WATER, WATER EVERYWHERE. GAS TOO. WHAT TO DO?
I recently spent time in Denali National Park and surrounding area. 60 in the day, 45 at night, and this time of year, rain. Lots of rain. Denali creates its own weather, so precipitation and clouds are common for much of the year. But it was not all the water in the Denali area that interested me as much as some local discussions about methane release from the permafrost. I was told that many of the native populations rely on storage below ground in the permafrost to freeze winter provisions. But a curious thing has occurred in recent years – some of the provisions spoiled. It seems the permafrost relied upon for generations as a natural freezer is no longer permanent in some areas and the soil, frozen for generations, is now suddenly soggy. Once unfrozen, the soil appears to release copious amounts of methane that has been trapped for years (no smoking on the tunda!). The issue is further complicated by the fact that some of the methane could potentially get into surface water supplies and without power, and with limited funds, the treatment becomes far more difficult.