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Old Carbon and Greenhouse Effect
January 11, 2016

Predictions of the amount of gas released by thawing permafrost in the Arctic are based on very limited data and results obtained may poorly reflect the actual amounts that will be released. This is why CEN Post-Doctoral Fellow Frédéric Bouchard and his colleagues Isabelle Laurion, Daniel Fortier, and Vilmantas Preskienis have measured CO2 and methane emissions from 21 ponds and 2 lakes on Bylot Island in the Canadian High Arctic in 2013 and 2014.The age of the released carbon must be calculated in order to understand the impact the released carbon will have on the climate. Indeed, “young” carbon (a few decades or centuries old) will have little impact since this carbon is already part of the current carbon cycle. On the other hand, if the released carbon is “old”, it represents an additional amount of carbon which is supplementary to the current cycle, thus amplifying the greenhouse effect. The results obtained on Bylot Island, published in the journal Biogeosciences, contrast with results previously published and highlight a pressing need to measure gas fluxes throughout the year. Frédéric Bouchard and his colleagues are presently working of the development of tools which can measure gas fluxes in remote areas of the High Arctic even in the dead of winter.

You can read the text by Jean-François Cliche « Safari au gaz en Arctique » (in French) published on Le Soleil’s web site on December the 30th, 2015.

To read the original paper, click here.

F. Bouchard, I. Laurion, V. Preskienis, D. Fortier, X. Xu, and M. J. Whiticar. 2015. Modern to millennium-old greenhouse gases emitted from ponds and lakes of the Eastern Canadian Arctic (Bylot Island, Nunavut). Biogeosciences, 12, 7279-7298.


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