Skip to content

Operation of the boreal peatland methane cycle across the last 16 kyr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages5
DateAccepted/In press - 13 Oct 2019
DatePublished (current) - 19 Nov 2019


The role of boreal wetlands in driving variations in atmospheric methane (CH4)
concentrations across the deglaciation and Holocene is debated. Most studies 1
infer the sources of atmospheric methane via ice core records of methane
concentration and its light stable isotopic composition. However, direct
evidence for variations in the methane cycle from the wetlands themselves is
relatively limited. Here we use a suite of biomarker proxies to reconstruct the
methane cycle in the Chinese Hani peat across the last 16 kyr. We find two
periods of enhanced methanogenesis: ~15-11 kyr and ~10-6 kyr, whereas weak
methanogenesis characterized the late Holocene. These periods of enhanced
methanogenesis relate to periods of high/increasing temperatures, supporting
a temperature control on the wetland methane cycle. We find no biomarker
evidence for intense methanotrophy throughout the last 16 kyr and contrary to
previous studies we find no clear control of hydrology on the peatland methane
cycle. Although the onset of methanogenesis at Hani around 15 kyr coincides
with a negative shift in δ13CCH4 in the ice cores, there is no consistent correlation between changes in the reconstructed methane cycle of the boreal Hani peat and atmospheric CH4 concentrations.
Methane is an important gas for atmospheric chemistry as it accounts for ~20%



  • Full-text PDF (final published version)

    Rights statement: This is the final published version of the article (version of record). It first appeared online via Geological Society of America at Please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.

    Final published version, 894 KB, PDF document

    Licence: CC BY


View research connections

Related faculties, schools or groups