NASA Study: Arctic Warming Causing Ocean to Emit Harmful Methane Gas

Thursday, April 26, 2012
(photo: NASA/JPL)
The greenhouse gas effect behind global warming is not only causing the ice in the Arctic sea to break apart, but also unleashing potentially even more gases that could accelerate the earth’s rising temperatures.
A new study from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory found that as the Arctic sea ice melts, enormous volumes of methane could be released into the atmosphere from the cold waters beneath.
Scientists also estimate the permafrost in higher latitudes contains billions of tons of methane. This gas, as well as methane stores in the Arctic sea, could mean the atmosphere will have to adjust to vast concentrations of the greenhouse gas as global warming causes ice sheets in the North Pole to melt.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, methane stays in the atmosphere for about 9 to 15 years and “is over 20 times more effective in trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide (CO2) over a 100-year period.” It is also produced by landfills, coal mining and natural gas exploration, among other sources.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky
To Learn More:
Study Finds Surprising Arctic Methane Emission Source (by Alan Buis, National Aeronautics and Space Administration)

BP “Oil Spill” was Really an Oil-Methane Gas Spill (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov) 


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