The Methane Apocalypse

Some very frightening news from the world of climate science, as an international scientific team discovers that the Arctic permafrost in Siberia may be starting to leak huge amounts of methane into the atmosphere.

And if this proves to be true, my friends, it will put every other concern of human beings on the back burner.

One of the greatest concerns and large unknowns in climate science has been the potential impact of methane trapped and frozen in the polar regions of the planet, particularly in the Arctic permafrost. If climate change causes the methane to be released, the gas could start a positive feedback reaction that could trigger abrupt climate warming.

Until now no evidence of such a mechanism has been seen, but an international research team led by University of Alaska Fairbanks scientists Natalia Shakhova and Igor Semiletov say this change is under way—in a little-studied area under the sea, the East Siberian Arctic Shelf, west of the Bering Strait.

The East Siberian Arctic Shelf, a methane-rich area that encompasses more than 2 million square kilometers of seafloor, was long thought to be an impermeable barrier sealing in the methane, but Shakhova and Semiletov team states that it is in fact perforated and starting to leak large amounts of methane into the atmosphere.

“The amount of methane currently coming out of the East Siberian Arctic Shelf is comparable to the amount coming out of the entire world’s oceans,” said Shakhova, a researcher at UAF’s International Arctic Research Center. “Subsea permafrost is losing its ability to be an impermeable cap.”

Methane is more than 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas. It is released from previously frozen soils in two ways. When the organic material (which contains carbon) stored in permafrost thaws, it begins to decompose and, under anaerobic conditions, gradually releases methane. Methane can also be stored in the seabed as methane gas or methane hydrates and then released as subsea permafrost thaws. These releases can be larger and more abrupt than those that result from decomposition.

The East Siberian Arctic Shelf is more than three times as large as the nearby Siberian wetlands, which have been considered the primary Northern Hemisphere source of atmospheric methane. Shakhova’s research results show that the East Siberian Arctic Shelf is already a significant methane source, releasing 7 teragrams of methane yearly, which is as much as is emitted from the rest of the ocean. A teragram is equal to about 1.1 million tons.

“Our concern is that the subsea permafrost has been showing signs of destabilization already,” she said. “If it further destabilizes, the methane emissions may not be teragrams, it would be significantly larger.”

UPDATE at 4/8/10 6:54:12 pm:

RealClimate says it’s not time to get frightened. Yet. RealClimate: Arctic Methane on the Move?

Jump to top

Create a PageThis is the LGF Pages posting bookmarklet. To use it, drag this button to your browser's bookmark bar, and title it 'LGF Pages' (or whatever you like). Then browse to a site you want to post, select some text on the page to use for a quote, click the bookmarklet, and the Pages posting window will appear with the title, text, and any embedded video or audio files already filled in, ready to go.
Or... you can just click this button to open the Pages posting window right away.
Last updated: 2016-01-01 10:29 am PST
LGF User's Guide RSS Feeds Tweet

Help support Little Green Footballs!

Subscribe now for ad-free access!Register and sign in to a free LGF account before subscribing, and your ad-free access will be automatically enabled.

Donate with
PayPal
Square Cash Shop at amazon
as an LGF Associate!
Recent PagesClick to refresh
#Thegreatpoolpondconversion - 200216This is last week’s update. Just as well because this was a lull week due to no liner yet, still bailing, and some poorly timed rain. We're happy that there's no more heavy sand lifting, and even if the liner ...
#thegreatpoolpondconversion (dangerman)
2 days, 15 hours ago
Views: 328 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 1
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Man Man - Cloud Nein [LYRIC VIDEO] "Cloud Nein" from Man Man's album 'Dream Hunting in the Valley of the In-Between' (Release Date: May 1, 2020)smarturl.it Man Man manmanband.comInstagram - @manmanbandband @HonusHonus FaceBook - facebook.com VIDEO CREDITS Director: Ryan Kattner Video Production House: Pootie's Onions Editor: ...
Thanos
2 days, 17 hours ago
Views: 340 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 2 • Share to Facebook
All Time Low: Some Kind of Disaster [OFFICIAL VIDEO] All Time Low's official music video for 'Some Kind Of Disaster' from their upcoming album Wake Up, Sunshine - available everywhere April 3rd via Fueled By Ramen. fbr.lnk.to Listen to 'Some King Of Disaster' here: atl.lnk.to Follow All Time ...
Thanos
6 days, 23 hours ago
Views: 646 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 2 • Share to Facebook
I Am There for You - Huey Lewis Provided to YouTube by BMG Rights Management (US) LLC I Am There For You · Huey Lewis & The News Weather ℗ 2019 NEW HULEX, LLC under exclusive license to BMG Rights Management (US) LLC Drums, Percussion: Bill GibsonBackground ...
Thanos
1 week ago
Views: 723 • Comments: 1 • Rating: 1
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
#Thegreatpoolpondconversion - 200209The the last six months or so was “sand, sandbags, pounding, sand, sand, sand”... it was by far the most physically grueling (54,000 pounds of sand we moved - just the two of us), and the longest on the timeline. ...
#thegreatpoolpondconversion (dangerman)
1 week, 5 days ago
Views: 826 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 4
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
AP VoteCast: NH Democrats Angry, Seek Alternative to Trump While everyone does the usual horse race comparisons as if NH results really matter, this journalist focuses on the essential. WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic voters in Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary were angry at President Donald Trump’s administration and eager ...
Thanos
1 week, 6 days ago
Views: 987 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 2
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
James Taylor - American Standard: Teach Me Tonight (Official Music Video) Order James Taylor’s upcoming album American Standard here: found.ee Written in 1954, “Teach Me Tonight" has become a jazz standard and been covered dozens of times. Dinah Washington’s version, an R&B hit in 1954, was inducted into the GRAMMY ...
Thanos
1 week, 6 days ago
Views: 1,034 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 1
Tweets: 18 • Share to Facebook
Oh Wonder - in and Out of Love (Official Video) 'In And Out Of Love from the upcoming album ‘No One Else Can Wear Your Crown’, out 7th February 2020. Pre-order the album on signed vinyl, CD and cassette - ohwonder.lnk.to Tickets for Oh Wonder's 2020 World Tour are ...
Thanos
2 weeks ago
Views: 974 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Summertime - Billy Strings & Marcus King A pair of today's best performing a timeless tune! Billy Strings and Marcus King play "Summertime" live at Carter Vintage Guitars in Nashville, TN. Billy is playing a '36 000-28 and Marcus is playing a '54 Telecaster cartervintage.combillystrings.commarcuskingband.com ...
Thanos
2 weeks ago
Views: 1,094 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 20 • Share to Facebook
ANNA MEREDITH - Sawbones Sawbones is taken from Anna Meredith's latest album FIBS: smarturl.it Anna and band announce a US tour for 2020 amidst a sell-out run in the UK. Get tickets for all shows at annameredith.com FEBRUARY5 - London, EartH [SOLD OUT]6 ...
Thanos
2 weeks ago
Views: 1,064 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 9 • Share to Facebook