Worldwide increase in methane bubbles due to climate change

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Gawdzilla Sama
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Worldwide increase in methane bubbles due to climate change

Postby Gawdzilla Sama » Thu Nov 23, 2017 2:53 pm

Worldwide increase in methane bubbles due to climate change
Date: November 22, 2017
Source: Radboud University Nijmegen
Summary: Due to climate change, including rising temperatures, more and more methane is bubbling up from lakes, ponds, rivers and wetlands throughout the world. The release of methane -- a potent greenhouse gas -- leads to a further increase in temperature, thus creating a positive feedback loop (also known as a 'vicious circle').

Never before have such unequivocal, strong relationships between temperature and emissions of methane bubbles been shown on such a wide, continent-spanning scale.," says biologist Sarian Kosten of Radboud University.

The study focused on shallow lakes, ponds, rivers and wetlands. These aquatic environments are relevant in the context of climate change because they are responsible for much of global greenhouse gas emissions. An important part of these emissions is caused by bubbles filled with methane gas that develop in the sediment at the bottom of these water bodies. When the bubbles reach the surface, the gas enters the atmosphere.

Higher methane emissions

For the current research, an international team of scientists studied existing literature and conducted a large experiment in close collaboration with the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW). First, existing research into methane bubbles was collected from various locations, ranging from a fishing pond in Malden (a town near Nijmegen) to postglacial lakes in northern Sweden and forest ponds in Canada. "Next, we simulated methane bubble production in 1000-litre 'mini-lakes' at the NIOO, where we could accurately control temperature and other conditions," explains Ralf Aben, biologist at Radboud University. "In this way we excluded causes other than the rise in temperature."


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