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Carbon dioxide and methane flux in a dynamic Arctic tundra landscape: Decadal‐scale impacts of ice wedge degradation and stabilization

November 2, 2020

Ice wedge degradation is a widespread occurrence across the circumpolar Arctic causing extreme spatial heterogeneity in water distribution, vegetation, and energy balance across landscapes. These heterogeneities influence carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) fluxes, yet there is little understanding of how they effect change in landscape‐level carbon (C) gas flux over time. We measured CO2 and CH4 fluxes in an area undergoing ice wedge degradation near Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, and combined with repeat imagery analysis to estimate seasonal landscape‐level C flux response to geomorphic change. Net CO2 and CH4 emissions changed by −25% and +42%, respectively, resulting in a 14% increase in seasonal CO2‐C equivalent emissions over 69 years as ice wedge degradation formed water‐filled troughs. The dynamic ice wedge degradation/stabilization process can cause significant changes in CO2 and CH4 fluxes over time, and the integration of this process is important to forecasting landscape‐level C fluxes in permafrost regions abundant in ice wedges.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2020
Title Carbon dioxide and methane flux in a dynamic Arctic tundra landscape: Decadal‐scale impacts of ice wedge degradation and stabilization
DOI 10.1029/2020GL089894
Authors Kimberly P. Wickland, M.Torre Jorgenson, Joshua C. Koch, Mikhail Z. Kanevskiy, Robert G. Striegl
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Geophysical Research Letters
Series Number
Index ID 70216560
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization WMA - Earth System Processes Division

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