Methane & Permafrost Release Essay

643 words - 3 pages

Methane Formation
Methane formation beneath permafrost is created by three different processes. To begin, methane can be made through the thermal decomposition of organic matter, known as being produced thermogenically. Furthermore, methane can also be produced abiogenically and bacteriogenically (Stotler et al., 2010). These processes include the reduction of carbon dioxide and methanogenic microbes that emit methane as they decompose due to an increase in anaerobic bacteria respiration in the area. Under specific conditions of low temperatures and high pressure, methane gas and water combine to crystallize, creating ice that is referred to as methane hydrates (Stotler et al., 2010). From ...view middle of the document...

As the permafrost degrades, these pockets of entrapped gas rise to the surface and are released into the atmosphere. However, methane isn’t the only thing being released as the ground thaws. Along with carbon, organic matter is also made available and is used by microbes for degradation to further emit other greenhouse gases, including more methane (Anisimov, 2007). More specifically, In Lupin, Nunavut, entrapped gas beneath permafrost was studied and it was concluded that the gas bubbles were 64-87% methane (Stotler et al. 2010). As permafrost degradation continues to increase in the future, more of this methane will be released into the atmosphere in large concentrations. Figure # shows the contribution of peat and lake sediments in the formation and release of methane into the atmosphere. The darker spots shown on the lake surface are areas where methane gas has punctured the surface allowing the gas to expel into the atmosphere.
As stated before, methane is usually released into the atmosphere at point sources or hot spots. Both vary in abundance, location, and methane...

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