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Climate of the Past An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2019-109
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2019-109
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 13 Sep 2019

Submitted as: research article | 13 Sep 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Climate of the Past (CP).

Terrestrial methane emissions from Last Glacial Maximum to preindustrial

Thomas Kleinen, Uwe Mikolajewicz, and Victor Brovkin Thomas Kleinen et al.
  • Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Bundesstr. 53, 20146 Hamburg, Germany

Abstract. We investigate the changes in terrestrial natural methane emissions between the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) and preindustrial (PI) by performing time-slice experiments with a methane-enabled version of MPI-ESM, the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology Earth System Model. We consider all natural sources of methane except for emissions from wild animals and geological sources, i.e. emissions from wetlands, fires, and termites. Changes are dominated by changes in tropical wetland emissions, with mid-to-high latitude wetlands playing a secondary role, and all other natural sources being of minor importance. The emissions are determined by the interplay of vegetation productivity, a function of CO2 and temperature, source area size, affected by sea level and ice sheet extent, and the state of the West African Monsoon, with increased emissions from north Africa during strong monsoon phases.

We show that it is possible to explain the difference in atmospheric methane between LGM and PI purely by changes in emissions. As emissions more than double between LGM and PI, changes in the atmospheric lifetime of CH4, as proposed in other studies, are not required.

Thomas Kleinen et al.
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Thomas Kleinen et al.
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Short summary
We investigate the changes in natural methane emissions between the Last Glacial Maximum and preindustrial with a methane-enabled version of MPI-ESM. We consider all natural sources of methane except for emissions from wild animals and geological sources. Changes are dominated by changes in tropical wetland emissions, high latitude wetlands play a secondary role, and all other natural sources are of minor importance. We can explain the changes in ice core methane by methane emissions only.
We investigate the changes in natural methane emissions between the Last Glacial Maximum and...
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