Holocene variations in peatland methane cycling associated with the Asian summer monsoon system

Yanhong Zheng*, Joy S. Singarayer, Peng Cheng, Xuefeng Yu, Zhao Liu, Paul J. Valdes, Richard D. Pancost

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

30 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Atmospheric methane concentrations decreased during the early to middle Holocene; however, the governing mechanisms remain controversial. Although it has been suggested that the mid-Holocene minimum methane emissions are associated with hydrological change, direct evidence is lacking. Here we report a new independent approach, linking hydrological change in peat sediments from the Tibetan Plateau to changes in archaeal diether concentrations and diploptene 13 C values as tracers for methanogenesis and methanotrophy, respectively. A minimum in inferred methanogenesis occurred during the mid-Holocene, which, locally, corresponds with the driest conditions of the Holocene, reflecting a minimum in Asian monsoon precipitation. The close coupling between precipitation and methanogenesis is validated by climate simulations, which also suggest a regionally widespread impact. Importantly, the minimum in methanogenesis is associated with a maximum in methanotrophy. Therefore, methane emissions in the Tibetan Plateau region were apparently lower during the mid-Holocene and partially controlled by interactions of large-scale atmospheric circulation. © 2014 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4631
Number of pages7
JournalNature Communications
Volume5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 19 Aug 2014

Structured keywords

  • Cabot Institute Environmental Change Research

Keywords

  • QINGHAI-TIBETAN PLATEAU
  • NORTH-ATLANTIC CLIMATE
  • ATMOSPHERIC METHANE
  • NATURAL WETLANDS
  • VASCULAR PLANTS
  • POLLEN RECORD
  • EMISSIONS
  • CHINA
  • BIOMARKERS
  • VEGETATION

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