Local scientist Katey M. Walter Anthony (Aquatic Ecosystem Ecologist at UAF) has been studying the amount of methane gas being released into the atmosphere from thawing permafrost. As long frozen plants and other organic materials begin to thaw, they also begin to decay, producing methane gas. Katey has been collecting gas samples from frozen “bubbling” lakes near Fairbanks, Alaska to see just what we’re up against.
Why is methane important? Methane is a very powerful greenhouse gas that traps heat in the atmosphere. This could be a key factor in climate warming in arctic regions. How is this linked to fire? Wildfires are one mechanism that could increase the rate of permafrost thaw.
Read the this article from the New York Times. The NYT also published a great photo slideshow. In addition, watch the videos below, featuring “Permafrost is Rapidly Thawing” and “Hunting for Methane with Katey Walter Anthony.” For more information on related projects, videos, and other outreach, visit Katey’s web page at the Water and Environmental Research Center, UAF.
Watch these Videos:
Vodpod videos no longer available.
(This video is from MSNBC. View the associated article HERE.)
(This video is from the UAF Water and Environmental Research Center and was created by Megan Otts and Todd Paris of UAF Marketing and Communications.)
Related Websites & Reading:
- National Snow and Ice Data Center
- High Risk of Permafrost Thaw (Article)
- Soil Organic Carbon Pools in Northern Circumpolar Permafrost Region (Article)
- Global Warming and Climate Change (NYT Article)
- Tundra Burning in Alaska: Linkages to Climate Change and Sea Ice Retreat (Article)
- Carbon Loss from Unprecedented Arctic Tundra Wildfire (Article)