Do Russian peatlands dominate the European methane budget?

Julia Schneider1, Ulrike Wolf2, Peter Schreiber3, Mikhail Miglovets4, Oleg Mikhaylov4, Maria Lukasheva4, Hermann Jungkunst1, Lars Kutzbach3, Dennis Grunwald5, Stefan Erasmi6, Martin Wilmking7
1 Institute for Environmental Sciences, University of Koblenz-Landau
2 Thünen Institute of Climate-Smart Agriculture
3 Institute of Soil Science, University of Hamburg
4 Institute of Biology, Komi Science Centre, Russian Academy of Sciences
5 Department of Environmental Chemistry, University of Kassel
6 Institute of Geography, Georg-August University of Göttingen
7 Institute of Botany and Landscape Ecology, Ernst Moritz Arndt University Greifswald

O 3.7 in Fluxes between the atmosphere and ecosystems

17.07.2014, 15:50-16:10, H17

Methane (CH4) emissions of boreal peatlands measured by closed chamber technique have previously been reported from Alaska, Canada, Scandinavia, and Western Siberia, but not from the European part of the Russian Federation, which is covered by vast areas of peatlands (6 % of the total surface area). To help to fill this research gap, CH4 emissions were measured during a period of one year from March 2008 to February 2009 in a boreal peatland (61°56'N, 50°13'E) in the Komi Republic, European Russia using the closed chamber technique. Additionally, soil water for analysis of dissolved CH4 and dissolved organic carbon was sampled once per month. Further closed chamber measurements were conducted during the summers 2011 and 2013.

While winter fluxes were well within the range of what has been reported for the peatlands of boreal regions before, the summer fluxes of 2008 exceeded by far the average of 5-80 mg CH4 m-2d-1 for the boreal zone, as about the half of the measured fluxes ranged between 150 and 450 mg CH4 m-2d-1. Extraordinary peaks above 1000 mg m-2 d-1 were also identified. There was no evidence that high or low CH4 surface fluxes coincided with high or low values of dissolved CH4 in the soil water.

In statistical terms, the environmental conditions during the year 2008 were normal, the air temperature and the precipitation did not show strong deviations from the long term mean. In contrast, the summers of the years 2011 and 2013 were up to 2 °C warmer and noticeable drier than the long term mean. These conditions led to even higher CH4 emissions, with peaks up to seven times higher than the values measured in 2008. Possible explanation for the extremely high fluxes at this site could be the constant ebullition

(steady stream of microbubbles, empirically inseparable from the diffusive flux) induced by water table decline combined with high CH4 production due to high soil temperatures.

These new data sets lead to the assumption that the Russian peatlands play an even more important role in the European CH4 budget than previously thought and should be included into the newest inventories. 

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last modified 2014-06-19