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Other research product . Collection . 2013

Isotopic data of atmospheric methane from EDML and Vostok ice cores over a full glacial cycle

Möller, Lars; Sowers, Todd A; Bock, Michael; Spahni, Renato; Behrens, Melanie; Schmitt, Jochen; Miller, Heinz; +1 Authors
Open Access
Published: 01 Jan 2013
Publisher: PANGAEA

The response of natural CH4 sources to climate changes will be an important factor to consider as concentrations of this potent greenhouse gas continue to increase. Polar ice cores provide the means to assess this sensitivity in the past and have shown a close connection between CH4 levels and northern hemisphere temperature variability over the last glacial cycle. However, the contribution of the various CH4 sources and sinks to these changes is still a matter of debate. Contemporaneous stable CH4 isotope records in ice cores provide additional boundary conditions for assessing changes in the CH4 sources and sinks. Here we present new ice core CH4 isotope data covering the last 160,000 years, showing a clear decoupling between CH4 loading and carbon isotopic variations over most of the record. We suggest that d13CH4 variations were not dominated by a change in the source mix but rather by climate- and CO2-related ecosystem control on the isotopic composition of the methane precursor material, especially in seasonally inundated wetlands in the tropics. In contrast, relatively stable d13CH4 intervals occurred during large CH4 loading changes concurrently with past climate changes implying that most CH4 sources (most notably tropical wetlands) responded simultaneously.


European Project for Ice Coring in Antarctica (EPICA)

Funded by
Modern Approaches to Temperature Reconstructions in polar Ice Cores
  • Funder: European Commission (EC)
  • Project Code: 226172
  • Funding stream: FP7 | SP2 | ERC
Climate change - Learning from the past climate
  • Funder: European Commission (EC)
  • Project Code: 243908
  • Funding stream: FP7 | SP1 | ENV
SNSF| Climate and Environmental Physics
  • Funder: Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF)
  • Project Code: 147174
  • Funding stream: Projects | Project funding
SNSF| PRoject to Initiate isotopic MEasurements on METHANE in ice cores (primeMETHANE)
  • Funder: Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF)
  • Project Code: 121293
  • Funding stream: Infrastructure | R'EQUIP
Related to Research communities
European Marine Science