Arctic Meltdown : Methane Eruptions

Video Credit : The Guardian

[ PLEASE NOTE : The animation is dated 6th April 2009, so the text in the sub-titles means the year 2008 when it says “last year”. ]

European Winter 2009-2010 is turning out to be a bit parky – best not to go outside unless you can help it (or you’re under the age of 10 and love snowball fights).

However, wintry as it may be in Europe, the Arctic region is experiencing slush-inducing temperatures, and once-frozen sub-sea permafrost is starting to warm up, rot and give off methane. Lots of it :-

http://www.treehugger.com/files/2010/01/more-methane-discovered-bubbling-up-arctic-sea-floor.php

“More Methane Discovered Bubbling From Arctic Sea Floor – 1000 Times Background Levels in Places : by Matthew McDermott, New York, NY on 01. 6.2010 : Speaking about research currently being prepared for publication, Igor Semiletov of the University of Alaska, Fairbanks said that methane is being released from the East Siberian Shelf and “looks stronger than it was supposed to be.”

It might look funny if you were sitting in a boat up there, but these bubbling emissions really aren’t anything to laugh about.

The BBC News attempts a helpful diagram :-

“…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…”

While you’re considering the possible significant outcomes of this news, here are a few more Arctic Meltdown animations to wonder at :-

http://www.livescience.com/common/media/video/player.php?videoRef=arctic_ice_cap
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JMQ21p93JZc
http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=1103941609007
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Auv-Y5_w0vk
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3MTdEMEE_E
http://nsidc.org/images/arcticseaicenews/20091005_Figure6.mov
http://www.colorado.edu/news/r/7b35b8b7288eb23856042d05e3596b7d.html
http://nsidc.org/images/arcticseaicenews/20090406_animation.gif
http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/images/imagerecords/9000/9115/arcticseaice_ams_2008001.mov

Why it’s cold in Europe and warm in the Arctic is not a complete mystery, as documented by Joe Romm at ClimateProgress.org :-

One thought on “Arctic Meltdown : Methane Eruptions”

  1. Daily mean temperatures north of 80 degrees north are looking pretty average for the time of year according to the Danish Centre of Ocean and Ice.

    http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/meant80n.uk.php

    Seems like it’s about as cold in the NH as it usually is in winter, give or take a degree C or two, but that the geographic distribution is a little unusual. I love the colors in that NSIDC/NOAA/ESRL graph.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *