A model sensitivity study for the sea-air exchange of methane in the Laptev Sea, Arctic Ocean

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Wåhlström, Iréne ; Meier, H. E. Markus (2014)
  • Publisher: Tellus B
  • Journal: Tellus B (issn: 1600-0889, eissn: 0280-6509)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.3402/tellusb.v66.24174
  • Subject: Arctic Ocean; Laptev Sea; methane; carbon; sea-air exchange; modeling

The ocean's sinks and sources determine the concentration of methane in the water column and by that regulating the emission of methane to the atmosphere. In this study, we investigate how sensitive the sea–air exchange of methane is to increasing/decreasing sinks and sources as well as changes of different drivers with a time-dependent biogeochemical budget model for one of the shallow shelf sea in the Siberian Arctic, the Laptev Sea. The applied changes are: increased air temperature, river discharge, wind, atmospheric methane, concentration of nutrients in the river runoff or flux of methane from the sediment. Furthermore, simulations are performed to examine how the large range in observations for methane concentration in the Lena River as well as the rate of oxidation affects the net sea–air exchange. In addition, a simulation with five of these changes applied together was carried out to simulate expected climate change at the end of this century. The result indicates that none of the simulations changed the seawater to becoming a net sink for atmospheric methane and all simulations except three increased the outgassing to the atmosphere. The three exceptions were: doubling the atmospheric methane, decreasing the rivers’ concentration of methane and increasing the oxidation rate where the latter is one of the key mechanisms controlling emission of methane to the atmosphere.Keywords: Arctic Ocean, Laptev Sea, methane, carbon, sea–air exchange, modelling(Published: 13 October 2014)Citation: Tellus B 2014, 66, 24174, http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/tellusb.v66.24174
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