Quasi-continuous observations of the methane concentration in aerated soils of the temperate zone are presented. The flux of methane into the soil is calculated from the concentration gradient at the soil surface. Depending on the permeability of methane in soil air at an individual site, yearly mean uptake rates between 0.09 and 1.3 g CH4 m−2 yr−1 have been observed in temperate forest soils. The methane flux from the atmosphere into the soil shows only a weak seasonality with an about 50% higher uptake rate in the summer than in the winter months. This indicates that the methane flux into the soil is mainly controlled by the transport resistance in the soil rather than by the potential microbial decomposition rate.