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Methane in the Arctic and its Role in Global Climate Change

May 27, 2007
Just because this University of Alaska Fairbanks research is two years old, doesn’t make it less pertinent. It probably makes it more so.
clipped from
Water-saturated soils and lake sediments are considered the primary sources of CH4 in arctic and sub-arctic landscapes during the summer.   It was found that in wet meadow tundra, a 2°C increase in temperature at a depth of 10 to 20 cm in the soil increases CH4
transport, or flux, to the atmosphere by approximately 120%.
Taliks, which lie under lake sediments, are zones of thawed permafrost and are the places where methane originates in winter.   Methane accumulates under the ice and is released through cracks and holes. The role of taliks in the current atmospheric CH4
balance could be significantly underestimated.
a very small disturbance
of gas hydrates could cause catastrophic consequences within a few decades. Shallow bottom sediment and
underlying permafrost have warmed approximately 15°C since the time they originated. The implications
of this trend are that shallow off-shore gas hydrate deposits could become vulnerable
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