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

Drivers of methane variability in Arctic ponds

Zoé Rehder1,2, Anna Zaplavnova3, and Lars Kutzbach4
Zoé Rehder et al.
  • 1Max Planck Institute for Meteorology , Hamburg, Germany
  • 2International Max Planck Research School on Earth System Modelling, Hamburg, Germany
  • 3Department of Geology and Geophysics, Novosibirsk State University, Novosibirsk, Russia
  • 4Institute of Soil Science, Universität Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany

Arctic ponds are significant sources of methane, but their overall contribution to pan-Arctic methane emissions is still uncertain. Ponds come in different sizes and shapes, which are associated with different stages of permafrost degradation. Methane concentrations and fluxes show large spatiotemporal variability. To better understand this variability, as a first step towards upscaling pond methane emissions, we studied 41 ponds in the Lena River Delta, northeast Siberia. We collected water samples at different locations and depths in each pond and determined methane concentrations using gas chromatography. Additionally, we collected information on the geomorphology, vegetation cover as well as on key physical and chemical properties of the ponds and combined them with meteorological data.

The ponds are divided into three geomorphological types with distinct differences in methane concentrations: water-filled degraded polygon centers, water-filled interpolygonal troughs and larger collapsed and merged polygons. These ponds exhibit mean surface methane concentrations (with standard deviation) of 1.2 ± 1.3 μmol L-1, 4.3 ± 4.9 μmol L-1 and 0.9 ± 0.7 μmol L-1 respectively, while mean bottom methane concentrations amount to 102.6 ± 145.4 μmol L-1, 263.3 ± 275.6 μmol L-1 and 17.0 ± 34.1 μmol L-1. Using principle components and multiple linear regressions, we show that a large portion of spatial variability can be explained by the ponds’ shape and vegetation. Merged ponds have the least relative vegetation cover, and they also tend to be better mixed, both of which explains the lowest methane concentrations and the lowest variability in these ponds. Vegetation covers larger fractions in polygon centers and troughs, leading to a larger methane variability. Finally, troughs, as they are underlain by ice wedges, exhibit more pronounced stratification and the highest methane concentrations. More results will be presented at the conference.

How to cite: Rehder, Z., Zaplavnova, A., and Kutzbach, L.: Drivers of methane variability in Arctic ponds, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-9670,, 2020


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