ABoVe Methane Airborne

  • Released Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Methane emission hotspots were remotely observed at fine spatial resolution by NASA’s Next Generation Airborne Visible/Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (AVIRIS-NG for short) across broad regions of the North American Arctic as part of the Arctic-Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE).

Hotspots in the Mackenzie Delta, NWT, CA

In the Mackenzie Delta of the Northwest Territories of Canada, 30 overlapping AVIRIS-NG survey swaths allow us to investigate the spatial patterns and environmental regulators of methane hotspots from individual pixels on the site-level to millions of pixels on the regional scale. This approach drastically improves our ability to scale the complex nature of methane emissions across heterogeneous and climate sensitive Arctic landscapes.

Big Trail Lake, AK, USA

At Big Trail Lake, researchers had the opportunity to intensively study individual hotspots using 19 repeated AVIRIS-NG overflights and coordinated ground-based methane flux verification. From the ground, researchers confirmed concentrated and extreme methane emissions from the remotely identified hotspots. Fluxes in excess of 20 grams of per m2 per day emanated from zones of rapidly thawing permafrost on the margins of this pond. This mechanistic link between rapid permafrost thaw and methane hotspot generation provides the process-level context for interpreting hotspot patterns across the diverse and changing Arctic environments.

Background imagery Sources

Esri, Maxar, Earthstar Geographics, and the GIS User Community

Aerial Photo credit: Hailey Webb

Scientific Publications

Elder, C.D., Thompson, D.R., Thorpe, A.K., Chandanpurkar, H.A., Hanke, P.J., Hasson, N., James, S.R., Minsley, B.J., Pastick, N.J., Olefeldt, D. and Walter Anthony, K.M., 2021. Characterizing methane emission hotspots from thawing permafrost. Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 35(12), p.e2020GB006922.

Elder, C., N. Hasson, P. Hanke, S. Wright, K.W. Anthony, and C.E. Miller. 2021. Methane Fluxes from Shorelines and Differing Surfaces, Big Trail Lake, Alaska, 2019. ORNL DAAC, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, USA. https://doi.org/10.3334/ORNLDAAC/1870

Baskaran, L.M., Elder, C.M., Bloom, A.A., Shuang, M., Thompson, D.R., and Miller, C.E. 2022. Geomorphological Patterns of Remotely Sensed Methane Hot Spots in the Mackenzie Delta, Canada. Environmental Research Letters, 17(1). https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/ac41fb.


Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

Release date

This page was originally published on Wednesday, March 29, 2023.
This page was last updated on Wednesday, November 15, 2023 at 12:45 AM EST.