Interaction of the methane cycle and processes in wetland ecosystems in a climate model of intermediate complexity

  • A. V. Eliseev
  • I. I. Mokhov
  • M. M. Arzhanov
  • P. F. Demchenko
  • S. N. Denisov


The climate model of the Institute of Atmospheric Physics of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IAP RAS CM) has been supplemented with a module of soil thermal physics and the methane cycle, which takes into account the response of methane emissions from wetland ecosystems to climate changes. Methane emissions are allowed only from unfrozen top layers of the soil, with an additional constraint in the depth of the simulated layer. All wetland ecosystems are assumed to be water-saturated. The molar amount of the methane oxidized in the atmosphere is added to the simulated atmospheric concentration of CO2. A control preindustrial experiment and a series of numerical experiments for the 17th–21st centuries were conducted with the model forced by greenhouse gases and tropospheric sulfate aerosols. It is shown that the IAP RAS CM generally reproduces preindustrial and current characteristics of both seasonal thawing/freezing of the soil and the methane cycle. During global warming in the 21st century, the permafrost area is reduced by four million square kilometers. By the end of the 21st century, methane emissions from wetland ecosystems amount to 130–140 Mt CH4/year for the preindustrial and current period increase to 170–200 MtCH4/year. In the aggressive anthropogenic forcing scenario A2, the atmospheric methane concentration grows steadily to ≈3900 ppb. In more moderate scenarios A1B and B1, the methane concentration increases until the mid-21st century, reaching ≈2100–2400 ppb, and then decreases. Methane oxidation in air results in a slight additional growth of the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide. Allowance for the interaction between processes in wetland ecosystems and the methane cycle in the IAP RAS CM leads to an additional atmospheric methane increase of 10–20% depending on the anthropogenic forcing scenario and the time. The causes of this additional increase are the temperature dependence of integral methane production and the longer duration of a warm period in the soil. However, the resulting enhancement of the instantaneous greenhouse radiative forcing of atmospheric methane and an increase in the mean surface air temperature are small (globally < 0.1 W/m2 and 0.05 K, respectively).


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Copyright information

© MAIK Nauka 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. V. Eliseev
    • 1
  • I. I. Mokhov
    • 1
  • M. M. Arzhanov
    • 1
  • P. F. Demchenko
    • 1
  • S. N. Denisov
    • 1
  1. 1.Oboukhov Institute of Atmospheric PhysicsRussian Academy of SciencesMoscowRussia

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