Technical note: Mobile open dynamic chamber measurement of methane macroseeps in lakes

Thalasso, Frederic; Walter Anthony, Katey; Irzak, Olya; Chaleff, Ethan; Barker, Laughlin; Anthony, Peter; Hanke, Philip; Gonzalez-Valencia, Rodrigo

Methane (CHinline-formula4) seepage (i.e., steady or episodic flow of gaseous hydrocarbons from subsurface reservoirs) has been identified as a significant source of atmospheric CHinline-formula4. However, radiocarbon data from polar ice cores have recently brought into question the magnitude of fossil CHinline-formula4 seepage naturally occurring. In northern high latitudes, seepage of subsurface CHinline-formula4 is impeded by permafrost and glaciers, which are under an increasing risk of thawing and melting in a globally warming world, implying the potential release of large stores of CHinline-formula4 in the future. Resolution of these important questions requires a better constraint and monitoring of actual emissions from seepage areas. The measurement of these seeps is challenging, particularly in aquatic environments, because they involve large and irregular gas flow rates, unevenly distributed both spatially and temporally. Large macroseeps are particularly difficult to measure due to a lack of lightweight, inexpensive methods that can be deployed in remote Arctic environments. Here, we report the use of a mobile chamber for measuring emissions at the surface of ice-free lakes subject to intense CHinline-formula4 macroseepage. Tested in a remote Alaskan lake, the method was validated for the measurement of fossil CHinline-formula4 emissions of up to 1.08 inline-formula× 10inline-formula4 g CHinline-formula4 minline-formula−2 dinline-formula−1 (13.0 L minline-formula−2 mininline-formula−1 of 83.4 % CHinline-formula4 bubbles), which is within the range of global fossil methane seepage and several orders of magnitude above standard ecological emissions from lakes. In addition, this method allows for low diffusive flux measurements. Thus, the mobile chamber approach presented here covers the entire magnitude range of CHinline-formula4 emissions currently identified, from those standardly observed in lakes to intense macroseeps, with a single apparatus of moderate cost.

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Thalasso, Frederic / Walter Anthony, Katey / Irzak, Olya / et al: Technical note: Mobile open dynamic chamber measurement of methane macroseeps in lakes. 2020. Copernicus Publications.

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Rechteinhaber: Frederic Thalasso et al.

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