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Daily Archives: 4. August 2013 − News & Stories


Metha­ne from arc­tic per­ma­frost: acce­le­ra­tor of glo­bal war­ming?

A recent publi­ca­ti­on in the sci­en­ti­fic maga­zi­ne Natu­re descri­bes the poss­bi­li­ty of a release of lar­ge volu­mes of metha­ne wit­hin a geo­lo­gi­cal­ly very short peri­od of a few deca­des from arc­tic shelf seas. Accord­ing to this sce­n­a­rio, metha­ne hydra­tes from the sea bot­tom could be desta­bi­li­zed once the Arc­tic Oce­an is perio­di­cal­ly com­ple­te­ly ice-free during the late arc­tic sum­mer, in Sep­tem­ber. This is some­thing that may hap­pen as soon as 2015, as the ice deve­lo­p­ment in recent years indi­ca­tes. The paper men­ti­ons up to 50 bil­li­on tons of metha­ne that might be released into the atmo­s­phe­re, an amount that would cer­tain­ly have dra­ma­tic con­se­quen­ces for the glo­bal cli­ma­te sys­tem.

The paper is cur­r­ent­ly mat­ter of hot deba­te in sci­en­ti­fic cir­cles. Not all sci­en­tists agree with the hypo­the­sis of a cata­stro­phic metha­ne release from the sea bot­tom in the near future.

Arc­tic per­ma­frost-soil in Isfjord, Spits­ber­gen

Methane from arctic permafrost

Source: The Guar­di­an

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