An global team of scientists has found evidence that methane deposits located in the Arctic Ocean, known as "sleeping giants of the carbon cycle", have begun to be released over a large area of the east coast of Siberia - and everything indicates that the world will soon will suffer the consequences of the phenomenon.
The deposits are considered "sleeping giants of the carbon cycle" and could theoretically expedite climate change, given that methane has a warming effect 80 times stronger than carbon dioxide over a 20 year period, The Guardian notes.
Increased levels of the potent greenhouse gas were noticed up to a depth of 350 meters in the Laptev Sea near Russian Federation, provoking concern among researchers that a new climate feedback loop started and it might rapidly speed up the pace of global warming. According to the scientists, their findings are preliminary.
The slopes off which the gases are being released off contain sediments with large amounts of frozen methane deposits. During their next expedition to the North Pole, they hope to analyze the information to predict the quantity of methane release and then publish their findings in a peer-reviewed journal. The US Geological Survey previously listed the instability of Arctic "hydrates" as one of four risky scenarios for sudden climate change.
At one location on the Laptev Sea slope, scientists found that at a depth of 300 meters, the methane concentrations of up to 1,600 nanomoles per liter -400 times more than predicted concentration when the atmosphere and sea are at balance.
The loss of billions of tons of ice from Earth's frozen spaces is likely to increase global temperatures by an additional 0.4 degrees Celsius, according to research Tuesday highlighting the danger of a "vicious circle" of warming.
The worldwide team on board the Russian research vessel "Academic Kilaidish" said that most of the bubbles now dissolve in the water, but the methane levels at the surface were four to eight times what is normally expected, and this goes to the atmosphere. Either way, "there is unlikely to be any major" climate effect "at this moment", Swedish scientist Örjan Gustafsson, told The Guardian from the research vessel. Most importantly, however, the process that triggered the methane leak has already begun, "said a researcher at Stockholm University".
As part of the International Siberian Shelf Study (ISSS-2020) expedition, the researchers monitored several areas on the Laptev Sea slope and found evidence that the methane is starting to be released. This is a new page. "Potentially they can have serious climate consequences, but we need more study before we can confirm that".
The North Pole is getting warmer nearly three times compared to the global average. The sea ice hit a very low record this October, as unusually warm waters slowed the ice's recovery.
"This follows the Siberian heatwave, with temperatures as high as 38C".