EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

From Archaea to the atmosphere: linking above and belowground communities to scale methane and isotopic emissions across the Arctic

Ruth Varner1, Patrick Crill2, McKenzie Kuhn1, Dylan Cronin5, Michael Palace1, Carmody McCalley3, Sophia Burke1, Jia Deng1, Scott Saleska4, Virginia Rich5, and the A2A and EMERGE project teams*
Ruth Varner et al.
  • 1Department of Earth Sciences and Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans and Space, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH USA
  • 2Department of Geological Sciences, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden (
  • 3Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY USA (
  • 4University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA (
  • 5The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA
  • *A full list of authors appears at the end of the abstract

High latitude peatlands are a significant source of atmospheric methane. Production, consumption and emission rates are spatially and temporally heterogeneous, resulting in a wide range of global estimates for the atmospheric budget of methane. Increasing temperatures in Arctic regions cause degradation of underlying permafrost, changing hydrology, vegetation and microbial communities, but the consequences of this for methane cycling, including stable methane isotopes, are poorly understood. We provide evidence of direct linkages between below ground methanogen communities and above ground plant communities that can be remotely sensed and used in model simulations to effectively predict methane and isotopic fluxes across the landscape. Combining remote sensing with biogeochemical modeling can be used to predict methane dynamics, including the fraction derived from hydrogenotrophic versus acetoclastic microbial methanogenesis. Applying this approach across heterogeneous discontinuous permafrost peatlands enables us to accurately predict isotopic emissions, which will help constrain the global role of Arctic methane emissions.

A2A and EMERGE project teams:

Christina Herrick Kellen McArthur Jessica DelGreco Ben Bolduc Yueh-Fen Li Changsheng Li Steve Frolking Gene W. Tyson Jeff P. Chanton Andreas Persson

How to cite: Varner, R., Crill, P., Kuhn, M., Cronin, D., Palace, M., McCalley, C., Burke, S., Deng, J., Saleska, S., and Rich, V. and the A2A and EMERGE project teams: From Archaea to the atmosphere: linking above and belowground communities to scale methane and isotopic emissions across the Arctic, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-11027,, 2023.