EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Increasing methane emissions from the North Slope of Alaska since 2000 and late Autumn-Winter emissions from multiple Arctic regions

Rebecca H. Ward1, Anita L. Ganesan1, Colm Sweeney2, John Miller2, Mathias Goeckede3, Tuomas Laurila4, Juha Hatakka4, Viktor Ivakhov5, and Alexander Makshtas6
Rebecca H. Ward et al.
  • 1University of Bristol, School of Geographical Sciences, United Kingdom of Great Britain – England, Scotland, Wales (
  • 2NOAA Global Monitoring Laboratory, Boulder, Colorado, United States
  • 3Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Jena, Germany
  • 4Finnish Meteorological Institute, Helsinki, Finland
  • 5Voeikov Main Geophysical Observatory, St Petersburg, Russia
  • 6Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute, St Petersburg, Russia

Large stores of carbon frozen in the Arctic as permafrost are under threat of thawing as temperatures in the Arctic increase at a rate four times that of the global mean. This study uses recent atmospheric data from the North Slope of Alaska and Northeast Siberia to provide the most up-to-date assessment of emissions and trends from these two major high-latitude regions.

We use two methods to quantify emissions and assess trends across different seasons: 1) Using 35 years of data from Barrow, Alaska, a wind sector method that quantifies trends in emissions by calculating concentration enhancements over background using wind direction to identify the land sector (first used in Sweeney et al., 2016), and 2) using Barrow data and recent data from three Siberian stations, an inversion method with the high-resolution atmospheric transport model NAME that quantifies both emissions and trends from these regions. We use results from these two approaches to quantify the temperature sensitivity (Q10) of soils based on correlations between surface air and ground temperatures with methane emissions.

With the inclusion of atmospheric concentration data after 2015, we now show that land emissions from the North Slope of Alaska have been increasing since 2000, reflecting a change from previous analyses, which showed no significant increase in summertime methane emissions between 1986-2014 (Sweeney et al., 2016). We find significant emissions from the late shoulder season (Autumn-Winter), which has historically been undermeasured and underrepresented in models and emissions inventories, in this region of Alaska as well as two North-eastern Siberian locations, the Taymyr Peninsula and the East Siberian Lowlands. We show that emissions during this late-season have been growing over the past two decades at a rate similar to summer-time emissions.

Our results based on long-term atmospheric data can be used to show that important change is happening in the Arctic, with an increasing emissions trend and the presence of late shoulder season emissions.

How to cite: Ward, R. H., Ganesan, A. L., Sweeney, C., Miller, J., Goeckede, M., Laurila, T., Hatakka, J., Ivakhov, V., and Makshtas, A.: Increasing methane emissions from the North Slope of Alaska since 2000 and late Autumn-Winter emissions from multiple Arctic regions, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-7504,, 2023.