Methane Released from Arctic Ocean Could Cause Climate Change

December 16, 2011

Science

Arctic Ice Melting

Score another point for global warming because changing conditions in the Arctic Ocean could have a drastic effect on the climate.

Russian scientists have discovered hundreds of plumes of methane gas bubbling to the surface of the Arctic Ocean, according to The Independent. The gas, 20 times as harmful as carbon dioxide, is usually kept in check by Siberian permafrost and Arctic sea-ice but rapidly rising temperatures across the region are causing these elements to melt, releasing the previously captured methane into the atmosphere. With studies estimating hundreds of millions of tons of methane gas locked away, a sudden release could result in rapid and severe climate changes on a global scale.

Dr. Igor Semiletov, of the Far Eastern branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and his team published a study in 2010 that estimated methane emissions from this region were around eight million tons a year. That amount has changed substantially since then.

“We carried out checks at about 115 stationary points and discovered methane fields of a fantastic scale – I think on a scale not seen before,” Dr. Semiletov says.  “Some plumes were a kilometer or more wide and the emissions went directly into the atmosphere – the concentration was a hundred times higher than normal.”

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2 Responses to “Methane Released from Arctic Ocean Could Cause Climate Change”

  1. johnd2 Says:

    Methane disipates in single molecule burns and by being consumed by variousw tiny creatures. One has to ask how sustained its effect as a green house gas would be.

    Reply

  2. Madanagopal.V.C. Says:

    Not only methane but any triatomic and polyatomic of the gases like CO2, SO2,CH4, SO3, NH3 ,CCl4 (Carbon Tetra Chloride) and even Ozone which is O3, are likely to be global warming gases because of the triatomic link which can take up more energy by changing the angle in between them compared to the dumb bell shape of diatomic molecule that are rigid and solid like. Methane is released by not only Arctic regions but also by water bodies throughout the world since innumerable water plants in the dams and on its shores are bound to decay and liberate methane. As the populations grow up on the earth their energy requirement is also keeping pace with the growth and liberation of global warming gases are inevitable. Repeated cyclic ice ages of the past speaks about this. What we can avoid is only delaying the calamity by burning less fuel or going for non conventional energy. Thank You.

    Reply

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