Scientists Discover Dramatic Increase in Methane Release

Discussion in 'Environment' started by Matthew, Jan 8, 2011.

  1. Matthew
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    Matthew Blue dog all the way!

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    Scientists Discover Dramatic Increase in Methane Release
    Methane release 'looks stronger'
    BBC News.com, Jan. 7, 2011

    Scientists have uncovered what appears to be a further dramatic increase in the leakage of methane gas that is seeping from the Arctic seabed.

    Methane is about 20 times more potent than CO2 in trapping solar heat.

    The findings come from measurements of carbon fluxes around the north of Russia, led by Igor Semiletov from the University of Alaska at Fairbanks.

    "Methane release from the East Siberian Shelf is underway and it looks stronger than it was supposed [to be]," he said.

    Professor Semiletov has been studying methane seepage in the region for the last few decades, and leads the International Siberian Shelf Study (ISSS), which has launched multiple expeditions to the Arctic Ocean.

    The preliminary findings of ISSS 2009 are now being prepared for publication, he told BBC News.

    Methane seepage recorded last summer was already the highest ever measured in the Arctic Ocean.

    High seepage

    Acting as a giant frozen depository of carbon such as CO2 and methane (often stored as compacted solid gas hydrates), Siberia's shallow shelf areas are increasingly subjected to warming and are now giving up greater amounts of methane to the sea and to the atmosphere than recorded in the past.

    This undersea permafrost was until recently considered to be stable.

    But now scientists think the release of such a powerful greenhouse gas may accelerate global warming.

    Higher concentrations of atmospheric methane are contributing to global temperature rise; this in turn is projected to cause further permafrost melting and the release of yet more methane in a feedback loop.

    A worst-case scenario is one where the feedback passes a tipping point and billions of tonnes of methane are released suddenly, as has occurred at least once in the Earth's past.

    Such sudden releases have been linked to rapid increases in global temperatures and could have been a factor in the mass extinction of species.

    According to a report by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa), the springtime air temperature across the region in the period 2000-2007 was an average of 4C higher than during 1970-1999.

    That is the fastest temperature rise on the planet, claims the university.

    The recent thaw over the last decade means that some of the large reserve of carbon from organic material such as dead animals and plants in sediments is now being released into the sea and into our atmosphere.

    Trapped below that is the methane hydrate now warming and leaking through holes in the defrosting sediments.

    Previously it was thought much of this gas was absorbed into the sea.

    But according to a recent report that Professor Semiletov and his team compiled for the environmental group WWF, the shallow depth of arctic shelves means that methane is reaching the atmosphere without reacting to become CO2 dissolved in the ocean.
    Professor Semiletov's fellow researcher aboard the Russian icebreaker that carries the ISSS team each year is Professor Orjan Gustafsson from Stockholm University in Sweden.

    He said that methane measured in the atmosphere around the region is 100 times higher than normal background levels, and in some cases 1,000 times higher.

    'No alarm'

    Despite the high readings, Professor Gustafsson said that so far there was no cause for alarm, and stressed that further studies were still necessary to determine the exact cause of the methane seepage.

    "It is important now to understand how fast it is being released and how much is being released," he said.

    However, there is a real fear that global warming may cause Siberia's subsea permafrost to thaw.

    Some estimates put the amount of carbon trapped in shelf permafrost at 1,600 billion tonnes - roughly twice as much carbon as in the atmosphere now.

    The release of this once captive carbon from destabilised ocean sediments and permafrost would have catastrophic effect on our climate and life on Earth, warn the scientists.

    BBC News - Methane release 'looks stronger'


    Appears to be starting. Methane is far stronger a green house gas then co2...I cant wait for the 2010 numbers.

    I predict for 2010 avged near 1900 PPB.
     
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  2. Oddball
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    Oddball BANNED Supporting Member

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  3. Mr. H.
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    Methinks methane mundane.
     
  4. litesong
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    litesong Rookie

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    Hi Matthew...... I generally agree with your post. The following preliminary methane readings are for the northern hemisphere. Southern hemisphere readings tend to be less than northern hemisphere readings. Thus, global readings for 2010 probably will be below these preliminary figures. You may be surprised by what you may consider a 'low' methane reading for 2010. I have noted high methane readings for the months of October & November 2010. But higher methane readings than the yearly average, at end of year are not unexpected.
    /////////////////
    For northern latitudes as reported by ESRL, here are the recent atmospheric methane levels in ppb:
    Year--ppb
    2004--1790
    2005--1789
    2006--1788
    2007--1796
    2008--1800
    2009--1811
    2010--1816

    In the months of October & November of 2010, methane readings spiked higher than ever measured at consecutive readings of 1828ppb & 1836ppb. Two other 2010 months were above 1820ppb. One other month in 2010 & the last two months in 2009 had readings very close to 1820ppb.
    ///////////////

    I hope readers find some interest in this data.......... litesong
     
  5. Old Rocks
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    Old Rocks Diamond Member

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    This should be compared to the methane levels over the last 400,000 years. Rarely did that level exceed 700 ppb.

    File:Vostok 420ky 4curves insolation.jpg - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
  6. Old Rocks
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    Old Rocks Diamond Member

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  7. skookerasbil
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    skookerasbil Gold Member

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    Butt plugs for all !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I love the real hardcore alarmist crap............
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2011
  8. k2skier
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    k2skier Senior Member

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    Do you need remedial reading lessons? ...fuck you're even moronic for a retard...get a grip man.

    Below is what the arcticle summarized.

    Despite the high readings, Professor Gustafsson said that so far there was no cause for alarm, and stressed that further studies were still necessary to determine the exact cause of the methane seepage.
     
  9. skookerasbil
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    skookerasbil Gold Member

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    Reality is 95% perception s0n!!!
     
  10. Liberty
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    Liberty Silver Member

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    it is because i eat too much mexican food tbh.
     

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