Quantifying landscape-level methane fluxes in subarctic Finland using a multiscale approach
Global Change Biology
© 2015 The Authors. Global Change Biology Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited
Quantifying landscape-scale methane (CH<inf>4</inf>) fluxes from boreal and arctic regions, and determining how they are controlled, is critical for predicting the magnitude of any CH<inf>4</inf> emission feedback to climate change. Furthermore, there remains uncertainty regarding the relative importance of small areas of strong methanogenic activity, vs. larger areas with net CH<inf>4</inf> uptake, in controlling landscape-level fluxes. We measured CH<inf>4</inf> fluxes from multiple microtopographical subunits (sedge-dominated lawns, interhummocks and hummocks) within an aapa mire in subarctic Finland, as well as in drier ecosystems present in the wider landscape, lichen heath and mountain birch forest. An intercomparison was carried out between fluxes measured using static chambers, up-scaled using a high-resolution landcover map derived from aerial photography and eddy covariance. Strong agreement was observed between the two methodologies, with emission rates greatest in lawns. CH<inf>4</inf> fluxes from lawns were strongly related to seasonal fluctuations in temperature, but their floating nature meant that water-table depth was not a key factor in controlling CH<inf>4</inf> release. In contrast, chamber measurements identified net CH<inf>4</inf> uptake in birch forest soils. An intercomparison between the aerial photography and satellite remote sensing demonstrated that quantifying the distribution of the key CH<inf>4</inf> emitting and consuming plant communities was possible from satellite, allowing fluxes to be scaled up to a 100 km<sup>2</sup> area. For the full growing season (May to October), ~ 1.1-1.4 g CH<inf>4</inf> m<sup>-2</sup> was released across the 100 km<sup>2</sup> area. This was based on up-scaled lawn emissions of 1.2-1.5 g CH<inf>4</inf> m<sup>-2</sup>, vs. an up-scaled uptake of 0.07-0.15 g CH<inf>4</inf> m<sup>-2</sup> by the wider landscape. Given the strong temperature sensitivity of the dominant lawn fluxes, and the fact that lawns are unlikely to dry out, climate warming may substantially increase CH<inf>4</inf> emissions in northern Finland, and in aapa mire regions in general.
This work was carried out within the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) funded Arctic Biosphere Atmosphere Coupling at Multiple Scales (ABACUS) project (a contribution to International Polar Year 2007_2008) plus NERC small grant NE/F010222/1 awarded to RB and BH. We are grateful for the support of the staff at the Kevo Subarctic Research Institute, to David Sayer for operation and maintenance of the eddy covariance apparatus, and to Lorna English for helping with the analysis of the CH4 samples. We also thank the NERC Field Spectroscopy Facility for support in ground data collection for the remote sensing analysis. Finally, we wish to express our gratitude to two anonymous reviewers whose comments and suggestions substantially improved the manuscript.
Vol. 21, pp. 3712-3725