skip to main content


Title: Reviews and syntheses: Four decades of modeling methane cycling in terrestrial ecosystems

Over the past 4 decades, a number of numerical models have been developed to quantify the magnitude, investigate the spatial and temporal variations, and understand the underlying mechanisms and environmental controls of methane (CH 4) fluxes within terrestrial ecosystems. These CH 4 models are also used for integrating multi-scale CH 4 data, such as laboratory-based incubation and molecular analysis, field observational experiments, remote sensing, and aircraft-based measurements across a variety of terrestrial ecosystems. Here we summarize 40 terrestrial CH 4 models to characterize their strengths and weaknesses and to suggest a roadmap for future model improvement and application. Our key findings are that (1) the focus of CH 4 models has shifted from theoretical to site- and regional-level applications over the past 4 decades, (2) large discrepancies exist among models in terms of representing CH 4 processes and their environmental controls, and (3) significant data–model and model–model mismatches are partially attributed to different representations of landscape characterization and inundation dynamics. Three areas for future improvements and applications of terrestrial CH 4 models are that (1) CH 4 models should more explicitly represent the mechanisms underlying land–atmosphere CH 4 exchange, with an emphasis on improving and validating individual CH 4 processes over depth and horizontalmore » space, (2) models should be developed that are capable of simulating CH 4 emissions across highly heterogeneous spatial and temporal scales, particularly hot moments and hotspots, and (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. These improvements in CH 4 models would be beneficial for the Earth system models and further simulation of climate–carbon cycle feedbacks.« less
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
Published Article
Journal Name:
Biogeosciences (Online)
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Biogeosciences (Online); Journal Volume: 13; Journal Issue: 12; Related Information: CHORUS Timestamp: 2016-06-28 09:20:14; Journal ID: ISSN 1726-4189
Copernicus GmbH
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1259569