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Global Climate Change DigestArchives of the
Global Climate Change Digest

A Guide to Information on Greenhouse Gases and Ozone Depletion
Published July 1988 through June 1999

FROM VOLUME 5, NUMBER 5, MAY 1992

PROFESSIONAL PUBLICATIONS...
THE METHANE BUDGET


Item #d92may52

"Importance of Methane-Oxidizing Bacteria in the Methane Budget as Revealed by the Use of a Specific Inhibitor," R.S. Oremland (U.S. Geol. Survey, 345 Middlefield Rd., Menlo Pk. CA 94025), C.W. Culbertson, Nature, 356(6368), 421-423, Apr. 2, 1992.

While much has been learned about the ecology of methane-generating bacteria, ecological investigations of methane-oxidizing (methanotrophic) bacteria have been hampered by the lack of a specific inhibitor for them. Using methylfluoride as an inhibitor in field investigations showed that methanotrophic bacteria can consume more than 90% of the methane potentially available.


Item #d92may53

Two items from J. Geophys. Res., 97(D4), Mar. 20, 1992:

"A Source Inventory for Atmospheric Methane in New Zealand and Its Global Perspective," K.R. Lassey (Dept. Sci. Res., Nuclear Sci. Group, POB 31 312, Lower Hutt, New Zealand), D.C. Lowe, M.R. Manning, 3751-3765.

Estimates an aggregate source of 1.3-2.2 Tg/yr, nearly all caused by human modification of the environment and dominated by methane from ruminant farmed livestock. At about 0.3% of global emissions, New Zealand is a disproportionately large source on a per capita or land area basis, or compared to its share of CO2 emissions.

"Low Boreal Wetlands as a Source of Atmospheric Methane," N.T. Roulet (Dept. Geog., York Univ., N. York, Ont. M3J 1P3, Can.), R. Ash, T.R. Moore, 3739-3749.

A regional survey based on 24 sites in Ontario shows that the significant emitters are beaver ponds, thicket swamps and bogs. Moisture saturation is a key determinant of high emissions. Calculates that the low boreal region of Canada contributes about 0.15 Tg/yr to the atmosphere, an order of magnitude lower than the estimate of Aselmann and Crutzen (1989).


Item #d92may54

"Methane Transport and Oxidation in the Unsaturated Zone of a Sphagnum Peatland," E.J. Fechner (Parsons Lab., 48-419, Mass. Inst. Technol., Cambridge MA 02139), H.F. Hemond, Global Biogeochem. Cycles, 6(1), 33-44, Mar. 1992. Demonstrates successful measurement of efflux and oxidation rates using a gradient method which does not change in situ conditions.


Item #d92may55

"Atmospheric Methane and Sulphur Compounds at a Remote Central Canadian Location," L. Barrie (Atmos. Environ. Service, 4905 Dufferin St., Downsview, Ont. M3H 5T4, Can.), B. Ahier et al., Atmos. Environ., 26A(5), 907-925, 1992.

Summer and fall measurements were made to compare potentially biogenic constituents in air from a boreal forest and wetland region to the north with those in air from a polluted region to the south. Methane concentrations did not differ, but variability was higher for the southern sector.


Item #d92may56

"Evaluation of a Closed-Chamber Method for Estimating Methane Emissions from Aquatic Plants," A.K. Knapp (Div. Biol., Ackert Hall, Kansas State Univ., Manhattan KS 66506), J.B. Yavitt, Tellus, 44B(1), 63-71, Feb. 1992.

Monitoring of environmental and plant physiologic responses to closed chambers indicates that only very short enclosure times should be used with closed chambers when measuring methane emissions.


Item #d92may57

Two items from Appl. Energy, 41(2), 1992:

"Methane: A Greenhouse Gas in the Earth's Atmosphere," O. Badr (Dept. Appl. Energy, Cranfield Inst. Technol., Bedford MK43 0AL, UK), S.D. Probert, P.W. O'Callaghan, 95-113. Gives a history of methane in the Earth's atmosphere, together with its distribution over latitude, altitude and the seasons.

"Sinks for Atmospheric Methane," O. Badr (address above), S.D. Probert, P.W. O'Callaghan, 137-147. Characterizes sinks and their estimated strengths; discusses the role of methane in atmospheric chemistry.


Item #d92may58

"Origins of Atmospheric Methane," O. Badr (address above), S.D. Probert, P.W. O'Callaghan, ibid., 40(3), 189-231, 1991.

Identifies the individual sources of methane and available emission rates. About 80% of methane is produced biologically, while 50% of the present sources are anthropogenic. Measurements are needed to further refine poor emission estimates.


Item #d92may59

"Tropical Wetland Sources," F.A. Street-Perrott (Environ. Change Unit, Univ. Oxford, Mansfield Rd., Oxford OX1 3TB), Nature, 355 (6355), 23-24, Jan. 2, 1992. Discusses a recent paper by Petit-Maire et al. (Paleogeogr., Palaeoclimat. Palaeoecol., 86, 197-204, 1991), which suggests that tropical wetlands have been the leading influence on variations of atmospheric methane over the past 160,000 years.


Item #d92may60

"Methane Flux to the Atmosphere from the Arabian Sea," N.J.P. Owens (Plymouth Marine Lab., Prospect Pl., The Hoe, Plymouth PL1 3DH, UK), C.S. Law et al., Nature, 354(6351), 293-296, Nov. 28, 1991.

Reports high concentrations of methane in the Arabian Sea, and calculates that the flux to the atmosphere is up to five times greater than the previously reported ocean average. High production is associated with monsoon-driven phytoplankton upwelling, suggesting that this region may have a great potential for feedback response under climate change.


Item #d92may61

Two items from Global Biogeochem. Cycles, 5(4), Dec. 1991:

"Seasonal Patterns of Methane Uptake and Carbon Dioxide Release by a Temperate Woodland Soil," P.M. Crill (Inst. Study of Earth, Univ. New Hampshire, Durham NH 03824), 319-334.

In a drained upland, mixed hardwood forest, methane was always taken up by soil after spring thaw. There was a negative correlation between soil methane and CO2 concentrations. Methane uptake was related to biological activity in a complicated manner depending on the season.

"Methane Emission from Rice Fields as Influenced by Solar Radiation, Temperature and Straw Incorporation," R.L. Sass (Dept. Ecol., Rice Univ., Houston TX 77251), F.M. Fisher et al., 335-350.

Texas rice fields were planted on different dates, with grass straw incorporated into half of each field. Methane emission rates varied markedly with planting date and straw addition. Highest rates were found in the earliest-planted, straw-supplemented field.


Item #d92may62

Two items from ibid., 5(3), Sept. 1991:

"Mitigation of Methane Emissions from Rice Fields: Possible Adverse Effects of Incorporated Rice Straw," R.L. Sass (addr. above), F.M. Fisher et al., 275-288.

Data from a two-year study on different soil types suggest that minimizing incorporation of crop residue prior to planting can decrease methane emission from flooded rice and reduce the potential for yield loss, particularly in soils with low rates of seepage and percolation.

"Methane Consumption and Emission by Taiga," S.C. Whalen, W.S. Reeburgh (Inst. Marine Sci., Univ. Alaska, Fairbanks AK 99775), K.S. Kizer, 261-274.

A one-year study of fluxes at a range of representative floodplain and upland taiga sites show that soil consumption of atmospheric methane is the dominant process. Results suggest upland and floodplain taiga soils are a methane sink of up to 0.8 Tg/yr; point-source bogs and fens are the only important emitting sites in taiga.

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