Data show no sign of methane boost from thawing permafrost | Science News

Real Science. Real News.

Science News is a nonprofit.

Support us by subscribing now.


Data show no sign of methane boost from thawing permafrost

Carbon dioxide levels rising, though, in response to warming around Alaska’s North Slope

5:04pm, December 19, 2016
NOAA Barrow Research Station

THAWING OUT  Emissions of carbon dioxide, but not methane, having risen alongside warming temperatures in a region of northern Alaska, according to an analysis of atmospheric measurements made at this research station in Barrow.

SAN FRANCISCO — One climate doomsday scenario can be downgraded, new research suggests.

Decades of atmospheric measurements from a site in northern Alaska show that rapidly rising temperatures there have not significantly increased methane emissions from the neighboring permafrost-covered landscape, researchers reported December 15 at the American Geophysical Union’s fall meeting.

Some scientists feared that Arctic warming would unleash large amounts of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere, worsening global warming. “The ticking time bomb of methane has clearly not manifested itself yet,” said study coauthor Colm Sweeney, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Colorado Boulder. Emissions of carbon dioxide — a less potent greenhouse gas — did increase over that period, the researchers found.

The CO2 rise “is

This article is only available to Science News subscribers. Already a subscriber? Log in now.
Or subscribe today for full access.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content