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  1. Abstract Atmospheric concentrations of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, have strongly increased since 2007. Measurements of stable carbon isotopes of methane can constrain emissions if the isotopic compositions are known; however, isotopic compositions of methane emissions from wetlands are poorly constrained despite their importance. Here, we use a process-based biogeochemistry model to calculate the stable carbon isotopic composition of global wetland methane emissions. We estimate a mean global signature of −61.3 ± 0.7‰ and find that tropical wetland emissions are enriched by ~11‰ relative to boreal wetlands. Our model shows improved resolution of regional, latitudinal and global variations in isotopic composition of wetland emissions. Atmospheric simulation scenarios with the improved wetland isotopic composition suggest that increases in atmospheric methane since 2007 are attributable to rising microbial emissions. Our findings substantially reduce uncertainty in the stable carbon isotopic composition of methane emissions from wetlands and improve understanding of the global methane budget. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2023
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2023
  3. Riaz, Muhammad (Ed.)
    The mechanisms controlling the extraordinarily slow carbon (C) mineralization rates characteristic of Sphagnum -rich peatlands (“bogs”) are not fully understood, despite decades of research on this topic. Soluble phenolic compounds have been invoked as potentially significant contributors to bog peat recalcitrance due to their affinity to slow microbial metabolism and cell growth. Despite this potentially significant role, the effects of soluble phenolic compounds on bog peat C mineralization remain unclear. We analyzed this effect by manipulating the concentration of free soluble phenolics in anaerobic bog and fen peat incubations using water-soluble polyvinylpyrrolidone (“PVP”), a compound that binds with and inactivates phenolics, preventing phenolic-enzyme interactions. CO 2 and CH 4 production rates (end-products of anaerobic C mineralization) generally correlated positively with PVP concentration following Michaelis-Menten (M.M.) saturation functions. Using M.M. parameters, we estimated that the extent to which phenolics inhibit anaerobic CO 2 production was significantly higher in the bog—62 ± 16%—than the fen—14 ± 4%. This difference was found to be more substantial with regards to methane production—wherein phenolic inhibition for the bog was estimated at 54 ± 19%, while the fen demonstrated no apparent inhibition. Consistent with this habitat difference, we observed significantly higher soluble phenolic content in bog vs. fen pore-water. Together, these findings suggest that soluble phenolics could contribute to bogs’ extraordinary recalcitrance and high (relative to other peatland habitats) CO 2 :CH 4 production ratios. 
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  4. Permafrost thaw increases active layer thickness, changes landscape hydrology and influences vegetation species composition. These changes alter belowground microbial and geochemical processes, affecting production, consumption and net emission rates of climate forcing trace gases. Net carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) and methane (CH 4 ) fluxes determine the radiative forcing contribution from these climate-sensitive ecosystems. Permafrost peatlands may be a mosaic of dry frozen hummocks, semi-thawed or perched sphagnum dominated areas, wet permafrost-free sedge dominated sites and open water ponds. We revisited estimates of climate forcing made for 1970 and 2000 for Stordalen Mire in northern Sweden and found the trend of increasing forcing continued into 2014. The Mire continued to transition from dry permafrost to sedge and open water areas, increasing by 100% and 35%, respectively, over the 45-year period, causing the net radiative forcing of Stordalen Mire to shift from negative to positive. This trend is driven by transitioning vegetation community composition, improved estimates of annual CO 2 and CH 4 exchange and a 22% increase in the IPCC's 100-year global warming potential (GWP_100) value for CH 4 . These results indicate that discontinuous permafrost ecosystems, while still remaining a net overall sink of C, can become a positive feedback to climate change on decadal timescales. This article is part of a discussion meeting issue ‘Rising methane: is warming feeding warming? (part 2)’. 
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  5. null (Ed.)
    Cold seeps and hydrothermal vents are seafloor habitats fueled by subsurface energy sources. Both habitat types coexist in Guaymas Basin in the Gulf of California, providing an opportunity to compare microbial communities with distinct physiologies adapted to different thermal regimes. Hydrothermally active sites in the southern Guaymas Basin axial valley, and cold seep sites at Octopus Mound, a carbonate mound with abundant methanotrophic cold seep fauna at the Central Seep location on the northern off-axis flanking regions, show consistent geochemical and microbial differences between hot, temperate, cold seep, and background sites. The changing microbial actors include autotrophic and heterotrophic bacterial and archaeal lineages that catalyze sulfur, nitrogen, and methane cycling, organic matter degradation, and hydrocarbon oxidation. Thermal, biogeochemical, and microbiological characteristics of the sampling locations indicate that sediment thermal regime and seep-derived or hydrothermal energy sources structure the microbial communities at the sediment surface. 
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  6. Abstract

    Methane (CH4) release to the atmosphere from thawing permafrost contributes significantly to global CH4emissions. However, constraining the effects of thaw that control the production and emission of CH4is needed to anticipate future Arctic emissions. Here are presented robust rate measurements of CH4production and cycling in a region of rapidly degrading permafrost. Big Trail Lake, located in central Alaska, is a young, actively expanding thermokarst lake. The lake was investigated by taking two 1 m cores of sediment from different regions. Two independent methods of measuring microbial CH4 production, long term (CH4accumulation) and short term (14C tracer), produced similar average rates of 11 ± 3.5 and 9 ± 3.6 nmol cm−3 d−1, respectively. The rates had small variations between the different lithological units, indicating homogeneous CH4production despite heterogeneous lithology in the surface ~1 m of sediment. To estimate the total CH4production, the CH4production rates were multiplied through the 10–15 m deep talik (thaw bulb). This estimate suggests that CH4 production is higher than emission by a maximum factor of ~2, which is less than previous estimates. Stable and radioactive carbon isotope measurements showed that 50% of dissolved CH4in the first meter was produced further below. Interestingly, labeled14C incubations with 2‐14C acetate and14C CO2indicate that variations in the pathway used by microbes to produce CH4depends on the age and type of organic matter in the sediment, but did not appear to influence the rates at which CH4 was produced. This study demonstrates that at least half of the CH4produced by microbial breakdown of organic matter in actively expanding thermokarst is emitted to the atmosphere, and that the majority of this CH4is produced in the deep sediment.

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