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Hiatus of wetland methane emissions associated with recent La Niña episodes in the Asian monsoon region


The variability of methane emissions from wetlands in the tropics and northern temperate regions can explain more than 70% of the interannual variation in global wetland methane emissions, which are largely driven by climate variability. We use climate reanalysis, remote sensing wetland area dataset and simulations from 11 land models contributing to Global Methane Budget to investigate the interannual variation and anomalies of wetland methane emissions in the Asian Monsoon region. Methane emissions in this region steadily increased over 2000–2012. However, abnormally low methane emissions were found in equatorial fully humid (Af), warm temperate winter dry (Cw), and warm temperate fully humid (Cf) Asian Monsoon climate sub-regions in 2008, 2009 and 2011, respectively. These spatially-shifting low emissions occurred simultaneously with observed wetland area shrinkage due to abnormally low precipitation. Interannual variability of wetland methane emissions in Asian Monsoon region are primarily driven by South Asian Monsoon system. However, the abnormally low emissions are related to strong La Niña events, and its accompanying effect of weakened East Asian Monsoon system and eastward Western Pacific subtropical high, which drives the shifting pattern of rainfall, and thus the spatial pattern of methane emission anomalies.

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Data availability

The monthly mean 2-m tempereature from ECWMF is available at

The monthly total precipitation taken from GPCC is available at

MEI.v2 is available at mean Monsoon Index is available at

OLR flux from the fifth generation ECMWF reanalysis is available at!/dataset/reanalysis-era5-single-levels-monthly-means?tab=form.


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This study is funded by the National Key R&D Program of China (2018YFA0606002). We acknowledge the data providers, especially for simulations (listed in Table S2) of the wetland methane emissions contributed to Global Methane Budget Project (2000–2012).

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Correspondence to Xiyan Xu.

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Zhang, X., Xu, X., Jia, G. et al. Hiatus of wetland methane emissions associated with recent La Niña episodes in the Asian monsoon region. Clim Dyn 54, 4095–4107 (2020).

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