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On the Rise: Siberian lakes—Major sources of methane

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11:02am, September 6, 2006

Recent warming in Siberia is liberating carbon that had been locked in the permafrost for millennia. Consequently, Siberian lakes are making a surprisingly large contribution to atmospheric methane, a planet-warming greenhouse gas, according to a new analysis of the methane bubbling from those lakes.

Previous studies had suggested that most northern Siberian lakes sit atop permafrost containing rich soil. Methane-making microbes in the oxygen-poor lake-bottom sediments render the lakes major methane sources, says Katey M. Walter, an ecologist at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks.

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