Alaska’s Bubbling Thermokarst Lakes - NASA Goddard Video

Alaska’s Bubbling Thermokarst Lakes - NASA Goddard Video

Bubbles, bubbles, and more bubbles, in a steady stream. Many lakes in the boreal regions of Alaska are emitting methane, the product of decomposing organic matter left over from the Ice Age.

Thawing permafrost has caused areas of land to slump and fill up with water, creating these bodies of water called 'thermokarst lakes.' The water then exacerbates the thawing, expanding the size of the lake and producing even more methane. In the early cold season, ice covers the lakes and traps methane in large pockets just beneath the surface.

University of Alaska Fairbanks scientists working as part of NASA’s Arctic Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE) find and measure the methane gas in these pockets seep-by-seep and lake-by-lake. ABoVE combines precise methane measurements from individual lakes with satellite data that can monitor lakes like these across the Arctic, to accurately model how much methane sub-lake seeps are adding to the atmosphere.

Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/Jefferson Beck

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