Wetland fluxnet synthesis for methane: understanding and predicting methane fluxes at daily to interannual timescales

Science Center Objects

Wetlands provide many important ecosystem services, including wildlife habitat, water purification, flood protection, and carbon metabolism. Our ability to manage these services and predict the long-term health of wetlands is strongly linked to their carbon fluxes, of which methane (CH4) is a key component. Natural wetlands emit approximately 30% of global CH4 emissions, as their waterlogged so...

Wetlands provide many important ecosystem services, including wildlife habitat, water purification, flood protection, and carbon metabolism. Our ability to manage these services and predict the long-term health of wetlands is strongly linked to their carbon fluxes, of which methane (CH4) is a key component. Natural wetlands emit approximately 30% of global CH4 emissions, as their waterlogged soils create ideal conditions for CH4 production. They are also the largest, and potentially most uncertain, natural source of CH4 to the atmosphere. To understand and predict CH4 fluxes across wetlands globally, we propose the first synthesis of CH4 flux tower data accompanying a global database of CH4 emissions. By taking advantage of the continuous and high-measurement frequency of flux measurements, our synthesis will provide novel insights into the controls and timing of wetland CH4 emissions for North America and globally. This database will also be used to parameterize and benchmark the performance of land-surface models of global CH4 emissions, providing a unique opportunity for informing and validating biogeochemical models. By developing the first global database of flux tower CH4 emissions and convening experts in CH4 flux measurements and modeling, we will 1) better characterize wetland carbon fluxes, 2) reduce uncertainties in the role of wetlands in the global CH4 cycle, and 3) provide metrics useful for safeguarding the many ecosystem services wetlands provide.



Additional support from the Moore Foundation.



Principal Investigator(s):

Rob Jackson (Stanford University)

Sara H Knox (Stanford University)

Lisamarie Windham-Myers (USGS Branch of Regional Research, Western Region)

Benjamin Poulter (National Aeronautics and Space Administration)



Publications:

Knox, S.H., Jackson, R.B, Poulter, B., et al. (2019) "FLUXNET-CH4 Synthesis Activity: Objectives, Observations, and Future Directions." Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society​. https://doi.org/10.1175/BAMS-D-18-0268.1