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Land atmosphere exchange of carbon dioxide and methane in a high-Arctic wet tundra ecosystem

There is an increasing trend in the average global air temperature, and the trend is most likely a result of the increase in atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases. There has been a large increase in global mean air temperature since the industrial revolution, and it is projected to increase an additional 1.8-4.0 °C in the coming century. However, the temperature increase is not uniformly distributed across the world and the increase both have been, and is projected to be stronger in the Polar Regions.

The tower measuring the exchange of methane and carbon dioxide in North Eastern Greenland. Photo: Torbern Tagesson.
The tower measuring the exchange of methane and carbon dioxide in North Eastern Greenland. Photo: Torbern Tagesson.


Approximately 50% of the soil organic carbon is today stored in the northern permafrost regions. This is more carbon than is stored in the entire atmosphere and all vegetation across the world, added together. Arctic areas are fragile to climate change, and large effects of the climate warming are already seen. The focus of this project is to study the exchange of carbon between the land and the atmosphere in a high Arctic wet tundra ecosystem in North Eastern Greenland.

By combining field measurements of photosynthesis with satellite images, we have seen that there has been a strong increase in photosynthesis by the vegetation in this high Arctic wet tundra ecosystem 1992-2008. The increase in photosynthesis came with a strong increase in CO2 concentration and air temperature. Possibly, indicating that these were the main factors resulting in the increased photosynthesis.

In a second project, we related field measured methane emissions to climatic variables, to see what factors that affect the methane emissions in high Arctic areas. During summer, it could be seen that methane emissions were closely related to soil temperature. Between years, it was closely related to amount of soil water. The measured methane emissions were also combined with satellite images, to see if there have been any changes in the methane emissions 1997-2009. There were large differences in methane emissions between years, but no trend 1997-2009 was seen. The differences between the years were explained by interannual variation in wetness of the area.




Torbern Tagesson

Meelis Mölder

Mikhail Mastepanov

Julie M. Falk

Mikkel P. Tamstorf

Charlotte Sigsgaard

Magnus Lund

Lars Eklundh

Anna Ekberg

Anders Lindroth

Torben R. Christensen

Lena Ström


Contact point:  Torben R. Christensen

torben.christensen [at]

LUCCI - Lund University Centre for studies of Carbon Cycle and Climate Interactions

Department of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science

Lund University

Sölvegatan 12

S-223 62 Lund, Sweden