31 Jan 2014
 | 31 Jan 2014
Status: this preprint was under review for the journal ACP but the revision was not accepted.

Analysis of the global atmospheric methane budget using ECHAM-MOZ simulations for present-day, pre-industrial time and the Last Glacial Maximum

A. Basu, M. G. Schultz, S. Schröder, L. Francois, X. Zhang, G. Lohmann, and T. Laepple

Abstract. Atmospheric methane concentrations increased considerably from pre-industrial (PI) to present times largely due to anthropogenic emissions. However, firn and ice core records also document a notable rise of methane levels between the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) and the pre-industrial era, the exact cause of which is not entirely clear. This study investigates these changes by analyzing the methane sources and sinks at each of these climatic periods. Wetlands are the largest natural source of methane and play a key role in determining methane budget changes in particular in the absence of anthropogenic sources. Here, a simple wetland parameterization suitable for coarse-scale climate simulations over long periods is introduced, which is derived from a high-resolution map of surface slopes together with various soil hydrology parameters from the CARAIB vegetation model. This parameterization was implemented in the chemistry general circulation model ECHAM5-MOZ and multi-year time slices were run for LGM, PI and present-day (PD) climate conditions. Global wetland emissions from our parameterization are 72 Tg yr−1 (LGM), 115 Tg yr−1 (PI), and 132 Tg yr−1 (PD). These estimates are lower than most previous studies, and we find a stronger increase of methane emissions between LGM and PI. Taking into account recent findings that suggest more stable OH concentrations than assumed in previous studies, the observed methane distributions are nevertheless well reproduced under the different climates. Hence, this is one of the first studies where a consistent model approach has been successfully applied for simulating methane concentrations over a wide range of climate conditions.

A. Basu et al.

A. Basu et al.

A. Basu et al.


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