Trace gas exchange in a high-arctic valley 1. Variations in CO2 and CH4 flux between tundra vegetation types

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Ecosystem exchanges of CO2 and CH4 were studied by chamber techniques in five different vegetation types in a high arctic valley at Zackenberg, NE Greenland. The vegetation types were categorized as Cassiope heath, hummocky fen, continuous fen, grass land and Salix arctica snowbed. Integrated daytime fluxes for the different vegetation types of the valley showed that the fen areas and the grassland, were significant sources of CH4 with a mean efflux of 6.3 mg CH4 m(-2) h(-1) and sinks for CO2, with almost -170 mg CO2 m(-2) hr(-1). The heath and snowbed areas had much lower carbon sequestration rates of about -25 mg CO2 m(-2) hr(-1) and were also sinks for CH4. Methane emissions from the valley dominated in the hummocky fens. Computation of area integrated mean daytime flux values across all vegetation types of the entire valley bottom revealed that it was a sink of CO2 in the order of -96+/-33 mg CO2 m-2 hr-1 and a source of 1.9+/-0.7 m(-2) CH4 m(-2) hr(-1). These values were in accordance with eddy correlation measurements reported elsewhere in this issue and reflect a high-carbon exchange despite the high arctic location. In the fens, where the water table was at or above the soil surface, methane emissions increased with net ecosystem CO2 flux. In places with the water table below the soil surface, such as particularly in the hummocky parts of the fen, oxidation tended to become the dominant controlling factor on methane efflux.


  • Torben Christensen
  • T Friborg
  • M Sommerkorn
  • J Kaplan
  • L Illeris
  • H Sögaard
  • C Nordström
  • S Jonasson
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Ecology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)701-714
JournalGlobal Biogeochemical Cycles
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2000
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015. The record was previously connected to the following departments: Plant Ecology and Systematics (Closed 2011) (011004000), Dept of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science (011010000)