ISSN 2070-7401 (Print), ISSN 2411-0280 (Online)
Sovremennye problemy distantsionnogo zondirovaniya Zemli iz kosmosa


Sovremennye problemy distantsionnogo zondirovaniya Zemli iz kosmosa, 2016, Vol. 13, No. 2, pp. 107-119

Seasonal and interannual variability of atmospheric methane over Arctic Ocean from satellite data

L.N. Yurganov 1 , I. Leifer 2 , C. Lund Myhre 3 
1 University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Baltimore, USA
2 Bubbleology Research International, Santa-Barbara, USA
3 Norwegian Institute for Air Research, Kjeller, Norway

Accepted: 09.02.2016
DOI: 10.21046/2070-7401-2016-13-2-107-119 

Global increasing of atmospheric methane since 2007–2008 after a decade of its stability requires its investigation and explanation. Locations and nature of growing methane sources are still under discussion. Recent warming of the Arctic stimulated speculations about dissociation of methane hydrates in the Arctic seabed and a new climatic positive feedback. Unfortunately, regular measurements of methane concentrations over the surface of the Arctic Ocean are lacking. Satellite methane retrievals obtained at the Thermal IR (TIR) spectral region are possible year round, day and night. In this paper methane low tropospheric satellite retrievals over the Arctic Ocean from spectrometers using the band near 1300 cm-1 were analyzed. There have been found favorable and unfavorable areas and periods for satellite TIR measurements. Temperature contrast, defined here as the temperature difference between the surface and the altitude of 4 km, was used as a parameter characterizing sensitivity to the lower troposphere: data with the temperature contrast less than 10°C were discarded as unrepresentative for the lower troposphere. Maximal positive methane anomalies were observed along coasts of Norway, Novaya Zemlya, and Spitsbergen in November – December. According to preliminary estimates, the seas of the Western Arctic are responsible for ~68% of total emission from the Arctic Ocean. East Siberian Arctic Shelf (ESAS) contributes ~12% of marine emission in the Arctic. Arctic Ocean methane emission comprise ~68% of the Arctic land emission to the North from 60° N. Satellite data since 2002 do not confirm conclusively a decisive role of the Arctic Ocean sources for the global CH4 acceleration after 2007.
Keywords: AIRS, IASI, Arctic Ocean, atmospheric methane
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