Methane emission bursts from permafrost environments during autumn freeze-in: New insights from ground-penetrating radar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Large amounts of methane (CH4) are known to be emitted from permafrost environments during the autumn freeze-in, but the specific soil conditions leading up to these bursts are unclear. Therefore, we used an ultrawide band ground-penetrating radar in Northeast Greenland in autumn 2009 to estimate the volumetric composition inside the soil through dielectric characterization from 200 to 3200 MHz. Our results suggest a compression of the gas reservoir during the phase transition of soil water, which is accompanied by a peak in surface CH4 emissions. About 1 week thereafter, there seems to be a decompression event, consistent with ground cracking which allows the gas reservoir to expand again. This coincides with the largest CH4 emission, exceeding the summer maximum by a factor of 4. We argue that these complementary measurement techniques are needed to come to an understanding of tundra CH4 bursts connected to soil freezing.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Geosciences, Multidisciplinary
  • Electrical Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Information Engineering


  • ground-penetrating radar, Greenland, autumn freeze-in, methane, frequency domain
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6732-6738
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Publication categoryResearch