NASA Flights Detect Millions of Arctic Methane Hotspots

The Arctic is one of the fastest warming places on the planet. As temperatures rise, the perpetually frozen layer of soil, called permafrost, begins to thaw, releasing methane and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. These methane emissions can accelerate future warming—but to understand to what extent, we need to know how much methane may be emitted, when and what environmental factors may influence its release.

The image shows a thermokarst lake in Alaska. Thermokarst lakes form in the Arctic when permafrost thaws. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech