorological data from 79 sites globally: 42freshwater wetlands, 6 brackish and saline wetlands, 7 formerly drainedecosystems, 7 rice paddy sites, 2 lakes, and 15 uplands. Then, we (2) evaluate FLUXNET-CH4 representativeness for freshwater wetland coverageglobally because the majority of sites in FLUXNET-CH4 Version 1.0 arefreshwater wetlands which are a substantial source of total atmosphericCH4 emissions; and (3) we provide the first global estimates of theseasonal variability and seasonality predictors of freshwater wetlandCH4 fluxes. Our representativeness analysis suggests that thefreshwater wetland sites in the dataset cover global wetland bioclimaticattributes (encompassing energy, moisture, and vegetation-relatedparameters) in arctic, boreal, and temperate regions but only sparselycovermore »humid tropical regions. Seasonality metrics of wetland CH4emissions vary considerably across latitudinal bands. In freshwater wetlands(except those between 20∘ S to 20∘ N) the spring onsetof elevated CH4 emissions starts 3 d earlier, and the CH4emission season lasts 4 d longer, for each degree Celsius increase in meanannual air temperature. On average, the spring onset of increasing CH4emissions lags behind soil warming by 1 month, with very few sites experiencingincreased CH4 emissions prior to the onset of soil warming. Incontrast, roughly half of these sites experience the spring onset of risingCH4 emissions prior to the spring increase in gross primaryproductivity (GPP). The timing of peak summer CH4 emissions does notcorrelate with the timing for either peak summer temperature or peak GPP.Our results provide seasonality parameters for CH4 modeling andhighlight seasonality metrics that cannot be predicted by temperature or GPP(i.e., seasonality of CH4 peak). FLUXNET-CH4 is a powerful new resourcefor diagnosing and understanding the role of terrestrial ecosystems andclimate drivers in the global CH4 cycle, and future additions of sitesin tropical ecosystems and site years of data collection will provide addedvalue to this database. All seasonality parameters are available at (Delwiche et al., 2021).Additionally, raw FLUXNET-CH4 data used to extract seasonality parameterscan be downloaded from (last access: 7 April 2021), and a completelist of the 79 individual site data DOIs is provided in Table 2 of this paper.« less
  2. Abstract. Methane emissions from boreal and arctic wetlands, lakes, and rivers areexpected to increase in response to warming and associated permafrost thaw.However, the lack of appropriate land cover datasets for scalingfield-measured methane emissions to circumpolar scales has contributed to alarge uncertainty for our understanding of present-day and future methaneemissions. Here we present the Boreal–Arctic Wetland and Lake Dataset(BAWLD), a land cover dataset based on an expert assessment, extrapolatedusing random forest modelling from available spatial datasets of climate,topography, soils, permafrost conditions, vegetation, wetlands, and surfacewater extents and dynamics. In BAWLD, we estimate the fractional coverage offive wetland, seven lake, and three river classes within 0.5 × 0.5∘ grid cells that cover the northern boreal and tundra biomes(17 % of the global land surface). Land cover classes were defined usingcriteria that ensured distinct methane emissions among classes, as indicatedby a co-developed comprehensive dataset of methane flux observations. InBAWLD, wetlands occupied 3.2 × 106 km2 (14 % of domain)with a 95 % confidence interval between 2.8 and 3.8 × 106 km2. Bog, fen, and permafrost bog were the most abundant wetlandclasses, covering ∼ 28 % each of the total wetland area,while the highest-methane-emitting marsh and tundra wetland classes occupied5 % and 12 %, respectively. Lakes, defined to include all lentic open-waterecosystems regardless of size, covered 1.4 × 106 km2(6 % of domain).more »Low-methane-emitting large lakes (>10 km2) and glacial lakes jointly represented 78 % of the total lakearea, while high-emitting peatland and yedoma lakes covered 18 % and 4 %,respectively. Small (<0.1 km2) glacial, peatland, and yedomalakes combined covered 17 % of the total lake area but contributeddisproportionally to the overall spatial uncertainty in lake area with a95 % confidence interval between 0.15 and 0.38 × 106 km2. Rivers and streams were estimated to cover 0.12  × 106 km2 (0.5 % of domain), of which 8 % was associated withhigh-methane-emitting headwaters that drain organic-rich landscapes.Distinct combinations of spatially co-occurring wetland and lake classeswere identified across the BAWLD domain, allowing for the mapping of“wetscapes” that have characteristic methane emission magnitudes andsensitivities to climate change at regional scales. With BAWLD, we provide adataset which avoids double-accounting of wetland, lake, and river extentsand which includes confidence intervals for each land cover class. As such,BAWLD will be suitable for many hydrological and biogeochemical modellingand upscaling efforts for the northern boreal and arctic region, inparticular those aimed at improving assessments of current and futuremethane emissions. Data are freely available at (Olefeldt et al., 2021).« less
  3. Abstract. Past efforts to synthesize and quantify the magnitude and change in carbon dioxide (CO2) fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems across the rapidly warming Arctic–boreal zone (ABZ) have provided valuable information but were limited in their geographical and temporal coverage. Furthermore, these efforts have been based on data aggregated over varying time periods, often with only minimal site ancillary data, thus limiting their potential to be used in large-scale carbon budget assessments. To bridge these gaps, we developed a standardized monthly database of Arctic–boreal CO2 fluxes (ABCflux) that aggregates in situ measurements of terrestrial net ecosystem CO2 exchange and its derived partitioned component fluxes: gross primary productivity and ecosystem respiration. The data span from 1989 to 2020 with over 70 supporting variables that describe key site conditions (e.g., vegetation and disturbance type), micrometeorological and environmental measurements (e.g., air and soil temperatures), and flux measurement techniques. Here, we describe these variables, the spatial and temporal distribution of observations, the main strengths and limitations of the database, and the potential research opportunities it enables. In total, ABCflux includes 244 sites and 6309 monthly observations; 136 sites and 2217 monthly observations represent tundra, and 108 sites and 4092 observations represent the boreal biome. The database includesmore »fluxes estimated with chamber (19 % of the monthly observations), snow diffusion (3 %) and eddy covariance (78 %) techniques. The largest number of observations were collected during the climatological summer (June–August; 32 %), and fewer observations were available for autumn (September–October; 25 %), winter (December–February; 18 %), and spring (March–May; 25 %). ABCflux can be used in a wide array of empirical, remote sensing and modeling studies to improve understanding of the regional and temporal variability in CO2 fluxes and to better estimate the terrestrial ABZ CO2 budget. ABCflux is openly and freely available online (Virkkala et al., 2021b,« less
  4. Abstract
    Climate change is affecting the Arctic at an unprecedented rate, potentially releasing substantial amounts of greenhouse gases (CO2 (carbon dioxide) and CH4 (Methane)) from tundra ecosystems. Measuring greenhouse gas emissions in the Arctic, particularly outside of the summer period, is very challenging due to extreme weather conditions. This research project provided the first annual balance of both CH4 and CO2 fluxes in a total of five sites spanning a 300Km transect across the North Slope of Alaska (three sites in Barrow, one site in Aquasuk, and one site in Ivotuk). The results from the continuous year-round CH4 fluxes across these sites showed how cumulative emissions for the cold season accounted on average for 50% of the annual budget (Zona et al., 2016), a notably higher contribution than previously modelled, and also higher than observed in boreal Alaska. The analysis of the cold period CH4 fluxes suggested that the presence of an unfrozen soil layer in the fall and early winter was a major control on cold season CH4 emissions (Zona et al., 2016). We also cross-compared all instruments measuring ecosystem scale CO2 and CH4 fluxes operating at our sites, which allowed us to make recommendation of the best performingMore>>
  5. Peatlands store substantial amounts of carbon and are vulnerable to climate change. We present a modified version of the Organising Carbon and Hydrology In Dynamic Ecosystems (ORCHIDEE) land surface model for simulating the hydrology, surface energy, and CO2 fluxes of peatlands on daily to annual timescales. The model includes a separate soil tile in each 0.5° grid cell, defined from a global peatland map and identified with peat-specific soil hydraulic properties. Runoff from non-peat vegetation within a grid cell containing a fraction of peat is routed to this peat soil tile, which maintains shallow water tables. The water table position separates oxic from anoxic decomposition. The model was evaluated against eddy-covariance (EC) observations from 30 northern peatland sites, with the maximum rate of carboxylation (Vcmax) being optimized at each site. Regarding short-term day-to-day variations, the model performance was good for gross primary production (GPP) (r2 =  0.76; Nash–Sutcliffe modeling efficiency, MEF  =  0.76) and ecosystem respiration (ER, r2 =  0.78, MEF  =  0.75), with lesser accuracy for latent heat fluxes (LE, r2 =  0.42, MEF  =  0.14) and and net ecosystem CO2 exchange (NEE, r2 =  0.38, MEF  =  0.26). Seasonal variations in GPP, ER, NEE, and energy fluxes on monthly scales showed moderate to high r2 values (0.57–0.86). For spatial across-site gradients of annual meanmore »GPP, ER, NEE, and LE, r2 values of 0.93, 0.89, 0.27, and 0.71 were achieved, respectively. Water table (WT) variation was not well predicted (r2 &lt; 0.1), likely due to the uncertain water input to the peat from surrounding areas. However, the poor performance of WT simulation did not greatly affect predictions of ER and NEE. We found a significant relationship between optimized Vcmax and latitude (temperature), which better reflects the spatial gradients of annual NEE than using an average Vcmax value.« less