Methane dynamics in three different Siberian water bodies under winter and summer conditions

Ingeborg.Bussmann [ at ]


Arctic regions and their water bodies are affected by a rapidly warming climate. Arctic lakes and small ponds are known to act as an important source of atmospheric methane. However, not much is known about other types of water bodies in permafrost regions, which include major rivers and coastal bays as a transition type between freshwater and marine environments. We monitored dissolved methane concentrations in three different water bodies (Lena River, Tiksi Bay and Lake Golzovoye, Siberia, Russia) over a period of two years. Sampling was carried out under ice cover (April) and in open water (July / August). The methane oxidation (MOX) rate in water and melted ice samples from the late winter of 2017 was determined with radiotracer method and fractional turnover rates (k’) from river water and melted ice cores. In the Lena River winter methane concentrations were a quarter of the summer concentrations (8 vs 31 nmol L-1) and mean winter MOX rate was low (0.023 nmol L-1 d-1). In contrast, Tiksi Bay winter methane concentrations were 10 times higher than in summer (103 vs 13 nmol L-1). Winter MOX rates showed a median of 0.305 nmol L-1 d-1. In Lake Golzovoye, median methane concentrations in winter were 40 times higher than in summer (1957 vs 49 nmol L-1). However, MOX was much higher in the lake (2.95 nmol L-1 d-1) than in either the river or bay. The temperature had a strong influence on the MOX, (Q10 = 2.72 ± 0.69). In summer water temperatures ranged from 7 – 14°C, in winter from -0.7 – 1.3°C. In the ice cores a median methane concentration of 9 nM was observed, with no gradient between the ice surface and the bottom layer at the ice-water-interface. MOX in the (melted) ice cores was mostly below the detection limit. Comparing methane concentrations in the ice with the underlaying water column revealed 100 - 1000-times higher methane concentration in the water column. The winter situation seemed to favor a methane accumulation under ice, especially in the lake with a stagnant water body. While on the other hand, in the Lena River with its flowing water no methane accumulation under ice was observed. In a changing, warming Arctic, a shorter ice cover period is predicted. In respect to our study this would imply a shortened time for methane to accumulate below the ice and a shorter time for the less efficient winter-MOX. Especially for lakes, an extended time of ice-free conditions could reduce the methane flux from the Arctic water bodies.

Item Type
Primary Division
Primary Topic
Helmholtz Cross Cutting Activity (2021-2027)
Peer revision
Peer-reviewed, Web of Science / Scopus
Publication Status
Eprint ID
DOI 10.5194/bg-18-2047-2021

Cite as
Bussmann, I. , Fedorova, I. , Juhls, B. , Overduin, P. P. and Winkel, M. (2021): Methane dynamics in three different Siberian water bodies under winter and summer conditions , Biogeosciences, 18 (6), pp. 2047-2061 . doi: 10.5194/bg-18-2047-2021

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Geographical region

Research Platforms

Arctic Land Expeditions > Lena2016_summer
Arctic Land Expeditions > RU-Land_2017_Lena
Arctic Land Expeditions > RU-Land_2018_Lena
Arctic Land Expeditions > RU-Land_2017_Lena_Bykovsky
Arctic Land Expeditions > RU-Land_2016_Lena

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