Archives for posts with tag: Arctic methane

It’s been a while since we posted here! After the intensity of the field work, the MAMM team has spent the last few years analysing the results, running computer models, and some of the team have even found the time to get married (not to each other!) or have a baby. Suffice to say, we have been busy.

Now the research has officially ended, we have published — or are in the process of getting published — many journal articles. Below is a list of those that are already published. Most are freely available by clicking on the title of the article.

As they are scientific articles, try as we might, they may not be the easiest to read for the uninitiated. So in time, we will post here some summary blog posts. In the interim, you can take a look at the poster below for some pretty pictures and a few highlights from MAMM without all the gory details.

If you are new here and have no idea what I’m on about, you can read a brief introduction to this blog here, or a slightly longer introduction to the project here.


MAMM research highlight poster

Some highlights from our Arctic Methane research.


Publications so far:

Nisbet, E. G., E. J. Dlugokencky, M. R. Manning, D. Lowry, R. E. Fisher, J. L. France, S. E. Michel, J. B. Miller, J. W. C. White, B. Vaughn, P. Bousquet, J. A. Pyle, N. J. Warwick, M. Cain, R. Brownlow, G. Zazzeri, M. Lanoisellé, A. C. Manning, E. Gloor, D. E. J. Worthy, E.-G. Brunke, C. Labuschagne, E. W. Wolff, A. L. Ganesan (2016), Rising atmospheric methane: 2007–2014 growth and isotopic shift, Global Biogeochem. Cycles, 30, doi:10.1002/2016GB005406.

Myhre, C. L., B. Ferré, S. M. Platt, A. Silyakova, O. Hermansen, G. Allen, I. Pisso, N. Schmidbauer, A.Stohl, J.Pitt, P.Jansson, J.Greinert, C. Percival, A.M.Fjaeraa, S.J.O’Shea, M. Gallagher, M.LeBreton, K.N.Bower, S.J.B.Bauguitte, S.Dalsøren, S. Vadakkepuliyambatta, R. E. Fisher, E.G.Nisbet, D.Lowry, G.Myhre, J.A.Pyle, M.Cain, and J. Mienert (2016), Extensive release of methane from Arctic seabed west of Svalbard during summer 2014 does not influence the atmosphere, Geophys. Res. Lett., 43, 46244631, doi:10.1002/2016GL068999.

O’Shea, S. J., Allen, G., Gallagher, M. W., Bower, K., Illingworth, S. M., Muller, J. B. A., Jones, B. T., Percival, C. J., Bauguitte, S. J-B., Cain, M., Warwick, N., Quiquet, A., Skiba, U., Drewer, J., Dinsmore, K., Nisbet, E. G., Lowry, D., Fisher, R. E., France, J. L., Aurela, M., Lohila, A., Hayman, G., George, C., Clark, D. B., Manning, A. J., Friend, A. D., and Pyle, J. (2014) Methane and carbon dioxide fluxes and their regional scalability for the European Arctic wetlands during the MAMM project in summer 2012, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 14, 13159-13174, doi:10.5194/acp-14-13159-2014.

Allen, G., Illingworth, S. M., O’Shea, S. J., Newman, S., Vance, A., Bauguitte, S. J.-B., Marenco, F., Kent, J., Bower, K., Gallagher, M. W., Muller, J., Percival, C. J., Harlow, C., Lee, J., and Taylor, J. P. (2014) Atmospheric composition and thermodynamic retrievals from the ARIES airborne TIR-FTS system – Part 2: Validation and results from aircraft campaigns, Atmos. Meas. Tech., 7, 4401-4416, doi:10.5194/amt-7-4401-2014.

Pitt, J. R., Le Breton, M., Allen, G., Percival, C. J., Gallagher, M. W., Bauguitte, S. J.-B., O’Shea, S. J., Muller, J. B. A., Zahniser, M. S., Pyle, J., and Palmer, P. I. (2016) The development and evaluation of airborne in situ N2O and CH4 sampling using a quantum cascade laser absorption spectrometer (QCLAS), Atmos. Meas. Tech., 9, 63-77, doi:10.5194/amt-9-63-2016.

Jones, B. T.,  J.B.A. Muller, S. J. O’Shea, A. Bacak, M. Le Breton, T. J. Bannan, K. E. Leather, A. Murray Booth, S. Illingworth, K. Bower, M. W. Gallagher, G. Allen, D. E. Shallcross, S. J.-B. Bauguitte, J. A. Pyle, C. J. Percival (2014) Airborne measurements of HC(O)OH in the European Arctic: A winter – summer comparison, 99, 556–567, DOI:10.1016/j.atmosenv.2014.10.030.

Dinsmore, K. J., Drewer, J., Levy, P. E., George, C., Lohila, A., Aurela, M., and Skiba, U.: Growing season CH4 and N2O fluxes from a sub-arctic landscape in northern Finland, Biogeosciences Discuss., doi:10.5194/bg-2016-238, in review, 2016.

Warwick, N. J., Cain, M. L., Fisher, R., France, J. L., Lowry, D., Michel, S. E., Nisbet, E. G., Vaughn, B. H., White, J. W. C., and Pyle, J. A.: Using δ13C-CH4 and δD-CH4 to constrain Arctic methane emissions, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., doi:10.5194/acp-2016-408, in review, 2016.

A photo of wetlands from the flight featured in this paper. (Photo credit: Michelle Cain.)

A photo of wetlands from the flight featured in this paper. (Photo credit: Michelle Cain.)

Today, the MAMM team have had a new paper published based on one of our flights in July 2012. It’s quite exciting, as published papers are the end result of all our hard work, and the main way that others can find out about what we’ve been studying.

The paper is about emissions of methane and carbon dioxide from wetlands in Finland and Sweden, which is no surprise if you followed our field work! We used measurements of methane, carbon dioxide and the meteorology from the aircraft to work out how much of these greenhouse gases was coming off from the wetlands to explain the pattern we saw in the measurements.

This technique for working out the methane and carbon dioxide emissions compared really well with other methods we have of working this out from measurements on the ground or on towers just above the ground. This gives us confidence that the methods we have used are sound and the emissions we have worked out are good estimates.

We compared these emissions estimates with some computer simulations, and it turned out that our emissions were much larger than what the models simulated. This kind of comparison is a good starting point to try and improve the models and to make them more realistic, which is what we want if we are to use the models to try and test how much methane will be released under different conditions.

If you want to read the abstract and the full paper (it’s fully open access, including the peer review, which means anyone can download it), then head on over to the Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics journal:

O’Shea, S. J., Allen, G., Gallagher, M. W., Bower, K., Illingworth, S. M., Muller, J. B. A., Jones, B. T., Percival, C. J., Bauguitte, S. J-B., Cain, M., Warwick, N., Quiquet, A., Skiba, U., Drewer, J., Dinsmore, K., Nisbet, E. G., Lowry, D., Fisher, R. E., France, J. L., Aurela, M., Lohila, A., Hayman, G., George, C., Clark, D. B., Manning, A. J., Friend, A. D., and Pyle, J.: Methane and carbon dioxide fluxes and their regional scalability for the European Arctic wetlands during the MAMM project in summer 2012, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 14, 13159-13174, doi:10.5194/acp-14-13159-2014, 2014.

Sam’s latest foray in to communicating his science has taken the form of performance poetry. This is not a medium we can all master, so his video is really worth a watch! See it here:

It’s an example entry for the “Communicate Your Science Video Competition”, so if you are an Earth scientist, you can enter too. No obligation to do poetry — you can make any kind of video you like. And if you’re not a geoscientist, then you’ll be able to watch the videos and vote for your favourite in April at:

Presumably Sam’s video won’t be entered into the actual competition, as it’s acting as the example. A real shame, as I’m sure he’d have won with his lyrical genius — I’m clearly not biased in any way, shape or form!

Image/photo courtesy of the National Snow and Ice Data Center, University of Colorado, Boulder.

Gratuitous pretty picture of Arctic sea ice. This has nothing particularly to do with this post, except that you can get methane released into the atmosphere at the edge of sea ice. (Image/photo courtesy of the National Snow and Ice Data Center, University of Colorado, Boulder.)

Some of the MAMM team on detachment in July 2012 at the airport in Kiruna, Sweden.

Some of the MAMM team on detachment in July 2012 at the airport in Kiruna, Sweden.

Methane is a key greenhouse gas; the Arctic is a key region for natural emissions of methane; high summer and autumn are key periods when emissions can peak and change rapidly. Understanding the relevant processes is a key to climate prediction. As will be explained in the next blog post, the MAMM project aims to unlock some of the mysteries.

Our second intensive aircraft campaign, a complement to a longer ground-based measurement effort, kicks off on August 15, 2013. It’s an exciting – and slightly scary – period for the scientists involved. Will instruments work? Will the atmosphere cooperate? Will we be in the right place at the right time? We can’t guarantee success but we’ll work our socks off to give ourselves the best possible chance.

Intensive fieldwork is hugely rewarding – the camaraderie provides a real high. And the Arctic is a beautiful place to go. Twenty years ago, I was involved in a series of pan-European campaigns, based in Kiruna in northern Sweden, to understand Arctic stratospheric ozone loss. We were there in the winter, in a snowy landscape where temperatures fall well below zero and there is little daylight. Lakes and bogs are frozen for many months. Now, we hope to measure the methane emissions which emanate from the wetlands when the temperatures rise. Last year, we saw emission hot spots over the Finnish wetlands. This time we hope to characterise their temperature dependence. Last year we also flew to Svalbard; we’ll probably revisit and make new measurements there in September when the Arctic ocean  ice coverage will be at a minimum.

We don’t know exactly what we’ll find. That’s the nature of science. But we expect that unravelling whatever we do find will be challenging – and lots of fun.

Professor John Pyle, Principal Investigator of the MAMM project, University of Cambridge.