• Final Report: International Workshop to Reconcile Methane Budgets in the Northern Permafrost Region

      McGuire, A. David; Kelly, Brendan P.; Guy, Lisa Sheffield; Wiggins, Helen (2017-05-18)
      An International Workshop to Reconcile Methane Budgets in the Northern Permafrost Region, organized by the Study of Environmental Arctic Change (SEARCH), was held in Seattle on 7-9 March 2017. The workshop was funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the U.S. Arctic Research Commission. The primary goal was to produce a plan for reconciling methane budgets in the northern permafrost region. Forty-two scientists, including representatives of the atmospheric, inland (wetland and lakes), marine (coastal and oceanic), and remote sensing communities studying methane dynamics participated in developing the research plan. Eleven of the participants were early career scientists, and nine of the scientists were from institutions outside the United States. The first day of the workshop included keynote presentations that provided atmospheric, inland, and marine perspectives on developing a plan to reconcile methane budgets. There were also keynote presentations on the role of remote sensing in reconciling methane budgets. The second day of the workshop was devoted to breakout groups that developed plans from disciplinary perspectives, followed by breakouts of mixed disciplinary groups that discussed all three plans. The breakout groups identified key uncertainties and near-term and longer-term priorities for addressing questions about methane dynamics in the northern permafrost region. Participants committed to completing a paper describing a roadmap for the synthesis plan by the end of 2017, and each of the groups developed plans to address, by the end of 2018, near-term priorities to reduce uncertainties in methane budgets. The longer-term priorities include addressing possible sensitivities of methane emissions to climate variability and change in the region and evaluating the degree to which changes in methane dynamics are detectable. To address these longer-term priorities, there is a need to organize extant methane data for the northern permafrost region so that studies using these data can evaluate how enhancements to the methane observation network would improve estimates of methane emissions and the detection of trends. The Permafrost Action Team of SEARCH will develop research summaries and briefs based on the follow-on activities from the workshop.