A team of scientists led by a researcher at the University of Alaska
Fairbanks has identified a new likely source of a spike in atmospheric methane
coming out of the North during the end of the last ice age.
Methane bubbling from arctic lakes could have been responsible for up to 87
percent of that methane spike, said UAF researcher Katey Walter, lead author of
a report printed in the Oct. 26 issue of Science. The findings could help
scientists understand how current warming might affect atmospheric levels of
methane, a gas that is thought to contribute to climate change.
“It tells us that this isn’t just something that is ongoing now. It would have
been a positive feedback to climate warming then, as it is today,” said Walter.
“We estimate that as much as 10 times the amount of methane that is currently in
the atmosphere will come out of these lakes as permafrost thaws in the future.
The timing of this emission is uncertain, but ...