Extensive methane venting to the atmosphere from sediments of the East Siberian Arctic Shelf

Natalia Evgenievna Shakhova, Igor Petrovich Semiletov, Anatoly Salyuk, Vladimir Yusupov, Denis Kosmach, Örjan Gustafsson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

360 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Remobilization to the atmosphere of only a small fraction of the methane held in East Siberian Arctic Shelf (ESAS) sediments could trigger abrupt climate warming, yet it is believed that sub-sea permafrost acts as a lid to keep this shallow methane reservoir in place. Here, we show that more than 5000 at-sea observations of dissolved methane demonstrates that greater than 80% of ESAS bottom waters and greater than 50% of surface waters are supersaturated with methane regarding to the atmosphere. The current atmospheric venting flux, which is composed of a diffusive component and a gradual ebullition component, is on par with previous estimates of methane venting from the entire World Ocean. Leakage of methane through shallow ESAS waters needs to be considered in interactions between the biogeosphere and a warming Arctic climate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1246-1250
Number of pages5
JournalScience
Volume327
Issue number5970
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 5 Mar 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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