Greenhouse Gas Methane Leaking from Arctic Ocean at an Alarming Rate and Scale

Shock as retreat of Arctic sea ice releases deadly greenhouse gas - Climate Change - Environment - The Independent

Russian research team astonished after finding 'fountains' of methane bubbling to surface

Dramatic and unprecedented plumes of methane – a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide – have been seen bubbling to the surface of the Arctic Ocean by scientists undertaking an extensive survey of the region.

According to Igor Semiletov of the Russian Academy of Sciences, methane gas is 20 times more harmful than carbon dioxide. Semiletov has studied these methane plumes for years but most of that time they were only about 30 meters in diameter. Semiletov said, "We carried out checks at about 115 stationary points and discovered methane fields of a fantastic scale — I think on a scale not seen before."

But with these methane bubbling holes having expanded to nearly one mile wide with no end to their expansion in sight , he is more than just a little bit concerned.

'Fountains' of methane 1,000m across erupt from Arctic ice - a greenhouse gas 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide | Mail Online

 The Russian research vessel Academician Lavrentiev conducted a survey of 10,000 square miles of sea off the coast of eastern Siberia.
They made a terrifying discovery - huge plumes of methane bubbles rising to the surface from the seabed.
'We found more than 100 fountains, some more than a kilometre across,' said Dr Igor Semiletov, 'These are methane fields on a scale not seen before. The emissions went directly into the atmosphere.'
Far East Siberia: The melting of 'permafrost' under the sea has led to huge releases of methane - far more abrupt and intense than anything on land

Methane bubbles trapped in ice: Normally, bubbles from the seabed turn into carbon dioxide before reaching the surface, but the East Siberian Arctic Shelf is so shallow the methane travels directly into the atmosphere

Hugh Methane Plumes in Artic discovered - YouTube

Scientists estimate that there are hundreds of millions of tonnes of methane gas locked away beneath the Arctic permafrost, which extends from the mainland into the seabed of the relatively shallow sea of the East Siberian Arctic Shelf. One of the greatest fears is that with the disappearance of the Arctic sea-ice in summer, and rapidly rising temperatures across the entire region, which are already melting the Siberian permafrost, the trapped methane could be suddenly released into the atmosphere leading to rapid and severe climate change.

Dr Semiletov's team published a study in 2010 estimating that the methane emissions from this region were about eight million tonnes a year, but the latest expedition suggests this is a significant underestimate of the phenomenon.

nsf.gov - National Science Foundation (NSF) News - Methane Releases From Arctic Shelf May Be Much Larger and Faster Than Anticipated - US National Science Foundation (NSF)

March 4, 2010
A section of the Arctic Ocean seafloor that holds vast stores of frozen methane is showing signs of instability and widespread venting of the powerful greenhouse gas, according to the findings of an international research team led by University of Alaska Fairbanks scientists Natalia Shakhova and Igor Semiletov.