Report Proves that Large Amounts of Methane are Released as the Arctic Ice Melts
Greenhouse gases are changing the atmosphere and causing more energy from the sun to be trapped here upon earth, which results in the phenomena known as global warming. CO2 is probably the most famous of the greenhouse gases, but methane is also one of the largest contributors to climate change.
A new report in the journal Nature Geoscience offers some of the strongest proof that large amounts of methane are escaping from the Arctic as the ice melts.
It is generally accepted that old organic material, from as far back as the last ice age, is trapped across much of the Arctic in frozen ground called permafrost. Due to global warming the permafrost is melting allowing bacteria to convert the decaying material into methane and carbon dioxide.
However this study reports on a new system by which methane is released into the atmosphere. Methane gas is trapped in geological reservoirs deep underground by the permafrost and ice caps which make up the Earth’s cryosphere. As the icecaps are melting, rather like popping the cork on a bottle of champagne, all the methane gas is escaping.
This means that as more greenhouse gas is released, global warming increases, which increases the rate at which the ice caps melt, which in turn increases the amount of greenhouse gas released, etc.
But Doctor Katey Walter Anthony, the lead author on the report, states that this data must be interpreted with caution. Writers of environmental news and blogs often leap to the wrong conclusions about reports on Arctic methane, suggesting that this source of greenhouse gas is new and will prove devastating to the climate. Actually Dr. Walter Anthony said that they’re “not necessarily saying this is a new source, so much as it’s newly discovered.” In fact she believes that methane gas has been released from the Arctic since the last ice age 10,000 years ago.
True, scientists have noticed that the amount of methane in the atmosphere has been increasing in recent years, but studies have proven that the source is not the Arctic. Actually many believe that the source is the increased production of natural gas due to fracking.
By. James Burgess of Oilprice.com