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Paul Miller. Photo.

Paul Miller

Senior lecturer

Paul Miller. Photo.

Tundra landscape heterogeneity, not interannual variability, controls the decadal regional carbon balance in the Western Russian Arctic


  • Claire C. Treat
  • Maija E. Marushchak
  • Carolina Voigt
  • Yu Zhang
  • Zeli Tan
  • Qianlai Zhuang
  • Tarmo A. Virtanen
  • Aleksi Räsänen
  • Christina Biasi
  • Gustaf Hugelius
  • Dmitry Kaverin
  • Paul A. Miller
  • Martin Stendel
  • Vladimir Romanovsky
  • Felix Rivkin
  • Pertti J. Martikainen
  • Narasinha J. Shurpali

Summary, in English

Across the Arctic, the net ecosystem carbon (C) balance of tundra ecosystems is highly uncertain due to substantial temporal variability of C fluxes and to landscape heterogeneity. We modeled both carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) fluxes for the dominant land cover types in a ~100-km2 sub-Arctic tundra region in northeast European Russia for the period of 2006–2015 using process-based biogeochemical models. Modeled net annual CO2 fluxes ranged from −300 g C m−2 year−1 [net uptake] in a willow fen to 3 g C m−2 year−1 [net source] in dry lichen tundra. Modeled annual CH4 emissions ranged from −0.2 to 22.3 g C m−2 year−1 at a peat plateau site and a willow fen site, respectively. Interannual variability over the decade was relatively small (20%–25%) in comparison with variability among the land cover types (150%). Using high-resolution land cover classification, the region was a net sink of atmospheric CO2 across most land cover types but a net source of CH4 to the atmosphere due to high emissions from permafrost-free fens. Using a lower resolution for land cover classification resulted in a 20%–65% underestimation of regional CH4 flux relative to high-resolution classification and smaller (10%) overestimation of regional CO2 uptake due to the underestimation of wetland area by 60%. The relative fraction of uplands versus wetlands was key to determining the net regional C balance at this and other Arctic tundra sites because wetlands were hot spots for C cycling in Arctic tundra ecosystems.


  • Dept of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science
  • eSSENCE: The e-Science Collaboration
  • MERGE: ModElling the Regional and Global Earth system
  • Centre for Environmental and Climate Science (CEC)
  • BECC: Biodiversity and Ecosystem services in a Changing Climate

Publishing year







Global Change Biology





Document type

Journal article




  • Physical Geography


  • ecosystem modeling
  • methane
  • net ecosystem CO exchange
  • peatland
  • permafrost
  • regional carbon balance
  • Russia
  • Tundra




  • ISSN: 1354-1013