Articles | Volume 11, issue 7
Research article
01 Apr 2014
Research article |  | 01 Apr 2014

Spatial scale-dependent land–atmospheric methane exchanges in the northern high latitudes from 1993 to 2004

X. Zhu, Q. Zhuang, X. Lu, and L. Song

Abstract. Effects of various spatial scales of water table dynamics on land–atmospheric methane (CH4) exchanges have not yet been assessed for large regions. Here we used a coupled hydrology–biogeochemistry model to quantify daily CH4 exchanges over the pan-Arctic from 1993 to 2004 at two spatial scales of 100 km and 5 km. The effects of sub-grid spatial variability of the water table depth (WTD) on CH4 emissions were examined with a TOPMODEL-based parameterization scheme for the northern high latitudes. We found that both WTD and CH4 emissions are better simulated at a 5 km spatial resolution. By considering the spatial heterogeneity of WTD, net regional CH4 emissions at a 5 km resolution are 38.1–55.4 Tg CH4 yr−1 from 1993 to 2004, which are on average 42% larger than those simulated at a 100 km resolution using a grid-cell-mean WTD scheme. The difference in annual CH4 emissions is attributed to the increased emitting area and enhanced flux density with finer resolution for WTD. Further, the inclusion of sub-grid WTD spatial heterogeneity also influences the inter-annual variability of CH4 emissions. Soil temperature plays an important role in the 100 km estimates, while the 5 km estimates are mainly influenced by WTD. This study suggests that previous macro-scale biogeochemical models using a grid-cell-mean WTD scheme might have underestimated the regional CH4 emissions. The spatial scale-dependent effects of WTD should be considered in future quantification of regional CH4 emissions.

Final-revised paper