Variations of atmospheric methane supply from the Sea of Okhotsk unduced by the seasonal in cover

Lammers, Stephan, Suess, Erwin, Mantsurov, M. N. and Anikiev, V. V. (1995) Variations of atmospheric methane supply from the Sea of Okhotsk unduced by the seasonal in cover Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 9 (3). pp. 351-358. DOI 10.1029/95GB01144.

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Measurements of dissolved methane in the surface waters of the western Sea of Okhotsk are evaluated in terms of methane exchange rates and are used to assess the magnitude of seasonal variations of methane fluxes from the ocean to the atmosphere in this area. Methane concentrations northeast of Sakhalin were observed to range from 385 nmol L−1 under the ice cover in winter to 6 nmol L−1 in the icefree midsummer season. The magnitude of supersaturations indicates that this part of the Okhotsk Sea is a significant source for atmospheric methane. From the seasonal variation of the supersaturations in the surface waters it is evident that the air-sea exchange is interrupted during the winter and methane from sedimentary sources accumulates under the ice cover. According to our measurements an initial early summer methane pulse into the atmosphere of the order of 560 mol km−2 d−1 can be expected when the supersaturated surface waters are exposed by the retreating ice. The methane flux in July is approximately 150 mol km−2 d−1 which is of the order of the average annual flux in the survey area. The magnitude of the seasonal CH4 flux variation northeast of Sakhalin corresponds to an amount of 7.3 × 105 g km−2 whereby 74% or 5.4 × 105 g km−2 are supplied to the atmosphere between April and July. For the whole Sea of Okhotsk the annual methane flux is roughly 0.13 × 1012 g (terragrams), based on the assumption that 15% of the entire area emit methane. Variations of long-term data of atmospheric methane which are recorded at the same latitude adjacent to areas with seasonal ice cover show a regional methane pulse between April and July. The large-scale level of atmospheric methane in the northern hemisphere undergoes an amplitudinal variation of about 25 parts per billion by volume (ppbv) which translates into approximately 36 Tg. Thus the estimated 0.6 Tg of ice-induced methane dynamics in northern latitudes can hardly explain this seasonal signal. However, the effects of seasonal ice cover on pulsed release of methane appear strong enough to contribute, in concert with other seasonal sources, to characteristic short-term wobbles in the atmospheric methane budget which are observed between 50°N and 60°N.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Dissolved methane, surface waters, western Sea of Okhotsk
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB2 Marine Biogeochemistry > FB2-MG Marine Geosystems
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1029/95GB01144
ISSN: 0886-6236
Date Deposited: 04 Jul 2008 18:35
Last Modified: 17 Jul 2018 11:50

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