Published in PNAS: Cold season emissions dominate the Arctic tundra methane budget


Congratulations to Donatella Zona for getting this awesome paper published in PNAS, and even getting her photo on the cover of the issue.  This resulted from our NSF grant (Zona, Oechel and Lipson) to study the year-round methane budget of the Arctic Coastal Plain. This article was written up in the Washington Post and in the SDSU NewsCenter.

Here’s an excerpt:

Arctic ecosystems are major global sources of methane. We report that emissions during the cold season (September to May) contribute ≥50% of annual sources of methane from Alaskan tundra, based on fluxes obtained from eddy covariance sites and from regional fluxes calculated from aircraft data. The largest emissions were observed at the driest site (<5% in-
undation). Emissions of methane in the cold season are linked to the extended “zero curtain” period, where soil temperatures are poised near 0 °C, indicating that total emissions are very sensitive to soil climate and related factors, such as snow depth. The dominance of late season emissions, sensitivity to soil conditions, and importance of dry tundra are not currently simulated in most
global climate models.


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