04 May 2021

04 May 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ESSD.

BAWLD-CH4: A Comprehensive Dataset of Methane Fluxes from Boreal and Arctic Ecosystems

McKenzie A. Kuhn1, Ruth K. Varner2,3, David Bastviken4, Patrick Crill5,6, Sally MacIntyre7, Merritt Turetsky8, Katey Walter Anthony9, Anthony D. McGuire10, and David Olefeldt1 McKenzie A. Kuhn et al.
  • 1Department of Renewable Resources, University of Alberta. T6E 1V6, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • 2Department of Earth Sciences and Earth System Research Center, Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans and Space, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH 03824 USA
  • 3Department of Physical Geography, Stockholm University, 10691 Stockholm, Sweden
  • 4Department of Thematic Studies – Environmental Change, Linköping University, SE-581 83 Linköping, Sweden
  • 5Department of Geological Sciences, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
  • 6Bolin Centre for Climate Research, Stockholm, Sweden
  • 7Marine Science Institute, University of California at Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, USA
  • 8Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR), University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO, USA
  • 9Water and Environmental Research Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks, PO Box 755860, Fairbanks, Alaska 99775-5860, USA
  • 10Institute of Arctic Biology, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, Alaska 99775, USA

Abstract. Methane (CH4) emissions from the Boreal and Arctic region are globally significant and highly sensitive to climate change. There is currently a wide range in estimates of high-latitude annual CH4 fluxes, where estimates based on land cover inventories and empirical CH4 flux data or process models (bottom-up approaches) generally are greater than atmospheric inversions (top-down approaches). A limitation of bottom-up approaches has been the lack of harmonization between inventories of site-level CH4 flux data and the land cover classes present in high-latitude spatial datasets. Here we present a comprehensive dataset of small-scale, surface CH4 flux data from 540 terrestrial sites (wetland and non-wetland) and 1247 aquatic sites (lakes and ponds), compiled from 189 studies. The Boreal-Arctic Wetland and Lake Methane Dataset (BAWLD-CH4) was constructed in parallel with a compatible land cover dataset, sharing the same land cover classes to enable refined bottom-up assessments. BAWLD-CH4 includes information on site-level CH4 fluxes, but also on study design (measurement method, timing, and frequency) and site characteristics (vegetation, climate, hydrology, soil, and sediment types, permafrost conditions, lake size and depth, and our determination of land cover class). The different land cover classes had distinct CH4 fluxes, resulting from definitions that were either based on or co-varied with key environmental controls. Fluxes of CH4 from terrestrial ecosystems were primarily influenced by water table position, soil temperature, and vegetation composition, while CH4 fluxes from aquatic ecosystems were primarily influenced by water temperature, lake size, and lake genesis. Models could explain more of the between-site variability in CH4 fluxes for terrestrial than aquatic ecosystems, likely due to both less precise assessments of lake CH4 fluxes and fewer consistently reported lake site characteristics. Analysis of BAWLD-CH4 identified both land cover classes and regions within the Boreal and Arctic domain where future studies should be focused, alongside methodological approaches. Overall, BAWLD-CH4 provides a comprehensive dataset of CH4 emissions from high-latitude ecosystems that are useful for identifying research opportunities, for comparison against new field data, and model parameterization or validation. BAWLD-CH4 can be downloaded from

McKenzie A. Kuhn et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on essd-2021-141', Anonymous Referee #1, 12 May 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on essd-2021-141', Anonymous Referee #2, 01 Jun 2021
  • AC1: 'Comment on essd-2021-141', McKenzie Kuhn, 27 Jul 2021

McKenzie A. Kuhn et al.

Data sets

BAWLD-CH4: Methane fluxes from Boreal and Arctic Ecosystems Kuhn, M. A., Varner, R. K., Bastviken, D. J., Crill, P., MacIntyre, S., Turetsky, M. R., Walter Anthony, K., McGuire, A. D., Olefeldt, D.

McKenzie A. Kuhn et al.


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Short summary
Methane (CH4) emissions from the Boreal-Arctic region are globally significant, but the current magnitude of annual emissions is not well defined. Here we present a dataset of surface CH4 fluxes from northern wetlands, lakes, and uplands that was built alongside a compatible land cover dataset, sharing the same classifications. We show CH4 fluxes can be split by broad land cover characteristics. The dataset is useful for comparison against new field data and model parameterization or validation.