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Today we surveyed only one lake (versus 2 usually), but on this one we planned to survey a good 200 m2 of ice. A staff member of Toolik, Justin, came to help us. He meant business. We were done in no time.

The ice conditions were good, we found beautiful bubble patterns –I’m really a geek, when I see one I make funny noises and take lots of pictures.

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Above: the bubble winner of the day!

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Those mighty little things are methane bubbles. This greenhouse gas is a byproduct of anaerobic decomposition. Mapping the bubbles trapped in the ice (which can conveniently be done up here in the arctic) tell us where the seeps in sediments are. The size of the bubbles and the clusters they form tell us something about how much methane they hold.

Methane is emitted from soils, wetlands, lakes all over the world. Subarctic and Arctic lakes have the particularity to be strong emitters of methane, due to thawing permafrost (source of organic matter). They also have been little studied.

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Northern Alaska, October 29 2010

Gone for two weeks of field work in Northern Alaska. Working on frozen lakes, quantifying methane bubbles trapped in the lakes, to estimate how much methane (a potent greenhouse gas) is coming out of arctic lakes. DSC00054

Wiseman, Augustine lake, Alaska. Yes, the white stuff are methane bubbles in the ice

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On the road to the North Slope (everything north of the Brooks Range)

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Toolik lake, Alaska, 11 am

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Preparing a transect (a 1mx50m rectangle) to survey methane bubbles on Toolik lake.

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Some more tomorrow.

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Je ne fais pas semblant.

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I call this dusk ambiance the Alaskan Dark Light (5pm)