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Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 16, issue 6 | Copyright
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 16, 4147-4157, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-16-4147-2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 30 Mar 2016

Research article | 30 Mar 2016

Atmospheric constraints on the methane emissions from the East Siberian Shelf

Antoine Berchet1,a, Philippe Bousquet1, Isabelle Pison1, Robin Locatelli1, Frédéric Chevallier1, Jean-Daniel Paris1, Ed J. Dlugokencky2, Tuomas Laurila3, Juha Hatakka3, Yrjo Viisanen3, Doug E. J. Worthy4, Euan Nisbet5, Rebecca Fisher5, James France5, David Lowry5, Viktor Ivakhov6, and Ove Hermansen7 Antoine Berchet et al.
  • 1Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement, CEA-CNRS-UVSQ, IPSL, Gif-sur-Yvette, France
  • 2NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory, Global Monitoring Division, Boulder, Colorado, USA
  • 3Climate and Global Change Research, Finnish Meteorological Institute, Helsinki, Finland
  • 4Environment Canada, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • 5Department of Earth Sciences, Royal Holloway, University of London, Egham, UK
  • 6Voeikov Main Geophysical Observatory, St Petersburg, Russia
  • 7NILU – Norwegian Institute for Air Research, Kjeller, Norway
  • anow at: Laboratory for Air Pollution/Environmental Technology, Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, Empa, Dübendorf, Switzerland

Abstract. Subsea permafrost and hydrates in the East Siberian Arctic Shelf (ESAS) constitute a substantial carbon pool, and a potentially large source of methane to the atmosphere. Previous studies based on interpolated oceanographic campaigns estimated atmospheric emissions from this area at 8–17 TgCH4 yr−1. Here, we propose insights based on atmospheric observations to evaluate these estimates. The comparison of high-resolution simulations of atmospheric methane mole fractions to continuous methane observations during the whole year 2012 confirms the high variability and heterogeneity of the methane releases from ESAS. A reference scenario with ESAS emissions of 8 TgCH4 yr−1, in the lower part of previously estimated emissions, is found to largely overestimate atmospheric observations in winter, likely related to overestimated methane leakage through sea ice. In contrast, in summer, simulations are more consistent with observations. Based on a comprehensive statistical analysis of the observations and of the simulations, annual methane emissions from ESAS are estimated to range from 0.0 to 4.5 TgCH4 yr−1. Isotopic observations suggest a biogenic origin (either terrestrial or marine) of the methane in air masses originating from ESAS during late summer 2008 and 2009.

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We propose insights based on atmospheric observations around the Arctic circle to evaluate estimates of methane emissions to the atmosphere from the East Siberian Arctic Shelf. Based on a comprehensive statistical analysis of the observations and of high-resolution transport simulations, annual methane emissions from ESAS are estimated to range from 0.0 to 4.5 TgCH4 yr−1, with a maximum in summer and very low emissions in winter.
We propose insights based on atmospheric observations around the Arctic circle to evaluate...
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