Tracking Methane Emissions from Arctic Tundra
The Arctic tundra is a cold, desert-like biome, with a layer of permanently frozen soil and organic matter below the surface containing vast stocks of carbon. As Arctic tundra soils warm in response to
Emissions of methane in the cold season are linked to the extended “zero curtain” period, when subsurface soil temperatures are poised near 0°Celsius, indicating that total emissions are very sensitive to soil conditions and related factors, such as snow depth. The dominance of late-season emissions, sensitivity to soil environmental conditions, and importance of dry tundra are not currently simulated in most global climate models. Because Arctic warming disproportionately impacts the cold season, results suggest that higher cold-season methane emissions will result from observed and predicted increases in snow thickness, active-layer depth, and soil temperature, representing important positive feedbacks on climate warming.