Brosius, LS et al. (2012): Isotopic composition of ground ice, ebullition gases and thermokarst lake water, North America. doi:10.1594/PANGAEA.808037, Supplement to:Brosius, Laura Susan; Walter Anthony, Katey M; Grosse, Guido; Chanton, Jeffrey P; Farquharson, Louise M; Overduin, Pier Paul; Meyer, Hanno (2012): Using the deuterium isotope composition of permafrost meltwater to constrain thermokarst lake contributions to atmospheric CH4 during the last deglaciation. Journal of Geophysical Research-Biogeosciences, 117(G1), G01022, doi:10.1029/2011JG001810
Thermokarst lakes are thought to have been an important source of methane (CH4) during the last deglaciation when atmospheric CH4 concentrations increased rapidly. Here we demonstrate that meltwater from permafrost ice serves as an H source to CH4 production in thermokarst lakes, allowing for region-specific reconstructions of dD-CH4 emissions from Siberian and North American lakes. dD CH4 reflects regionally varying dD values of precipitation incorporated into ground ice at the time of its formation. Late Pleistocene-aged permafrost ground ice was the dominant H source to CH4 production in primary thermokarst lakes, whereas Holocene-aged permafrost ground ice contributed H to CH4 production in later generation lakes. We found that Alaskan thermokarst lake dD-CH4 was higher (-334 ± 17 per mil) than Siberian lake dD-CH4 (-381 ± 18 per mil). Weighted mean dD CH4 values for Beringian lakes ranged from -385 per mil to -382 per mil over the deglacial period. Bottom-up estimates suggest that Beringian thermokarst lakes contributed 15 ± 4 Tg CH4 /yr to the atmosphere during the Younger Dryas and 25 ± 5 Tg CH4 /yr during the Preboreal period. These estimates are supported by independent, top-down isotope mass balance calculations based on ice core dD-CH4 and d13C-CH4 records. Both approaches suggest that thermokarst lakes and boreal wetlands together were important sources of deglacial CH4.