Four decades of modeling methane cycling in terrestrial ecosystems: Where we are heading?

Thursday, 17 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Xiaofeng Xu1, Fengming Yuan2, Paul J Hanson3, Stan D Wullschleger3, Peter E Thornton3, Hanqin Tian4, William J Riley5, Xia Song1, David E Graham3 and Changchun Song6, (1)University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, TX, United States, (2)Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Climate Change Science Institute, Oak Ridge, TN, United States, (3)Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN, United States, (4)Auburn University at Montgomery, Montgomery, AL, United States, (5)Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, CA, United States, (6)Chinese Academy of Sciences, Northeast Institute of Geography and Agroecology, Changchun, China
A modeling approach to methane (CH4) is widely used to quantify the budget, investigate spatial and temporal variabilities, and understand the mechanistic processes and environmental controls on CH4 fluxes across spatial and temporal scales. Moreover, CH4 models are an important tool for integrating CH4 data from multiple sources, such as laboratory-based incubation and molecular analysis, field observational experiments, remote sensing, and aircraft-based measurements across a variety of terrestrial ecosystems. We reviewed 39 terrestrial CH4 models to characterize their strengths and weaknesses and to design a roadmap for future model improvement and application. We found that: (1) the focus of CH4 models have been shifted from theoretical to site- to regional-level application over the past four decades, expressed as dramatic increases in CH4 model development on regional budget quantification; (2) large discrepancies exist among models in terms of representing CH4 processes and their environmental controls; (3) significant data-model and model-model mismatches are partially attributed to different representations of wetland characterization and inundation dynamics. Three efforts should be paid special attention for future improvements and applications of fully mechanistic CH4 models: (1) CH4 models should be improved to represent the mechanisms underlying land-atmosphere CH4 exchange, with emphasis on improving and validating individual CH4 processes over depth and horizontal space; (2) models should be developed that are capable of simulating CH4 fluxes across space and time (particularly hot moments and hot spots); (3) efforts should be invested to develop model benchmarking frameworks that can easily be used for model improvement, evaluation, and integration with data from molecular to global scales. A newly developed microbial functional group-based CH4 model (CLM-Microbe) was further used to demonstrate the features of mechanistic representation and integration with multiple source of observational datasets.