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UAF researchers use space-based radar to measure methane emissions in Arctic lakes
University of Alaska Fairbanks
Date: 2020-05-27
One of the many greenhouse gases that is contributing to global warming is methane. Methane is emitted a lot of ways, including from lakes across Alaska. However, studies on how much methane flows up from those lakes into the atmosphere haven’t always been very accurate. New research from the University of Alaska Fairbanks utilizing radar instruments positioned on satellites has led to a breakthrough in lake methane emission research. That research could help climate scientists better see how Alaska’s lakes contribute to the world’s methane emissions. As permafrost under lakes begins to break down, it releases carbon, which is broken down by tiny microorganisms, which in turn, release methane. “Sometimes you’ll sit on the edge of the lake and you can see a little pop,” said “And you might think ‘oh hey, it’s a fish.’ But it could also be a little methane bubble that’s coming out.” Since methane is an odorless, colorless gas, it can be difficult to monitor how much is released by lakes. But not when they’re frozen. “The ice forms around the bubbles; more bubbles are released and [ice] forms around the bubbles,” Engram said. “And the ice creates a time-lapse freeze frame, pardon the pun. It’s a freeze-frame historical record of the methane bubbling.” To study these methane bubbles, Engram and other researchers use small bubble traps to make micro-measurements of methane and then scale them up to the full area. However, she says, those aren’t super accurate. Now, UAF researchers have begun to use what’s called a synthetic aperture radar, or SAR, to better map methane being released from lakes. Basically, a satellite sends a pulse down to a lake. A portion of that pulse bounces back to the satellite in what’s called a backscatter. Backscatters range in luminosity from kind of dim to very bright. Engram and other researchers used SAR to map methane emissions from 48 lakes across five regions of Alaska, including the northern Seward Peninsula near Kotzebue, lakes near Atqasuk — south of Utqiagvik — and the Fairbanks area. Of course, researchers still had to go out to the lakes that SAR was mapping to make sure it actually worked. To Engram’s delight, it did. Engram says the success of using SAR to map out methane emissions in Arctic lakes means the system can monitor thousands of lakes across the state. And that’s not just exciting from a research perspective. Engram says that there isn’t a lot of global data on methane release from lakes, and use of the SAR can help create a baseline to track in the future. That will be useful to climate scientists tracking changes in the atmosphere. Studies show that methane is about 30 times stronger than carbon dioxide as a heat-trapping gas. And while methane is naturally emitted from these lakes, Engram says the amount is drastically dwarfed by the amount produced from those anthropogenic sources. (Source: University of Alaska Fairbanks Water and Environmental Research Center, KOTZ, 17 May, 2020) Contact: University of Alaska Fairbanks Water and Environmental Research Center, Melanie Engram, (907) 474-7789, (907) 474-7041 – fax, nmisarti@alaska.edu R, www.ine.uaf.edu/werc

More Low-Carbon Energy News Methane news,  Methane Emissions news,  

More Low-Carbon Energy News Methane,  Methane Emissions,  

More Low-Carbon Energy News Methane,  Methane Emissions,  

More Low-Carbon Energy News Methane,  Methane Emissions,  


Woods Hole Developing Arctic Carbon Monitoring System (Ind. Report)
Woods Hole Research Center
Date: 2020-02-24
In the Bay State, the Woods Hole Research Center (WHRC), in partnership with the Arctic Initiative at the Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs (BCSIA), reports it aims to develop a comprehensive monitoring and projection system for Arctic Carbon Cycling, complete with interactive web visualization, modeling, and policy engagement.

Carbon emissions from thawing permafrost are omitted from the models and reports that inform international climate policy formulation by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Considering that permafrost carbon emissions will likely "use up" much of the remaining allowable carbon budget, incorporating these emissions into a policy framework is an immediate priority and will probably reveal the need for substantial reductions in allowable emissions from other sources.

The ability to model and predict this potentially ruinous climate feedback is far from adequate today because of poor understanding of the processes that govern permafrost thaw and subsequent carbon emissions. These monitoring gaps severely limit the ability to integrate observations across the Arctic using remote sensing and modeling and thus to provide scientists and policy makers with reliable assessments and projections of current and future carbon emissions from a warming Arctic.

Access Arctic Carbon Monitoring and Prediction System details HERE and HERE. (Source: Woods Hole Research Center, Feb., 2020) Contact: Woods Hole Research Center, 508-540-9900, 508-540-9700 - fax, info@whrc.org, wwwwhrc.org; Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, 617-495-1155, www.belfercenter.org

More Low-Carbon Energy News Woods Hole,  Woods Hole Research Center,  Permafrost,  Methane,  Climate Change,  


INSTAAR Studies Permafrost Thaw, Climate Change (Int'l. Report)
Climate Change,Colorado Institute of Arctic and Alpine Researc
Date: 2020-02-10
A study from the University of Colorado Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR) in Boulder has found the possibility of abrupt permafrost thawing will likely occur in less than 20 pct of permafrost frozen land. The study found the evidence is mixed as to whether this not-so-permanent, slowly thawing permafrost has started to vent significant quantities of methane or CO2.

Global Permafrost covers an area almost equal to Canada and the United States combined, and holds about 1,500 billion tonnes or carbon -- twice as much as in the atmosphere and three times the amount humanity has emitted since the start of industrialization.

According to the UN's scientific advisory body for climate change, the IPCC, global permafrost areas show a decrease of 24 pct by 2100. The IPPC also notes that 70 pct of permafrost could gradually disappear if fossil fuel emissions continue growing over the next 50 years and release 60 to 100 billion tonnes of carbon by 2300. This is in addition to the 200 billion tonnes of carbon expected to be released in other regions, according to the study. (Source: Arctic and Alpine Research, Nature, AFP, Feb., 2020) Contact: INSTAAR, Merritt Turetsky, (303) 492-6387, (303) 492-3287 - fax, www.colorado.edu › innovate › institute-arctic-and-alpine-research

More Low-Carbon Energy News Carbon Emissions,  Climate Change,  Permafrost,  


Moscow says Nyet to Fossil Fuel Reductions (Int'l. Report)
Climate Change
Date: 2020-01-08
The Barents Observer is reporting Russia's response to climate change includes no measures aimed at reducing fossil fuels extraction. On the contrary, the country intends to continue to boost production of the world's top climate change triggering hydrocarbons -- oil, gas and coal.

In 2019, Russian oil production totaled 560 million tons, natural gas amounted to 738 billion cubic meters, and coal production increased to 440,7 million tonnes -- a 30 pct increase over a seven year period -- and is expected to reach as much as 670 million tonnes within 15 years.

Since the mid-1970s, Russian air temperatures have increased by an average of 0,47 degree С per decade, which is 2,5 times more than the average global temperature increase. Other climate change impacts include more extreme weather, the melting of permafrost, more drought and flooding, loss of biodiversity, infectious diseases outbreaks and a the violation of the entire environmental balance.

Even so, the Kremlin reportedly has no coherent plan to fight climate change and, as noted in its 2019 Energy Doctrine, the Kremlin asserts Russia's position as an energy superpower is challenged by international efforts to combat climate change and the rapid shift to a "green economy" must be perceived as a foreign policy challenge and an issue of concern. (Source: Barents Observer, 6 Jan., 2019)

More Low-Carbon Energy News Climate Change,  Fossil Fuel,  


Permafrost Emits More CO2 Than Summer Plants Absorb (Ind. Report)
Carbon Emissions
Date: 2019-10-28
According to a report in Airdrei Today, scientist have found Arctic soil has warmed to the point where it releases more carbon in winter than northern plants can absorb during the summer. The finding means the extensive belt of tundra around the globe -- a vast reserve of carbon that dwarfs what's held in the atmosphere -- is becoming a source of greenhouse gas emissions responsible for climate change.

Until recently, scientists assumed the microbial processes that release methane and CO2 from permafrost came to a halt in the cold. With this study, scientist found CO2 emissions of about 1.7 billion tpy -- twice the previous estimates -- just over one 1 billion tpy of CO2 Arctic plants are thought to take in from the atmosphere during growing season. The net result is that Arctic soil around the globe is probably already releasing more than 600 million tpy of CO2.

Under a business-as-usual scenario, emissions from northern soil would be likely to release 41 pct more carbon by the end of the century, even if significant mitigation efforts are made, those emissions will increase by 17 pct, said the report. (Source: Airdrie Today, Canadian Press, 22 Oct., 2019)

More Low-Carbon Energy News CO2,  Carbon Emissions,  


Melting Arctic Permafrost Impact Costs Pegged at $70tn (Int'l)
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
Date: 2019-09-27
As previously reported, a study of the economic consequences of a melting Arctic from the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT) in Espoo has found that the release of methane and CO2 from thawing permafrost will accelerate global warming and add up to $70 trillion to the worlds climate bill.

The study authors contend their study is the first to calculate the economic impact of permafrost melt and reduced albedo -- a measure of how much light that hits a surface is reflected without being absorbed -- based on the most advanced computer models of what is likely to happen in the Arctic as temperatures rise.

The study notes that on the current trajectory of at least 3 degree C of warming by the end of the century, melting permafrost is expected to discharge up to 280 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide and 3 gigatonnes of methane, which is 10 to 20 times more damaging to the the afmosphere than carbon dioxide. This would increase the global climate-driven impacts by $70 trillion between now and 2300, the report concludes. (Source: VIT, Weekened Leader, 22 April, 2019) Contact: VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, +358 20 722 111, +358 20 722 7001 - fax., www.vttresearch.com

More Low-Carbon Energy News VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland news,  VTT news,  Climate Change news,  Methane news,  


F4CR Calls for Global Action on Climate Restoration by 2050 (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
Foundation for Climate Restoration
Date: 2019-09-18
The New York-based not-for-profit Foundation for Climate Restoration (F4CR) ihas released the findings from its first Wite Paper -- Climate Restoration: Solutions to the Greatest Threat Facing Humanity and Nature Today. Key points from the report include:
  • Current international commitments to limit temperature rise to 2 degree C over pre-industrial conditions would still leave atmospheric CO2 at levels 50 pct higher than humans have ever experienced -- presenting conditions humans are unlikely to survive long-term.

  • Climate Restoration is possible using both technologies and financing available today.

  • Climate Restoration solutions must be permanent, scalable and financeable. Examples of solutions that meet these criteria include mineralizing CO2 into synthetic limestone, large-scale restoration of native forests and promoting photosynthesis and healthy fisheries through ocean restoration methods.

  • Because commercially viable carbon sequestration solutions already exist, the private sector can play a significant role in leading the way toward Climate Restoration. Companies are already buying carbon byproducts and can use their purchasing power to restore the climate if we further raise awareness of products derived from Climate Restoration methods and establish a supportive policy environment.

    Download the Climate Restoration: Solutions to the Greatest Threat Facing Humanity and Nature Today White Paper HERE.

    Climate Restoration is the global movement to return the Earth's climate systems to the safe and healthy state in which humanity and our natural world evolved. This requires returning atmospheric CO2 to safe levels of less than 300 parts per million (ppm) and restoring sufficient Arctic ice to prevent permafrost melt and the resulting disastrous methane emissions. Over the course of the last 100 years, CO2 levels have already increased by nearly 50 pct, exceeding 415 ppm in 2019, and continue to climb. (Source: Foundation for Climate Restoration , PR, 17 Sept., 2019) Contact: Foundation for Climate Restoration, Rick Parnell, CEO, (347) 741-1503, www.f4cr.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Foundation for Climate Restoration,  Climate Change,  Carbon Emissions ,  


  • Permafrost Collapses 70 Yrs Early (Opinions, Editorial & Asides)
    Climate Change
    Date: 2019-06-24
    "Climate scientists have been warning about the dangers of global warming for decades. Now, it's happening, in spades. It should be noted that America's politicians are guilty of ignoring warnings by their own scientists. Those warnings officially started 31 years ago when Dr. James Hansen, then head of NASA Institute for Space Studies, testified before the Senate[ in 1988: 'If the current pace of the buildup of these gases (GHG) continues, the effect is likely to be a warming of 3 to 9 degrees F from the year 2025 to 2050, according to these projections. This rise in temperature is not expected to be uniform around the globe but to be greater in the higher latitudes.'

    "Global warming is prominent throughout the North. Ergo, climate news doesn't get much worse (well, actually, it could, and will) than the collapse of permafrost in the Canadian High Arctic's extreme coldest region (where): 'Observed maximum thaw depths at our sites are already exceeding those projected to occur by 2090. The aforementioned study, from 2003-2016, found permafrost melt up to 240 pct more than previous years. In geological terms, that's like winning the Indy 500, hands down. That permafrost had been frozen solid for 'thousands of years.' Accordingly, scientists predicted the permafrost 'wouldn't melt for another 70 years.' Yet, the landscape has already collapsed by up to three feet.

    "Bottom line, the top 25 pct of the Northern Hemisphere, where permafrost is ubiquitous, is coming apart at the seams, and climate scientists are behind the eight ball while America's politicians deny the legitimacy of science and openly spit on the underlying thesis of anthropogenic global warming. In point of fact, Farquharson's '70-yr too early permafrost collapse' makes the onset of RGW look like a dead-ringer, but when?

    "There's no getting around the fact that ecosystems are collapsing. The evidence is too palpable to ignore. It's serious; it's deadly, and it could be too late to do much to stop it, other than a last-ditch WWII Marshall Plan Worldwide Consortium dedicated to converting the world to renewable energy, and forcing removal of CO2 from the atmosphere, yet, those solutions take years and years of planning, setup, construction, and billions upon billions of funding. It's not happening.

    Meanwhile, carbon that has been trapped in and under permafrost over eons readies to escape to turbo-charge an already over-saturated turbo-charged climate. It's literally happening right now. The waiting room is already full. Farquharson's study proves it, and Alaska's permafrost carbon emissions that compete with U.S. commercial CO2 emissions prove it, as sled dogs wade through it." (Source: Dissident Voice, Robert Hunziker, 21 June, 2019)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Climate Change,  Global Warming,  


    Melting Arctic Permafrost Impact Costs Pegged at $70tn (Int'l)
    Methane
    Date: 2019-04-26
    A study of the economic consequences of a melting Arctic from the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT) in Espoo has found that the release of methane and CO2 from thawing permafrost will accelerate global warming and add up to $70 trillion to the worlds climate bill.

    The study authors contend their study is the first to calculate the economic impact of permafrost melt and reduced albedo -- a measure of how much light that hits a surface is reflected without being absorbed -- based on the most advanced computer models of what is likely to happen in the Arctic as temperatures rise.

    The study notes that on the current trajectory of at least 3 degree C of warming by the end of the century, melting permafrost is expected to discharge up to 280 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide and 3 gigatonnes of methane, which is 10 to 20 times more damaging to the the afmosphere than carbon dioxide. This would increase the global climate-driven impacts by $70 trillion between now and 2300, the report concludes. (Source: VIT, Weekened Leader, 22 April, 2019) Contact: VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, +358 20 722 111, +358 20 722 7001 - fax., www.vttresearch.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News VIT,  Permafrost,  Climate Change,  Methane,  


    Alpine Tundra CO2 Emissions Exacerbate Climate Change (Ind. Report)
    University of Colorado
    Date: 2019-03-22
    According to recently released research from University of Colorado Boulder, alpine tundra in Colorado's Front Range emits more CO2 than it captures annually, potentially creating a feedback loop that could increase climate warming and lead to even more CO2 emissions in the future. The report notes a similar phenomenon exists in the Arctic, where research in recent decades has shown that melting permafrost is unearthing long-frozen tundra soil and releasing CO2 reserves that had been buried for centuries.

    The study showed that barren, wind-scoured tundra landscapes above 11,000 feet emitted more CO2 than they captured each year, and that a fraction of that CO2 was relatively old during the winter, the first such finding of its kind in temperate latitudes.

    The report also notes that while the alpine tundra's net CO2 contributions are small compared to a forest's sequestration capability, the newly-documented effect may act as something of a counterweight, hampering atmospheric CO2 reductions from mountain ecosystems in general. (Source: University of Colorado at Boulder , PHYS.ORG, Mar., 21, 2019) Contact: University of Colorado at Boulder, John Knowles, Department of Geography, Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR), (303)492-2631, (303) 492-7501-fax, john.knowles@colorado.edu, www.colorado.edu/geography

    More Low-Carbon Energy News CO2,  CO2 Emissions,  Climate Change,  


    Report on Effects of a Changing Climate to the Department of Defense (Report Attached)
    US DOD, Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment,
    Date: 2019-01-23
    The Pentagon released a short report this week detailing how a changing climate is a national security threat and makes the U.S. military's job around the world harder.

    The paper focuses primarily on how climate impacts US military installations. Of the seventy-nine military complexes included in the study, most are or will within 20 years be vulnerable to recurrent flooding, drought, desertification, wildfires, and thawing permafrost.

    Download the report HERE. (Source: US DOD, Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, January, 2019) Contact: US DOD, Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, www.acq.osd.mil

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Carbon Emissions,  Climate Change,  


    Methane GHG "Feedback Loop" Discovered in Freshwater Lakes (R&D)
    Cambridge University
    Date: 2018-05-07
    A new Cambridge University study of chemical reactions that occur when organic matter decomposes in freshwater reports that the debris from trees suppresses production of the greenhouse gas methane while debris from plants found in reed beds actually promotes methane. The report notes that the constantly evolving lakes of the northern hemisphere -- already a major source of methane -- could almost double their emissions in the next fifty years.

    The report findings suggest the discovery of yet another “feedback loop” in which environmental disruption and climate change trigger the release of ever more greenhouse gas that further warms the planet, similar to the concerns over the methane released by fast-melting arctic permafrost. The report also finds up to 77 pct of the methane emissions from an individual lake are the result of the organic matter shed primarily by plants that grow in or near the water. This matter gets buried in the sediment found toward the edge of lakes, where it is consumed by communities of microbes. Methane gets generated as a byproduct, which then bubbles up to the surface.

    The study, funded by the UK Natural Environment Research Council, is published in the journal Nature Communications. (Source: Cambridge Univ., Eurasia Review , 6 May, 2018) Contact: Cambridge Univ., Dr. Andrew Tanentzap Department of Plant Sciences. +44 1223 333900, www.plantsci.cam.ac.uk

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Methane,  Cambridge University,  


    Ancient Carbon Found in Canadian Arctic Waters (Ind. Report)
    Vrije University
    Date: 2018-03-07
    The Washington Post is reporting that research from Amsterdam's Vrije University and a U.K. University utilizing radiocarbon dating on the content of waters in Canada's Northwest Territories have found what they described as "abundant pre-industrial carbon." The research is an indicator that ancient carbon released by thawing permafrost could be aggravating climate change to an as yet un-dertermined degree.

    The researchers are aiming to establish a basic measurement of the amount of old carbon flowing into Northwest Territories waters, and whether the amounts of old carbon are within usual norms. The research was published in the February journal Environmental Research Letters. (Source: Brinkwire, Washington Post, 5 Mar., 2018) Contact: Vrije University Amsterdam, Joshua Dean, +31 20 598 9898, www.vu.nl/en


    NASA Warns of Arctic Permafrost Carbon Release (Ind. Report)
    NASA,NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
    Date: 2018-03-07
    A new study from the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, has found that Arctic permafrost -- formerly thought to be at least temporarily shielded from global warming by its extreme environment -- will thaw enough to become a permanent source of carbon to the atmosphere in this century, with the peak transition occurring in 40 to 60 years. According to the study, by the year 2300, total carbon emissions from this region will be 10 times higher than all human-produced fossil fuel emissions in 2016.

    The study, led by scientist Nicholas Parazoo, used data on soil temperatures in Alaska and Siberia from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, with a numerical model from the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, that calculates changes in carbon emissions as plants grow and permafrost thaws in response to climate change. (Source: NASA, India Blooms News Service , 6 Mar., 2018) Contact: NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Nicholas Parazoo, (818) 354-4321, www.jpl.nasa.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory ,  CO2,  Carbon Dioxide,  Carbon Emissions,  Permafrost,  NASA,  

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