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Tradeoff of CO2 and CH4 emissions from global peatlands under water-table drawdown

Abstract : The climate impact of water-table drawdown in peatlands is unclear as carbon dioxide emissions increase and methane emissions decrease due to drying. This study shows decreasing water-table depth results in net greenhouse gas emissions from global peatlands, despite reducing methane emissions. Water-table drawdown across peatlands increases carbon dioxide (CO2) and reduces methane (CH4) emissions. The net climatic effect remains unclear. Based on global observations from 130 sites, we found a positive (warming) net climate effect of water-table drawdown. Using a machine-learning-based upscaling approach, we predict that peatland water-table drawdown driven by climate drying and human activities will increase CO2 emissions by 1.13 (95% interval: 0.88-1.50) Gt yr(-1) and reduce CH4 by 0.26 (0.14-0.52) GtCO(2)-eq yr(-1), resulting in a net increase of greenhouse gas of 0.86 (0.36-1.36) GtCO(2)-eq yr(-1) by the end of the twenty-first century under the RCP8.5 climate scenario. This drops to 0.73 (0.2-1.2) GtCO(2)-eq yr(-1) under RCP2.6. Our results point to an urgent need to preserve pristine and rehabilitate drained peatlands to decelerate the positive feedback among water-table drawdown, increased greenhouse gas emissions and climate warming.
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Contributor : David Makowski <>
Submitted on : Thursday, June 10, 2021 - 2:31:06 AM
Last modification on : Thursday, September 23, 2021 - 3:34:51 AM



Yuanyuan Huang, Phillipe Ciais, Yiqi Luo, Dan Zhu, Yingping Wang, et al.. Tradeoff of CO2 and CH4 emissions from global peatlands under water-table drawdown. Nature Climate Change, Nature Publishing Group, 2021, 11, pp.618-622. ⟨10.1038/s41558-021-01059-w⟩. ⟨hal-03255991⟩



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