Siberia Seabed Leaks Methane, Threatens Climate, Scientists Say  

Posted by Big Gav in

BusinessWekk has a report on a paper published by Science on increasing methane emissions from the arctic - Siberia Seabed Leaks Methane, Threatens Climate, Scientists Say.

The Arctic Ocean seabed off eastern Siberia has destabilized and is leaking methane, threatening to add to global warming, scientists in Russia, the U.S. and Sweden said today.

About 8 teragrams (8 million metric tons) of the greenhouse gas is leaking yearly from the East Siberian Arctic Shelf, the researchers said in a study in the journal Science. That’s as much as is emitted from the rest of the oceans, they said.

Methane leaks are important to scientists studying climate change because it is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a global warming gas. While the researchers said the leakage doesn’t “alarmingly” alter estimates for global emissions, it may be a precursor to larger venting of the gas.

“Subsea permafrost is losing its ability to be an impermeable cap,” said Natalia Shakhova, a scientist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks who led the research. “If it further destabilizes, the methane emissions may not be teragrams, it would be significantly larger.”

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2007 estimated some 582 teragrams of methane are emitted yearly. The atmospheric concentration of the gas in 2008 rose to a record 1,797 molecules per billion molecules of air, the UN’s World Meteorological Organization said Nov. 24.

1 comments

See also Real Climates post... especially the echosounder picture.

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