Study in the Mackenzie Delta in Canada shows high amount of geological methane emissions
The thawing permafrost soils in the Arctic regions might contribute to the greenhouse effect in two respects: On the one hand rising temperatures lead to higher microbial methane production close to the surface. On the other hand thawing subsurface opens increasingly pathways for old, geologic methane.
This is shown in a study in the Mackenzie Delta (Canada), conducted by scientists from the German Research Centre for Geosciences GFZ, the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) and partners in the US. The study is published in the journal Scientific Reports.
Arctic permafrost acts like a gigantic cap of frozen material over mineral resources and fossil fuels. Scientists apprehend that thawing permafrost could lead to rising methane emissions. "We wanted to find out how much methane is released in a region and were looking for spatial patterns in gas emissions", says lead author Katrin Kohnert from GFZ´s section for Remote Sensing.
In order to do so a team led by GFZ scientist Torsten Sachs performed a study in a 10,000 square kilometers wide area in Northern Canada. By the help of the research aircraft Polar 5 of AWI the scientists conducted airborne measurements of gas concentrations in the air during two extensive flight campaigns in summer 2012 and 2013, respectively.
The result was a high-resolution (100 m x 100 m) methane flux map of the Mackenzie Delta. "We found strong emissions solely where the permafrost is discontinuous, meaning parts where the permafrost contains areas that are thawed permanently", says Katrin Kohnert.
"We think that the methane comes predominantly from deeper geologic sources and not from recent microbial activity close to the surface." Even though the hotspots only occur on about 1 percent of the area, they contribute 17 percent to the annual methane emission estimate of the study area.
The conclusion of the authors: The warming climate triggers not only the natural production of biogenic methane, it can also lead to stronger emissions of fossil gas. This contributes significantly to the permafrost-carbon-climate feedback. Kohnert: "Therefore permafrost areas vulnerable to thawing warrant much more attention."
Ralf Nestler | EurekAlert!
Massive impact crater from a kilometer-wide iron meteorite discovered in Greenland
15.11.2018 | Faculty of Science - University of Copenhagen
The unintended consequences of dams and reservoirs
14.11.2018 | Uppsala University
Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.
Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...
Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.
Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...
Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.
In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...
On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.
When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure
Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...
09.11.2018 | Event News
06.11.2018 | Event News
23.10.2018 | Event News
16.11.2018 | Health and Medicine
16.11.2018 | Life Sciences
16.11.2018 | Life Sciences