Tropospheric impact of methane emissions from clathrates in the Arctic Region Academic Article uri icon


  • Abstract. A highly potent greenhouse gas, methane, is locked in the solid phase as ice-like deposits containing a mixture of water and gas (mostly methane) called clathrates in both ocean sediments and underneath permafrost regions. Clathrates are stable under high pressures and low temperatures. In a warming climate, increases in ocean temperatures could lead to dissociation of the clathrates and release methane into the ocean and subsequently the atmosphere. This is of particular importance in the shallow parts of the Arctic Ocean, since clathrates are expected to start outgassing abruptly at depths of around 300 m. In this paper, we present a comparison of simulations from the Community Earth System Model (CESM1) for present-day conditions with and without additional methane emissions from a plausible clathrate release scenario based on a state-of-the-art ocean sediment model. The CESM model includes a fully interactive physical ocean and we added a fast atmospheric chemistry mechanism that represents methane as a fully interactive tracer (with emissions rather than concentration boundary conditions) along with the main chemical reactions for methane, ozone, and nitrous oxide. The results show that such Arctic clathrate emissions increase methane concentrations non-uniformly, and that increases in surface ozone concentrations are greatest in polluted regions. We also find that the interannual variability in surface methane and ozone increases.

author list (cited authors)

  • Bhattacharyya, S., Cameron-Smith, P., Bergmann, D., Reagan, M., Elliott, S., & Moridis, G.

citation count

  • 2

complete list of authors

  • Bhattacharyya, S||Cameron-Smith, P||Bergmann, D||Reagan, M||Elliott, S||Moridis, G

publication date

  • October 2012