On the surface, Lake Abraham in the Canadian Rocky Mountains is a photographer’s dream. But beneath the frozen waters lie towers of bubbles, suspended in ice. These beautiful bubbles hide an ugly secret – they contain harmful methane gas.
Lake Abraham’s methane bubbles are produced by bacteria on the lake bed feeding on dead plant matter. In the summer, the gas rises to the surface and escapes, but when the lake freezes over, the bubbles are trapped in the ice. Methane is a greenhouse gas, which traps heat in the atmosphere and contributes to global warming.
Earth’s atmosphere allows the Sun’s heat to reach Earth but stops some from escaping. This is known as the greenhouse effect, and it warms Earth enough to support life. Increasing levels of methane and other greenhouse gases are contributing to the “enhanced greenhouse effect” by trapping more heat and causing Earth’s temperature to rise.