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Methane release accelerates in Arctic

Posted on Wednesday, 14 December, 2011 | Comment icon 58 comments | News tip by: Br Cornelius

Image credit: NOAA

Large amounts of the greenhouse gas methane have been bubbling up to the surface of the Arctic ocean.

A Russian research team that has been surveying the region for two decades was startled to learn of the scale of the methane release that could have an impact on global warming. It is thought that hundreds of millions of tonnes of the gas is trapped below the permafrost and there are great concerns over what will happen if it is ever released in to the atmosphere.

"Dramatic and unprecedented plumes of methane – a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide – have been seen bubbling to the surface of the Arctic Ocean by scientists undertaking an extensive survey of the region."

  View: Full article |  Source: Independent

  Discuss: View comments (58)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #49 Posted by Br Cornelius on 14 December, 2011, 21:21
The paper will be out soon so we will see. The article suggests a connection to the localised warming that has recently occurred in Siberia. Br Cornelius
Comment icon #50 Posted by liteness on 15 December, 2011, 6:55
A connection between warming locally due to methane/co2 concentrations? I'm no expert, but I was under the belief that greenhouse gases are not able to act as warming agents locally.
Comment icon #51 Posted by BFB on 15 December, 2011, 10:29
its the other way around. The local warming is the cause.
Comment icon #52 Posted by liteness on 15 December, 2011, 11:43
Thanks BFB. Are greenhouses gases moving around in the atmosphere like current? With sink zones and zones with accumulation? Is there a pattern with this effect? Or is it dynamic?
Comment icon #53 Posted by BFB on 15 December, 2011, 12:58
Depends which gas you are looking at. CO2 concentractions only vary around 1% over the surface of the Earth.
Comment icon #54 Posted by PeacefulAnarchy on 17 December, 2011, 14:49
It was only a few weeks ago that scientists were trying to work out why the methane quantities in the atmosphere were too low. One reason was due to extensive use of pesticides etc... in Asia. Now they are going on about this, and flipping cows guffing! What's happened to all the real scientists? 3 years research to come up with 'Mondays are the gloomiest day of the working week'. Give me a break!
Comment icon #55 Posted by Br Cornelius on 17 December, 2011, 16:09
This is a specific instance of methane release in the low Arctic due to loss of permafrost. The two reports can be very much telling the truth at the same time. If they are reporting lower methane release from the tropic and higher methane releases from the arctic - it would explain why methane levels have remained largely the same. Science is complex Br Cornelius
Comment icon #56 Posted by Little Fish on 17 December, 2011, 16:21
mars is releasing methane too maybe the martians are burning fossil fuels.
Comment icon #57 Posted by oly on 17 December, 2011, 16:39
No, but they fart
Comment icon #58 Posted by Doug1o29 on 17 December, 2011, 16:50
The cow story is hilarious. It's what happens when politicians try to direct science. Way back when (70s?) an EPA report included an offhand remark that methane levels were rising and that cows might be the source. It was meant as a joke, but: One of the "environmental" organizations (Friends of the Earth? Sierra Club?) picked up on it and sued the EPA for not investigating. Because a study was cheaper than paying off the lawsuit, EPA awarded some grants for experiments which led to cows wearing these backpacks with electronics designed to measure their "emissions." T... [More]

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