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Methane emission bursts from permafrost environments during autumn freeze-in: New insights from ground-penetrating radar

  • Norbert Pirk
  • Telmo Santos
  • Carl Gustafson
  • Anders J Johansson
  • Fredrik Tufvesson
  • Frans-Jan Parmentier
  • Mikhail Mastepanov
  • Torben Christensen
Publishing year: 2015
Language: English
Pages: 6732-6738
Publication/Series: Geophysical Research Letters
Volume: 42
Issue: 16
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: American Geophysical Union (AGU)

Abstract english

Large amounts of methane (CH4) are known to be emitted from permafrost environments during the autumn freeze-in, but the specific soil conditions leading up to these bursts are unclear. Therefore, we used an ultrawide band ground-penetrating radar in Northeast Greenland in autumn 2009 to estimate the volumetric composition inside the soil through dielectric characterization from 200 to 3200 MHz. Our results suggest a compression of the gas reservoir during the phase transition of soil water, which is accompanied by a peak in surface CH4 emissions. About 1 week thereafter, there seems to be a decompression event, consistent with ground cracking which allows the gas reservoir to expand again. This coincides with the largest CH4 emission, exceeding the summer maximum by a factor of 4. We argue that these complementary measurement techniques are needed to come to an understanding of tundra CH4 bursts connected to soil freezing.


  • Geosciences, Multidisciplinary
  • Electrical Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Information Engineering
  • ground-penetrating radar
  • Greenland
  • autumn freeze-in
  • methane
  • frequency domain


  • Neuronano Research Center (NRC)
  • ISSN: 1944-8007
Frans-Jan Parmentier
E-mail: frans-jan [dot] parmentier [at] nateko [dot] lu [dot] se

Associate professor

Dept of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science



Department of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science
Lund University
Sölvegatan 12
S-223 62 Lund

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