Climate change - methane is now bubbling up from the open ocean

I feel I have to make people aware of another ominous development in our changing climate. I reported at the beginning of the year on methane bubbling up from the relatively shallow sea of the East Siberian Arctic Shelf. This event had been predicted by scientists. Vast amounts of methane are trapped in the frozen ground in that region, created from decaying vegetation. As the arctic warms, the surface ice will melt, releasing that methane gas. Methane is a far more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide and so will help to increase the temperature of the region even further, causing more methane release and eventually, catastrophic heating.

A news article has appeared in this morning's Independent newspaper reporting that methane has now been discovered bubbling up from the open arctic ocean, appearing through cracks in the thinning ice. To quote:

A new source of methane – a greenhouse gas many times more powerful than carbon dioxide – has been identified by scientists flying over areas in the Arctic where the sea ice has melted. The researchers found significant amounts of methane being released from the ocean into the atmosphere through cracks in the melting sea ice. They said the quantities could be large enough to affect the global climate. Previous observations have pointed to large methane plumes being released from the seabed in the relatively shallow sea off the northern coast of Siberia but the latest findings were made far away from land in the deep, open ocean where the surface is usually capped by ice.


The article includes a helpful graphic showing the thinning ice in the arctic and the runaway heating that the spiralling release of arctic methane will cause.



I think there is still time to reverse this but we had really better get our act together soon. For anyone who's interested in what the world will be like if we continue on our current course, I recommend 'Climate Wars' by Gwynne Dyer. It does a ramble a bit but it paints a well-researched and ominous picture of what might come.