Start date:
Nov 2012
End date:
Dec 2012
Taylor Glacier - Lake Eddy
Principle Investigator:
Dr Hinrich Schaefer
Atmospheric methane, i.e. CH4, is a powerful greenhouse gas and its natural sources are strongly climate dependent. In response to anthropogenic climate change, natural CH4 emissions could therefore increase strongly, leading to further warming through higher greenhouse forcing. We will measure the stable carbon isotope ratio of CH4, a characteristic that is indicative of its different source types. This global atmospheric parameter has been preserved in air occlusions of polar ice. A record covering the last deglaciation from Taylor Glacier, where ancient ice is pushed to the glacier surface will reveal detailed changes throughout warming periods with unprecedented precision, thus overcoming the limitations of previous work. The results will constrain if, and what, natural methane sources responded to climate warming in the past and have the potential to do so in the future.