Bubbling methane emissions caused by ice-free days in Arctic lakes

The Extinction Chronicles


WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Although the Arctic is best known for frozen tundra, it also has a number of freshwater lakes that are covered in ice most of the year. But the length of time they are ice-covered is decreasing, and this is allowing methane to bubble into the atmosphere.

Globally, lakes are responsible for nearly one-third of biogenic methane emissions, but new research predicts that this level could increase to nearly 60% by the end of the century due to global warming. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas that traps 32 times more heat than carbon dioxide.

Purdue University professor Qianlai Zhuang and graduate student Mingyang Guo of Purdue’s Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences studied Arctic lakes in Finland, where roughly 10% of the country is covered by freshwater lakes.

Their findings in this lake-dense region will help researchers adequately quantify methane emissions from the entire…

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