Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 29 November 2014

Seeping methane could impact on climate change

Methane gas trapped for millennia under the Artic surface has begun to bubble up into the atmosphere, acccording to scientists.

Thousands of sites where methane has been trapped by ice have begun to emit the ancient gas as the ice melts and researchers believe it could have a significant impact on climate change.

Methane, the second most important greenhouse gas after CO2, has been found to be seeping from a number of spots in Alaska and Greenland, perhaps from natural gas or coal deposits underneath the lakes, whereas others are emitting much younger gas, presumably formed through decay of plant material in the lakes.

Scientists said that if the same thing happened in other areas, for example, in northern West Siberia, which is rich in natural gas and partially underlain by thin permafrost predicted to degrade substantially by 2100, “a very strong increase in methane carbon cycling will result, with potential implications for climate warming feedbacks”, according to the BBC.

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