Articles | Volume 18, issue 24
Research article
17 Dec 2018
Research article |  | 17 Dec 2018

Detecting changes in Arctic methane emissions: limitations of the inter-polar difference of atmospheric mole fractions

Oscar B. Dimdore-Miles, Paul I. Palmer, and Lori P. Bruhwiler

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Cited articles

AMAP: AMAP Assessment 2015: Methane as an Arctic climate forcer, Tech. rep., Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP), Oslo, Norway, 2015. a, b
Bergamaschi, P., Krol, M., Dentener, F., Vermeulen, A., Meinhardt, F., Graul, R., Ramonet, M., Peters, W., and Dlugokencky, E. J.: Inverse modelling of national and European CH4 emissions using the atmospheric zoom model TM5, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 5, 2431–2460,, 2005. a
Bruhwiler, L.: NOAA, TM5 model runs in support of Dimdore-Miles et al., 2018, available at:, last access: 14 December 2018. 
Bruhwiler, L., Dlugokencky, E., Masarie, K., Ishizawa, M., Andrews, A., Miller, J., Sweeney, C., Tans, P., and Worthy, D.: CarbonTracker-CH4: an assimilation system for estimating emissions of atmospheric methane, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 14, 8269–8293,, 2014. a, b
Christensen, T. R., Johansson, T., Åkerman, J., Mastepanov, M., Malmer, N., Friborg, T., Crill, P., and Svensson, B. H.: Thawing sub-arctic permafrost: Effects on vegetation and methane emissions, Geophys. Res. Lett., 31, L04501,, 2004. a
Short summary
The Arctic is experiencing warming trends higher than the global mean. Arctic ecosystems are a large store of carbon. As the soil organic carbon thaws and decomposes, some fraction of this store will eventually be released to the atmosphere as methane. We show that a previously used measurement-based metric to identify changes in Arctic methane emissions does not reliably quantify these changes because it neglects the effect of atmospheric transport. A better metric will combine data and models.
Final-revised paper