Cracks in the Arctic Ice have been releasing large quantities of Methane Gas into the atmosphere around the Arctic region, according to scientists. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas which accelerates Global warming!
As the ocean temperatures continue to rise, large quantities of methane stored in ice is being released as it melts. The study also eliminates human carbon monoxide emissions as a contributing factor.
London, Apr 23 (ANI): The researchers have uncovered a surprising and potentially important new source of Arctic methane: the ocean itself.
The high concentrations of the greenhouse gas recorded in the air above cracks in the ice could be evidence of yet another positive feedback on the warming climate – leading to even faster Arctic warming, the New Scientist reported.
The fragile and rapidly changing Arctic region is home to large reservoirs of methane, a potent greenhouse gas.
As Earth’s climate warms, the methane, frozen in reservoirs stored in Arctic tundra soils or marine sediments, is vulnerable to being released into the atmosphere, where it can add to global warming.
Now a multi-institutional study by Eric Kort of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., was conducted as part of the HIAPER Pole-to-Pole Observations (HIPPO) airborne campaign, which flew a specially instrumented National Science Foundation (NSF)/National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Gulfstream V aircraft over the Pacific Ocean from nearly pole to pole, collecting atmospheric measurements from Earth’s surface to an altitude of 8.7 miles (14 kilometers).
The campaign, primarily funded by NSF with additional funding from NCAR, NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, was designed to improve our understanding of where greenhouse gases are originating and being stored in the Earth system.
During five HIPPO flights over the Arctic from 2009 to 2010, Kort’s team observed increased methane levels while flying at low altitudes over the remote Arctic Ocean, north of the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas. The methane level was about one-half percent larger than normal background levels.
But where was the methane coming from?
The team detected no carbon monoxide in the atmosphere that would point to possible contributions from human combustion activities. In addition, based on the time of year, location and nature of the emissions, it was extremely unlikely the methane was coming from high-latitude wetlands or geologic reservoirs.
Source: News Track India