Dr. Adina Paytan, a research scientist at the University of California, Santa Cruz, led a team of researchers, including Dr. Natasha Dimova, a UA assistant professor of Geological Sciences, to study methane emissions at Toolik Lake, Alaska.
The group’s findings, published March 9 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), show that groundwater from the seasonal thawing of the “active layer” of soil above the permafrost adds significantly to the overall concentration of methane in the lake and thus influences the emission of this powerful greenhouse gas to the atmosphere.
“Accurate climate change predictions for the Arctic partially depend, as our paper points out, on gaining a better understanding of methane sources in this region,” said UA’s Dimova. “This research is another step in expanding our understanding of the role of groundwater in the big picture of global greenhouse budgets.”
In addition to Paytan and Dimova, coauthors of the paper include Alanna Lecher, Joseph Murray, and Slawek Tulaczyk at UC Santa Cruz; Katy Sparrow, Fenix Kodovska, and John Kessler at the University of Rochester.This research was funded by the National Science Foundation.