Vast networks of seismic lines that run through Alberta’s boreal forest boost emissions of methane.
Vast networks of seismic lines that run through Alberta’s boreal forest boost emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, from the region’s wetlands, according to a newly published study in the journal Nature Communications. These undocumented emissions would increase Canada’s national reporting of methane in the category of land use, land-use change and forestry by at least seven to eight per cent.
“We’re being conservative with that estimate,” says Dr. Greg McDermid, PhD, a professor in the University of Calgary’s Department of Geography and co-author on the study. “We suspect that the amount of emissions is actually higher than what we report.”
He adds: “What’s happening with oil and gas exploration is releasing more greenhouse gases than we previously thought. We should add this to our carbon accounting.”
The boreal region of Alberta is rich in both wetlands and bitumen deposits. These bitumen deposits make up Alberta’s oilsands, the third-largest oil reserve in the world. This landscape also contains an abundance of peatlands.
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Image via University of Calgary.