Methane Emissions from Thermokarst Lakes

Tuesday, May 4, 2010 at 1:00 PM AKDT
Katey Walter Anthony, Water & Environmental Research Center

Katey Walter Anthony, Assistant Professor, Water & Environmental Research Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks

Methane is a potent greenhouse gas released from millions of lakes in the Arctic. The largest methane emissions come from lakes where organic-rich permafrost is thawing. Permafrost organic matter released into the bottoms of lakes fuels methane production, and methane escapes lakes largely by bubbling. Given the huge quantity of organic carbon in permafrost (>1500 Gt C, which is more than twice the atmospheric C content), and projections of permafrost warming and thawing, the fate of carbon and greenhouse gas release is important for understanding climate change feedbacks.

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