loading page

Satellite Year-Round Methane Measurements for the Arctic: Towards Elucidation of Methane Growth After 2014
  • +1
  • Leonid Yurganov,
  • Ira Leifer,
  • Frank Muller-Karger,
  • Thomas McClimans
Leonid Yurganov
University of Maryland Baltimore County

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

Author Profile
Ira Leifer
Bubbleology Research International
Author Profile
Frank Muller-Karger
University of South Florida St. Petersburg
Author Profile
Thomas McClimans
Author Profile


On decadal timescales, the greenhouse gas methane (CH4) is ~100 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Its abundance is increasing, many of its sources are temperature dependent. The Arctic is the site of the fastest warming globally. Feed-backs between Arctic temperature and CH4 emissions and concentrations need investigation. Unfortunately, available Arctic in situ data are extremely sparse with no marine observations outside summer. Satellite instruments measuring solar radiation reflected from the surface are ineffective in the Arctic. Thus, we leverage satellite data from AIRS, IASI-1, and IASI-2 Thermal Infrared (TIR) spectrometers, which provide year-round, day/night CH4 observations. Available in situ high latitude NOAA/ESRL surface coastal (50-85°N) flask atmospheric CH4 concentrations were compared with satellite data. We find: 1) remote sensing data revealed 150% (IASI-1, mid-upper troposphere) and 80% (surface data for Arctic stations) increases in atmospheric CH4 concentration growth rates between 2010-2014 and 2014-2017 time spans. Global NOAA/ESRL surface concentration rates increased by 90% for the same period; 2) maximum CH4 seasonal emission from the Arctic land occurs in boreal summer, while that from the Barents Kara Sea (BKS) occurs in boreal winter (Nov–Mar). Total annual Arctic Ocean CH4 emissions are preliminary estimated as ~40% of all land emissions North of 50°N; 3) marine emissions are concentrated in shelf areas within ~100 km of the coasts of major Arctic BKS lands; 4) CH4 anomalies over BKS, defined as surplus over its concentration at the North Atlantic area, grew after 2014; 5) the strongest SST increase was observed every year in the southeast Barents Sea in June due to strengthening of the warm Murman Currents and in the south Kara Sea in Sept. Direct in situ CH4 flux measurements during polar night over sea are necessary to test the satellite results.