Earlier this week during the American Geophysical Union meeting in Bay Area Dr Semiletov released Alarming results, Dramatic and unparalleled plumes of methane are bubbling to the top of Arctic Sea discovered by researchers undertaking a comprehensive survey from the region.
Methane is roughly 25 times as potent at trapping heat as carbon dioxide over the course of a century. Igor Semiletov, belonging to the Asian branch from the Russian Academy of Sciences, explained he hasn't before observed the scale and pressure from the methane being released from underneath the Arctic seabed.
The dimensions and amount of the methane release has shocked the mind from the Russian investigation team that has been surveying the seabed from the East Siberian Arctic Shelf off northern Russia for almost 2 decades.
"Earlier we found torch-like structures such as this however they were only hundreds of metres across. This is actually the very first time that we have found ongoing, effective and impressive leaking structures, in excess of 1,000 metres across. It's amazing," Dr Semiletov stated. "I had been most astounded by the massive scale and density from the plumes. On the relatively small area we found a lot more than 100, but on the wider area there must be 1000's of these.
Researchers estimate that you will find 100s of immeasurable tonnes of methane gas locked away underneath the Arctic permafrost, which in turn stretches in the landmass in to the seabed from the relatively shallow ocean through the East Siberian Arctic Shelf. Probably the greatest fears is the fact that using the disappearance from the Arctic ocean-ice in summer season, and rapidly rising temps over the whole region, that are already melting the Siberian permafrost, the trapped methane might be all of a sudden launched in to the atmosphere resulting in rapid and severe global warming.
Dr Semiletov's team released a study this year determining the methane pollutants out of this region were about eight million tonnes annually, however the latest expedition suggests this can be a substantial underestimate from the phenomenon.
Previously, the Russian research vessel Academician Lavrentiev carried out a comprehensive survey around 10,000 square miles of ocean from the East Siberian coast. Researchers used four highly sensitive instruments, both seismic and acoustic, to watch the "fountains" or plumes of methane bubbles rising towards the ocean surface from underneath the seabed.
"In an exceedingly small area, under 10,000 square miles, we've counted a lot more than 100 fountains, or torch-like structures, bubbling with the water column and injected into the atmosphere in the seabed," Dr Semiletov stated. "We completed inspections at about 115 stationary points and discovered methane fields of the fantastic scale - I believe on the scale not seen before. Some plumes were a km or even more wide and also the pollutants went into the atmosphere - the concentration would be a hundred occasions greater than usual.
- Published in Science & Technology