, Volume 21, Issue 2, pp 117–139 | Cite as

Methane emission from Arctic tundra

  • Torben R. Christensen


Concerns about a possible feedback effect on global warming following possible increased emissions of methane from tundra environments have lead to series of methane flux studies of northern wetland/tundra environments. Most of these studies have been carried out in boreal sub-Arctic regions using different techniques and means of assessing representativeness of the tundra. Here are reported a time series of CH4 flux measurements from a true Arctic tundra site. A total of 528 independent observations were made at 22 fixed sites during the summers of 1991 and 1992. The data are fully comparable to the most extensive dataset yet produced on methane emissions from sub-Arctic tundra-like environments. Based on the data presented, from a thaw-season with approximately 55% of normal precipitation, a global tundra CH4 source of 18–30 Tg CH4 yr−1 is estimated. This is within the range of 42±26 Tg CH4 yr−1 found in a similar sub-Arctic tundra environment. No single-parameter relationship between one environmental factor and CH4 flux covering all sites was found. This is also in line with conclusions drawn in the sub-Arctic. However, inter-season variations in CH4 flux at dry sites were largely controlled by the position of the water table, while flux from wetter sites seemed mainly to be controlled by soil temperature.

Key words

Arctic tundra climatic change methane budget methane emission 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Torben R. Christensen
    • 1
  1. 1.Scott Polar Research InstituteUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeEngland

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