Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2021-256
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2021-256

  05 Oct 2021

05 Oct 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal BG.

Gaps in Network Infrastructure limit our understanding of biogenic methane emissions in the United States

Sparkle Malone1, Youmi Oh2, Kyle Arndt3, George Burba4,5, Roisin Commane6, Alexandra Contosta7, Jordan Goodrich8, Henry Loescher9,10, Gregory Starr11, and Ruth Varner3,12 Sparkle Malone et al.
  • 1Institute of the Environment & Department of Biological Sciences, Florida International University, 11200 S.W. 8th Street, Miami, FL 33199, USA
  • 2NOAA Global Monitoring Laboratory, Boulder, CO, 80305, USA
  • 3Earth Systems Research Center, Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space, University of New Hampshire, 8 College Rd, Durham, NH, 03824, USA
  • 4LI-COR Biosciences, 4421 Superior St., Lincoln, NE, 68504, USA
  • 5The Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute and School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE, 68583
  • 6Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, Palisades, NY 10964, USA
  • 7Earth Systems Research Center, Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space, University of New Hampshire, 8 College Rd, Durham, NH, 03824, USA
  • 8School of Science, University of Waikato, Gate 1 Knighton Rd, Hillcrest 3240, Hamilton, New Zealand
  • 9Battelle, National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON), Boulder, CO USA 80301
  • 10Institute of Alpine and Arctic Research, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO USA 80301
  • 11Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL. 35487, USA
  • 12Department of Earth Sciences, University of New Hampshire, 56 College Rd, Durham, NH, 03824, USA

Abstract. Understanding the sources and sinks of CH4 is critical to both predicting and mitigating future climate change. There are large uncertainties in the global budget of atmospheric CH4, but natural emissions are estimated to be of a similar magnitude to total anthropogenic emissions. The largest sources of uncertainty in scaling bottom-up CH4 estimates stem from limited ground-based measurements and the misalignment between drivers of CH4 fluxes and current land use classifications. To understand the CH4 flux potential of natural ecosystems and agricultural lands in the United States (US) of America, a multi-scale CH4 observation network focused on CH4 flux rates, processes, and scaling methods is required. This can be achieved with a network of ground-based observations that are distributed based on climatic regions and landcover. To determine the gaps in physical infrastructure for developing this network, we need to understand the representativeness of current measurements. We focus here on eddy covariance (EC) flux towers because they are essential for a bottom-up framework that bridges the gap between point-based chamber measurements and airborne or satellite platforms, informing the remote sensing and modelling communities and policy decisions, all the way to IPCC reports. Using multidimensional scaling and a cluster analysis, the US was divided into 10 clusters that were distributed across temperature and wetness gradients. We evaluated the distance to the medoid condition within each cluster for research sites with EC tower infrastructure to identify the gaps in existing infrastructure that limit our ability to constrain the contribution of US biogenic CH4 emissions to the global budget. These gaps occurred across all EC flux tower networks and independently managed sites as well as in some environmental clusters. Through our analysis using climate, land cover, and location variables, we have identified priority areas to target for research infrastructure to provide a more complete understanding of the CH4 flux potential of ecosystem types across the US.

Sparkle Malone et al.

Status: open (until 16 Nov 2021)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse

Sparkle Malone et al.

Sparkle Malone et al.

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Short summary
To understand the CH4 flux potential of natural ecosystems and agricultural lands in the United States (US) of America, a multi-scale CH4 observation network focused on CH4 flux rates, processes, and scaling methods is required. This can be achieved with a network of ground-based observations that are distributed based on climatic regions and landcover.
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