River inflow dominates methane emissions in an Arctic coastal system

This is a Preprint and has not been peer reviewed. The published version of this Preprint is available: https://doi.org/10.1029/2020GL087669. This is version 3 of this Preprint.

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Cara C M Manning , Victoria Preston, Samantha Jones, Anna Michel, David Nicholson, Patrick Duke, Mohamed Ahmed, Kevin Manganini, Brent Else, Philippe Tortell


Measurements of greenhouse gases in Arctic waters are strongly biased toward low-ice summer conditions, with few observations during periods of seasonal ice retreat. We present a year-round time series of dissolved methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O), along with targeted observations during ice melt of CH4 and carbon dioxide (CO2) in a river and estuary adjacent to Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, Canada. CH4 displayed dramatic seasonality, in contrast to limited seasonal changes in N2O. During the river freshet, CH4 concentrations in the river and ice-covered estuary were up to 240,000% saturation and 19,000% saturation, respectively, but quickly dropped by >100-fold following ice melt. Observations with a robotic kayak revealed that river-derived CH4 and CO2 were transported to the estuary and rapidly ventilated to the atmosphere once ice cover retreated. We estimate that river discharge accounts for >95% of annual CH4 sea-to-air emissions from the estuary.




Biogeochemistry, Earth Sciences, Environmental Monitoring, Environmental Sciences, Fresh Water Studies, Geochemistry, Oceanography, Oceanography and Atmospheric Sciences and Meteorology, Physical Sciences and Mathematics


methane, biogeochemistry, Arctic coastal waters, biogeochemical sensing, greenhouse gases, seasonal cycles


Published: 2019-10-13 10:58

Last Updated: 2020-05-06 07:42

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CC BY Attribution 4.0 International