Skip to comments.Hidden Gas Source Could Speed Global Warming
Posted on 03/05/2010 10:09:05 PM PST by neverdem
AOL News (March 4) -- Scientists have uncovered a powerful source of a leading greenhouse gas that is venting into the atmosphere at unprecedented rates. The permafrost beneath the East Siberian Arctic Shelf, a relatively shallow section of the Arctic Ocean, has been pumping 7.7 million tons of methane into the air each year -- roughly the amount released into the atmosphere by the rest of the world's oceans combined.
The researchers, who report their work in the March 5 issue of Science, caution that their findings in this previously unstudied region raise more questions than answers. The amount of methane released, though higher than expected, represents only a fraction of total global methane emissions.
But further warming could trigger added leakage of the greenhouse gas in the area, potentially leading to a positive feedback cycle. "The current global change might contribute to this process. It might accelerate this process," says University of Alaska Fairbanks scientist Natalia Shakhova. "The subsea permafrost is significantly more sensitive to further warming."
Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team Scientists are concerned about the amount of methane being released from the East Siberian Arctic Shelf, an area that has not been studied until recently. Methane ranks third on the list of greenhouse gas culprits, after water vapor and carbon dioxide, but its concentration in the air has more than doubled in recent centuries. In the past, atmospheric methane levels have varied between .3 and .7 parts per million. Currently, the numbers are up to 1.85 parts per million -- a 400,000-year high. Above the East Siberian Arctic Shelf, this figure is even greater.
"They're measuring very high concentrations that aren't observed elsewhere," says University of Florida climate scientist Ted Schuur, who has studied climate change in the region. "Carbon is moving between different parts of the earth system every year," he explains. "The question for the future is whether we are losing some kind of balance and going into a new carbon state."
The study by Shakhova et al. does not answer that question, Schuur says, but it highlights the East Siberian Arctic Shelf as a potentially critical hot spot for further research. Though that's a paradoxical description: It is a barren, frozen and thoroughly unpleasant region where "warm" temperatures are those just below freezing.
Shakhova and her colleagues braved the conditions, conducting eight separate research trips to the area over several years, ultimately taking more than 5,000 measurements at sea. Schuur and other scientists had studied the release of methane from the permafrost on land, but no group had analyzed the region below the water.
This underwater source has been subject to massive change. At various points in Earth's history, it has been a frozen plain that effectively traps its methane stores. But that plain was flooded as the world warmed since the last ice age, and it now sits under seawater significantly warmer than the air in the surrounding region. So while the terrestrial permafrost has remained frozen, its subsea counterpart has thawed, sending its methane stores into the atmosphere.
Shakhova explains that while the rate of release the scientists measured on the East Siberian Arctic Shelf is already high, relative to the rest of the world's oceans, it could still increase further. Several major rivers flow into that sea, and increased temperatures in the area could lead to more runoff.
This warmer river water could raise the temperature of the sea further, driving the release of still more methane. Shakhova estimates that even if just 1 percent of the methane stored in the permafrost were released into the air, it could triple atmospheric levels of the gas.
The broader implications of the findings are hard to gauge -- Shakhova said it is too early to tell how her research could affect the projections of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. But she and other scientists will be monitoring that icy hot spot for years to come.
THIS IS ALL BUSH’S FAULT!!!!!
After the past few years, we all could use some real warming.........so bring it on!
Glaciers are NOT conducive to abundant life.
Words fail me.
With lots of illegal and stolen grant money.
The permafrost beneath the East Siberian Arctic Shelf, a relatively shallow section of the Arctic Ocean, has been pumping 7.7 million tons of methane into the air each year -- roughly the amount released into the atmosphere by the rest of the world's oceans combined.Yeah, and the oceans are warming at depth, hiding the evidence for global warming; and the oceans aren't warming at depth, but CO2 still causes it; and CO2 doesn't cause it, soot does; and soot doesn't cause it, water vapor does; and one unfounded claim after another to buy time, when what should be happening is, the global warming demagogues all go to Leavenworth. Thanks neverdem.
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Be fruitful and multiply.
Oh come on, Shakhova, that's easy. The IPCC will say this proves we have to speed up the surrender of liberty, sovereignty, and wealth in the industrialized world, or the planet will die next year.
Those lefties do exaggerate. I ate some Mexican food, drank some beer, went for a little walk in the area of my pre-Ancient ancestors.
Thanks for the post.
Thanks for the post.
Sounds like the answer to this problem is to tap this source of methane and put it in the pipeline. Turn it into CO2 and heat somebody’s house. 7M Tons of methane can heat a few houses.
Revised Headline, “AMOUNT OF METHANE RELEASED INTO AIR INDICATES THAT WE ARE ALREADY DEAD!”
These people are getting to be just pitiful.
Oh jeez....This is all in need to hear.
But since scientists just discovered it, we don't know if it started last year, a century ago, or a million years ago. In short, just knowing it is there does not mean that anything different is going on from what has gone on, ever. They just know about it now.
No cause for panic, and certainly no ability to attribute any change which might occur in climate to it.
Maybe the 'marsh gas' would explain a few UFOs, though...
What they don’t explain is how this organic material frozen in the permafrost got there in the first place. Obviously it was warm enough eons ago for the organic matter to be deposited there. In contrast, it was covered an ice sheet a mile thick not so long ago.
IIRC it has been at least 100,000-500,000 times higher in the past; the rest being mainly ammonia. Damned bacteria came along, contaminated the planet, and screwed up the balance. That gave all you Hooo-mons a nitrox mix, and there was nothing we could do about it, except retreat to Titan.
Also, IIRC, methane is ‘30 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than CO^2’, so, if they just lit a match there, 29/30 of the “problem” would be resolved!
That sounds about like 240 trillion cu.ft. a year and we're still freezing our asses off.
How many cu. ft. per year do we need for utilities and industry just in the U.S.?
Something I posted years ago was how many coal seams are on fire and cannot be put out. Some have been burning for thousands of years, but in reality we don’t know if they have been burning for millions of years. The output of CO and CO2 is probably bigger than this methane leak many times over and has been there for eons. Why worry about my V8 truck if they don’t put out the fires?
could...may...might...if... but keep giving us more grant money so we can keep an eye on this nonissue
These people never give up. They’ll find some tiny, insignificant way to blame humans.
You do understand the war is on. None of this garbage is based on “Science”. It is based on public perception. Hell, if it was based on science these bastards wouldn’t give a damn what comes out of Washington. Watch Tesla’s bio and see where 3 different nations stole his works when he died.
Thing is they need to be forced into an academic corner for the entire world to see what frauds they are.
Quick! Everyone into a Prius before the world burns up!
Crime does pay depending on who you are.
“Hidden Gas Source Could Speed Global Warming”
That’s the only piece of good news concerning the weather that I’ve read this whole, long, cold winter.
Depends on how long they are able to shake research grants out of the government money tree.
And Siberia would be a warmer place.
Hey Natalia, we don’t appreciate at all the immigrants that came from the Eastern Block, join the environmentalist movement and use these tactics to drag the failed philosophies and policies over from the old country. Got that?
Follow da money. Your taxes hard at work employing Russian scientists
Natalia Shakhova is a NOAA stooge who dances to their funding tune
This is a NOAA funded study therefore is suspect. NOAA is cherry picking what it will fund. There is a lot going on, on this planet that if NOA threw money at it would contradict global warming
Bingo. It's interesting as a regional anomaly, if that's what it is, but it's a nothingburger compared to our overdue (and impeding) modern Ice Age.
AOHell News doesn't pass the laugh test....best thing to do is stop reading once you see those two words in series...on a side note, sarasotamagazine.com has an equally laughable article about the 'rising sea level' making everyone in sarasota homeless...Koolaid now being served in aisle one.
Methane levels are stabilizing.
Even the climate models build in a stable methane forcing starting in a decade or so.
Methane has already increased from 700 ppb to 1900 ppb (and is expected to stay below 2000 ppb). We have already seen ALL of the methane warming there is to come.
The climate scientists don’t even know what their own science says.
Then again, it could not.
The last Eemian interglacial 125,000 years ago was 2.5C warmer than today globally (which would be 4.0C to 5.0C warmer in the Arctic than today) and there was no additional release of methane - just the normal interglacial rise to 600 ppb to 700 ppb.
Drill, baby, drill!
“But she and other scientists will be monitoring that icy hot spot for years to come.”
On your’s and mine tax dollars no doubt....
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