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The net GHG balance and budget of the permafrost region (2000-2020) from ecosystem flux upscaling
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  • Justine Ramage,
  • McKenzie Kuhn,
  • Anna-Maria Virkkala,
  • Ana Bastos,
  • Josep G. Canadell,
  • Philippe Ciais,
  • Benjamin Poulter,
  • Jennifer Watts,
  • Carolina Voigt,
  • Maija E. Marushchak,
  • Christina Biasi,
  • Efrèn López-Blanco,
  • Susan M. Natali,
  • David Olefeldt,
  • Stefano Potter,
  • Brendan M. Rogers,
  • Edward A.G. Schuur,
  • Claire Treat,
  • Merritt R. Turetsky,
  • Gustaf Hugelius
Justine Ramage

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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McKenzie Kuhn
Anna-Maria Virkkala
Ana Bastos
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Josep G. Canadell
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Philippe Ciais
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Benjamin Poulter
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Jennifer Watts
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Carolina Voigt
Maija E. Marushchak
Christina Biasi
Efrèn López-Blanco
Susan M. Natali
David Olefeldt
Stefano Potter
Brendan M. Rogers
Edward A.G. Schuur
Claire Treat
Merritt R. Turetsky
Gustaf Hugelius


The northern permafrost region has been projected to shift from a net sink to a net source of carbon under global warming. However, estimates of the contemporary net greenhouse gas (GHG) balance and budgets of the permafrost region remain highly uncertain. Here we construct the first comprehensive bottom-up budgets of CO2, CH4, and N2O across the terrestrial permafrost region using databases of more than 1000 in-situ flux measurements and a land cover-based ecosystem flux upscaling approach for the period 2000-2020. Estimates indicate that the permafrost region emitted a mean annual flux of 0.36 (-620, 652) Tg CO2-C y-1, 38 (21, 53) Tg CH4-C y-1, and 0.62 (0.03, 1.2) Tg N2O-N y-1 to the atmosphere throughout the period. While the region was a net source of CH4 and N2O, the CO2 budget was near neutral with large uncertainties. Terrestrial ecosystems remained a COsink, but emissions from fire disturbances and inland waters largely offset the sink in vegetated ecosystems. Including lateral fluxes, the permafrost region was a net source of C and N, releasing 136 (-517, 821) Tg C y-1 and 3.2 (1.9, 4.8) Tg N y-1. Large uncertainty ranges in these estimates point to a need for further expansion of monitoring networks, continued data synthesis efforts, and better integration of field observations, remote sensing data, and ecosystem models to constrain the contemporary net GHG budgets of the permafrost region and track their future trajectory.
06 Sep 2023Submitted to ESS Open Archive
11 Sep 2023Published in ESS Open Archive