PRS Publications

Arctic soil methane sink increases with drier conditions and higher ecosystem respiration

Voigt, C., Virkkala, A., Hould Gosselin, G., Bennett, K. A., Black, T. A., Detto, M., Guggenberger, G., Hashmi, W., Kohl, L., Kou, D., Marquis, C., Marsh, P., Marushchak, M. E., Nesic, Z., Nykänen, H., Saarela, T., Sauheitl, L., Walker, B., Weiss, N., and O. Sonnentag. 2023.


Arctic wetlands are known methane (CH4) emitters but recent studies suggest that the Arctic CH4 sink strength may be underestimated. Here we explore the capacity of well-drained Arctic soils to consume atmospheric CH4 using >40,000 hourly flux observations and spatially distributed flux measurements from 4 sites and 14 surface types. While consumption of atmospheric CH4 occurred at all sites at rates of 0.092 ± 0.011 mgCH4m-2(mean ± s.e.), CH4 uptake displayed distinct diel and seasonal patterns reflecting ecosystem respiration. Combining in situ flux data with laboratory investigations and a machine learning approach, we find biotic drivers to be highly important. Soil moisture outweighed temperature as an abiotic control and higher CH4 uptake was linked to increased availability of labile carbon. Our findings imply that soil drying and enhanced nutrient supply will promote CH4 uptake by Arctic soils, providing a negative feedback to global climate change.