Global wetland contribution to 2000–2012 atmospheric methane growth rate dynamics

Poulter, Benjamin; Bousquet, Philippe; Canadell, Josep G; Ciais, Philippe; Peregon, Anna; Saunois, Marielle; Arora, Vivek K; Beerling, David J; Brovkin, Victor; Jones, Chris D; Joos, Fortunat; Gedney, Nicola; Ito, Akihito; Kleinen, Thomas; Koven, Charles D; McDonald, Kyle; Melton, Joe R; Peng, Changhui; Peng, Shushi; Prigent, Catherine; ... (2017). Global wetland contribution to 2000–2012 atmospheric methane growth rate dynamics. Environmental Research Letters, 12(9), 094013. IOP Publishing 10.1088/1748-9326/aa8391

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Increasing atmospheric methane (CH₄) concentrations have contributed to approximately 20% of anthropogenic climate change. Despite the importance of CH₄ as a greenhouse gas, its atmospheric growth rate and dynamics over the past two decades, which include a stabilization period (1999–2006), followed by renewed growth starting in 2007, remain poorly understood. We provide an updated estimate of CH₄ emissions from wetlands, the largest natural global CH₄ source, for 2000–2012 using an ensemble of biogeochemical models constrained with remote sensing surface inundation and inventory-based wetland area data. Between 2000–2012, boreal wetland CH4 emissions increased by 1.2 Tg yr⁻¹ (−0.2–3.5 Tg yr⁻¹), tropical emissions decreased by 0.9 Tg yr⁻¹ (−3.2−1.1 Tg yr⁻¹), yet globally, emissions remained unchanged at 184 ± 22 Tg yr⁻¹. Changing air temperature was responsible for increasing high-latitude emissions whereas declines in low-latitude wetland area decreased tropical emissions; both dynamics are consistent with features of predicted centennial-scale climate change impacts on wetland CH₄ emissions. Despite uncertainties in wetland area mapping, our study shows that global wetland CH₄ emissions have not contributed significantly to the period of renewed atmospheric CH₄ growth, and is consistent with findings from studies that indicate some combination of increasing fossil fuel and agriculture-related CH₄ emissions, and a decrease in the atmospheric oxidative sink.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute > Climate and Environmental Physics
10 Strategic Research Centers > Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research (OCCR)

UniBE Contributor:

Joos, Fortunat, Spahni, Renato


500 Science > 530 Physics




IOP Publishing




Doris Rätz

Date Deposited:

22 Nov 2017 12:43

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:07

Publisher DOI:





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