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Isotopic differentiation of past CH4 sources as archived in polar ice cores

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Citation:
Bock, M. , Behrens, M. and Fischer, H. (2006): Isotopic differentiation of past CH4 sources as archived in polar ice cores , DFG Begutachtung, 20.-21. March, Bremerhaven, Germany. .
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Abstract:

Bubble enclosures in polar ice cores represent the only direct paleoatmospheric archive. Ice core reconstructions of atmospheric methane concentrations show significant increases for both glacial/interglacial transitions as well as for rapid warming events (Dansgaard/Oeschger events).The source for these emissions is still a matter of debate with terrestrial wetlands, permafrost and marine gas hydrates being potential candidates. Additionally terrestrial plants producing methane under aerobic conditions could play a major role.By means of stable carbon and hydrogen isotope analysis of methane in ice core air bubbles we are able to distinguish between different methane sources. To this end a high-sensitivity, high precision mass spectrometric technique is currently developed.

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