Methane bubbles in Arctic seas - more questions, fewer answers
2010 03 06

By Alister Doyle | Reuters.com


Large amounts of a powerful greenhouse gas are bubbling up from a long-frozen seabed north of Siberia, raising fears of far bigger leaks that could stoke global warming, scientists said.

It was unclear, however, if the Arctic emissions of methane gas were new or had been going on unnoticed for centuries -- since before the Industrial Revolution of the 18th century led to wide use of fossil fuels that are blamed for climate change.

The study said about 8 million tonnes of methane a year, equivalent to the annual total previously estimated from all of the world’s oceans, were seeping from vast stores long trapped under permafrost below the seabed north of Russia.

"Subsea permafrost is losing its ability to be an impermeable cap," Natalia Shakhova, a scientist at the University of Fairbanks, Alaska, said in a statement. She co-led the study published in Friday’s edition of the journal Science.

The experts measured levels of methane, a gas that can be released by rotting vegetation, in water and air at 5,000 sites on the East Siberian Arctic Shelf from 2003-08. In some places, methane was bubbling up from the seabed.

Previously, the sea floor had been considered an impermeable barrier sealing methane, Shakhova said. Current methane concentrations in the Arctic are the highest in 400,000 years.

GLOBAL WARMING

"No one can answer this question," she said of whether the venting was caused by global warming or by natural factors. But a projected rise in temperatures could quicken the thaw.

"It’s good that these emissions are documented. But you cannot say they’re increasing," Martin Heimann, an expert at the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry in Germany who wrote a separate article on methane in Science, told Reuters.

"These leaks could have been occurring all the time" since the last Ice Age 10,000 years ago, he said. He wrote that the release of 8 million tonnes of methane a year was "negligible" compared to global emissions of about 440 million tonnes.

Shakhova’s study said there was an "urgent need" to monitor the region for possible future changes since permafrost traps vast amounts of methane, the second most common greenhouse gas from human activities after carbon dioxide.

Monitoring could resolve if the venting was "a steadily ongoing phenomenon or signals the start of a more massive release period," according to the scientists, based at U.S., Russian and Swedish research institutions.

The release of just a "small fraction of the methane held in (the) East Siberian Arctic Shelf sediments could trigger abrupt climate warming," they wrote.

The shelf has sometimes been above sea level during the earth’s history. When submerged, temperatures rise by 12-17 degrees Celsius (22-31 F) since water is warmer than air. Over thousands of years, that may thaw submerged permafrost.

About 60 percent of methane now comes from human activities such as landfills, cattle rearing or rice paddies. Natural sources such as wetlands make up the rest, along with poorly understood sources such as the oceans, wildfires or termites.

Most studies about methane focus on permafrost on land. But the shelf below the Laptev, East Siberian and Russian part of the Chuckchi sea is three times the size of Siberia’s wetlands.

Article from: Reuters.com



Also tune into:

Peter Taylor - The Corporatization of the Environmental Movement

Tim Ball - Climategate & The Anthropogenic Global Warming Fraud

James Follett - The Church of Global Warming

Jerry E. Smith - Global Warming

Jerry E. Smith - The "Green" Conspiracy

Michael Coffman - Global Warming Science

Michael Coffman - Global Governance

David Icke - The Global Conspiracy



Related Articles
Fears of Undersea Methane Leaks Already Coming True
Has Methane Started Venting From Seafloor?
Mars May Still Be A Living Planet, Methane In Atmosphere Reveals
Baby girl survives after being shot in the chest in parents’ ’global warming suicide pact’
75 Reasons to be Skeptical of "Global Warming"
Former IPCC Chair: IPCC Has a Warming "Bias"
Climategate U-turn as scientist at centre of row admits: There has been no global warming since 1995
The Church of Global Warming


Latest News from our Front Page

13 years ago this man was accused of abusing 18 girls in Rotherham - so why are police only NOW acting on the claims?
2014 09 02
Comment: As this story finally is getting more and more coverage, let’s expose these sick perverts for what they are and get to the root of the problem that enabled horrors like this to not only go unnoticed for such a long time, but also to the heart of why people in law and government denied it and decided to ...
Harvard Professor Noel Ignatiev talks about how to end the White race
2014 09 02
There was some doubt earlier this week as to the validity of the claim in Kevin MacDonald’s article The War Against Whites. We’ll we found something for your guys: Source: youtube.com Not that this is the only one, far from it, this is just a small sample of the barrage of conferences and a well educated cultural marxists that have set their goals ...
Secret underground tunnels of ancient Mesopotamian cult revealed under Ani ruins
2014 09 01
For the first time in history, the academic world is paying attention to the spectacular underground world of Ani, a 5,000-year-old Armenian city located on the Turkish-Armenian border. Hurriyet Daily News reports that scientists, academics, and researchers have just met at a symposium in Kars titled ‘Underground Secrets of Ani’ to discuss the city’s underground world mentioned in ancient ...
A Government Vision Of The Future That Isn’t That Great
2014 09 01
Here’s a report by the UK Ministry of Defense, a document that they’re not hiding - it’s not classified. In fact, they WANT you to read it: the Global Strategic Trends 2045. For your convenience, they’ve even produced a handy video about their dire predictions: They present a warning call for how things are going to be bad in the future. ...
Bad Memories Turned to Happy Ones in Mice Brains
2014 09 01
Memories are often associated with emotions, and these feelings can change through new experiences and over time. Now, using light, scientists have been able to manipulate mice brain cells and turn the animals’ fearful memories into happy ones, according to a new study. Memories are encoded in groups of neurons that are activated together or in specific patterns, but it is ...
More News »