Articles | Volume 13, issue 16
Biogeosciences, 13, 4615–4626, 2016
Biogeosciences, 13, 4615–4626, 2016

Research article 16 Aug 2016

Research article | 16 Aug 2016

Mapping of West Siberian taiga wetland complexes using Landsat imagery: implications for methane emissions

Irina Evgenievna Terentieva1,*, Mikhail Vladimirovich Glagolev1,3,4,5, Elena Dmitrievna Lapshina3, Alexandr Faritovich Sabrekov2, and Shamil Maksyutov6 Irina Evgenievna Terentieva et al.
  • 1Laboratory of Computational Geophysics, Tomsk State University, Tomsk, 643050, Russia
  • 2BIO-GEO-CLIM Laboratory, Tomsk State University, Tomsk, 643050, Russia
  • 3UNESCO Department 'Environmental Dynamics and Global Climate Changes', Yugra State University, Khanty-Mansiysk, 628012, Russia
  • 4Institute of Forest Science Russian Academy of Sciences, Uspenskoe, 143030, Russia
  • 5Faculty of Soil Science, Moscow State University, Moscow, 119992, Russia
  • 6Center for Global Environmental Research, National Institute for Environmental Studies, Tsukuba, 305-8506, Japan
  • *previously published under the name I. E. Kleptsova

Abstract. High-latitude wetlands are important for understanding climate change risks because these environments sink carbon dioxide and emit methane. However, fine-scale heterogeneity of wetland landscapes poses a serious challenge when generating regional-scale estimates of greenhouse gas fluxes from point observations. In order to reduce uncertainties at the regional scale, we mapped wetlands and water bodies in the taiga zone of The West Siberia Lowland (WSL) on a scene-by-scene basis using a supervised classification of Landsat imagery. Training data consist of high-resolution images and extensive field data collected at 28 test areas. The classification scheme aims at supporting methane inventory applications and includes seven wetland ecosystem types comprising nine wetland complexes distinguishable at the Landsat resolution. To merge typologies, mean relative areas of wetland ecosystems within each wetland complex type were estimated using high-resolution images. Accuracy assessment based on 1082 validation polygons of 10  ×  10 pixel size indicated an overall map accuracy of 79 %. The total area of the WSL wetlands and water bodies was estimated to be 52.4 Mha or 4–12 % of the global wetland area. Ridge-hollow complexes prevail in WSL's taiga zone accounting for 33 % of the total wetland area, followed by pine bogs or “ryams” (23 %), ridge-hollow-lake complexes (16 %), open fens (8 %), palsa complexes (7 %), open bogs (5 %), patterned fens (4 %), and swamps (4 %). Various oligotrophic environments are dominant among wetland ecosystems, while poor fens cover only 14 % of the area. Because of the significant change in the wetland ecosystem coverage in comparison to previous studies, a considerable reevaluation of the total CH4 emissions from the entire region is expected. A new Landsat-based map of WSL's taiga wetlands provides a benchmark for validation of coarse-resolution global land cover products and wetland data sets in high latitudes.

Short summary
West Siberia (WS) wetlands are the world’s largest high-latitude wetland system. WS methane emission estimates suffered from large uncertainty due to high emission rate variability across the wetland vegetation cover. We mapped WS taiga zone wetlands with Landsat imagery and applied wetland typology specifically developed to reflect heterogeneity of methane fluxes. The map provides a benchmark for validation of coarse-resolution land cover products and wetland data sets in high latitudes.
Final-revised paper