A recent study shows that methane gas thought to be permanently trapped under ice is now being released during melting periods.
Using radioactive dating of the carbon-14 isotope, Anthony and her team determined “ancient “ methane was being released from many of the gas seeps, possibly generated from natural gas or coal deposits underneath the water. Other sites were found to be releasing “younger” methane from the period known as the Little Ice Age, around 1500 to 1800.
In this image: Methane-induced melt-hole on a frozen lake in the Brooks Range in Alaska in April of 2011. Credit: Katey Walter Anthony
Video of retreating Alaskan ice is helping to quantify glacial contribution to sea-level rise.
A seven-year photographic record of the Columbia Glacier in Prince William Sound on Alaska’s south central Pacific coast has been made into a striking time-lapse video that documents the glacier’s rapid ice discharge, and is helping researchers to understand how tidewater glaciers contribute to sea-level rise.
In October 2011, researchers flying in NASA’s Operation IceBridge campaign made the first-ever detailed, airborne measurements of a major iceberg calving event while it was in progress. Four months later, the IceBridge team has mapped the crack in Antarctica’s Pine Island Glacier in a way that allows glaciologists and the rest of us to fly through the icy canyon. Download the animation here.