Siberian Peatlands a Net Carbon Sink and Global Methane Source Since the Early Holocene

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Science  16 Jan 2004:
Vol. 303, Issue 5656, pp. 353-356
DOI: 10.1126/science.1090553

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Interpolar methane gradient (IPG) data from ice cores suggest the “switching on” of a major Northern Hemisphere methane source in the early Holocene. Extensive data from Russia's West Siberian Lowland show (i) explosive, widespread peatland establishment between 11.5 and 9 thousand years ago, predating comparable development in North America and synchronous with increased atmospheric methane concentrations and IPGs, (ii) larger carbon stocks than previously thought (70.2 Petagrams, up to ∼26% of all terrestrial carbon accumulated since the Last Glacial Maximum), and (iii) little evidence for catastrophic oxidation, suggesting the region represents a long-term carbon dioxide sink and global methane source since the early Holocene.

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