EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Methane distribution at high spatial resolution in North Sea estuaries

Ingeborg Bussmann1, Holger Brix2, Philipp Fischer1, and Götz Flöser2
Ingeborg Bussmann et al.
  • 1Alfred-Wegener Institute, Helgoland, Germany (
  • 2Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht, Geesthacht, Germany

Rivers are suspected to be a main suppliers of greenhouse gases (methane and carbon dioxide) to coastal seas, while the role of the interjacent tidal flats is still ambiguous. In this study we investigated the role of the Elbe and Weser estuaries as source of methane to the North Sea. We used high spatially resolved methane measurements from an underway degassing system and subsequent analysis with cavity ring down spectroscopy. Thus, a high-resolution representation of the methane distribution in surface waters as well as of hydrographic parameters was obtained for several cruises with two ships in 2019. For most areas, riverine methane was simply diluted by seawater, overlain by a strong tidal signal. However, on several occasions unexpectedly high methane concentrations were observed. Further detailed analysis will elucidate the role of riverine versus tidal impact on coastal North Sea methane fluxes.

How to cite: Bussmann, I., Brix, H., Fischer, P., and Flöser, G.: Methane distribution at high spatial resolution in North Sea estuaries, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-5241,, 2020


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