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Arctic permafrost

Microbial lid on subsea methane

Submarine permafrost thaw in the Arctic has been suggested as a trigger for the release of large quantities of methane to the water column, and subsequently the atmosphere — with important implications for global warming. Now research shows that microbial oxidation of methane at the thaw front can effectively prevent its release.

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Figure 1: Anaerobic oxidation of methane at a subsea permafrost thaw front.


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Correspondence to Brett F. Thornton or Patrick Crill.

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Thornton, B., Crill, P. Microbial lid on subsea methane. Nature Clim Change 5, 723–724 (2015).

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