Unexpected Parabolic Temperature Dependency of CH4Emissions from Rice Paddies

Haoyu Qian, Nan Zhang, Junjie Chen, Changqing Chen, Bruce A. Hungate, Junmei Ruan, Shan Huang, Kun Cheng, Zhenwei Song, Pengfu Hou, Bin Zhang, Jun Zhang, Zhen Wang, Xiuying Zhang, Ganghua Li, Zhenghui Liu, Songhan Wang, Guiyao Zhou, Weijian Zhang, Yanfeng DingKees Jan Van Groenigen, Yu Jiang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Global warming is expected to affect methane (CH4) emissions from rice paddies, one of the largest human-induced sources of this potent greenhouse gas. However, the large variability in warming impacts on CH4emissions makes it difficult to extrapolate the experimental results over large regions. Here, we show, through meta-analysis and multi-site warming experiments using the free air temperature increase facility, that warming stimulates CH4emissions most strongly at background air temperatures during the flooded stage of ∼26 °C, with smaller responses of CH4emissions to warming at lower and higher temperatures. This pattern can be explained by divergent warming responses of plant growth, methanogens, and methanotrophs. The effects of warming on rice biomass decreased with the background air temperature. Warming increased the abundance of methanogens more strongly at the medium air temperature site than the low and high air temperature sites. In contrast, the effects of warming on the abundance of methanotrophs were similar across the three temperature sites. We estimate that 1 °C warming will increase CH4emissions from paddies in China by 12.6%-substantially higher than the estimates obtained from leading ecosystem models. Our findings challenge model assumptions and suggest that the estimates of future paddy CH4emissions need to consider both plant and microbial responses to warming.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4871-4881
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 19 2022


  • meta-analysis
  • methane emissions
  • methanogens
  • methanotrophs
  • rice
  • warming

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry


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