Scientists Discover New Global Warming Threat: ‘Methane Time Bomb’ Under Arctic Seabed

Scientists have today warned that global warming could rapidly accelerate as millions of tons of methane escape from the arctic seabed. According to preliminary findings, as the Arctic region gets warmer massive deposits of the greenhouse gas – 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide – are rising to the surface.

Orjan Gustafsson of Stockholm University, one of the expedition’s leaders, said in an email from their Russian research ship that, for the first time, the team had discovered an extensive area of methane release so intense that “the methane did not have time to dissolve into the seawater but was rising as methane bubbles to the sea surface.” The team believe that the accelerated release is connected to rising temperatures throughout the Arctic region.

Gustafsson went on to report that “the conventional thought has been that the permafrost ‘lid’ on the sub-sea sediments on the Siberian shelf should cap and hold the massive reservoirs of shallow methane deposits in place.” However, extensive research across thousands of square miles of the Arctic seabed had revealed growing evidence “that the permafrost lid is starting to get perforated and thus leak methane.”

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Image Credit – Nick_Russill via Flickr on a Creative Commons License

50 Comments

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  1. I read these Global Warming articles and keep wondering why this video with many scientist references and facts is never talked about… http://www.rightalk.com/asx/ggws.asx …. Just a healthy counterpoint for global warming supporters, comment on it all you want, just give it a chance and watch it before passing judgement…

    • and our governors still think about what land to exploit for wood and what industrial new openings can be settled in undeveloped countries . .. . . ….
      – they verbal fight each other ( and not only ) ,
      – they fight against others for the ” CHAIR ” (it doesn’t matter what chair) ,
      – they spend enormous amounts of money on campaigNs ,
      – they argue and stand proud with their justice and truth ,
      as the place where we all belong , the earth struggles to resist and survive
      as the place that holds us all can’t do it for long keeping it this way
      I HOPE I AM WRONG , yet i got a feeling that if they don’t let go the petrol and the wood with all the money and running economy which that affects ,

      they won’t have where to put the chairs they’re fighting for
      hope i’m wrong , a fabulous day to y’all !

  2. In that case, don’t we need to find a way to capture the methane that is bubbling up, process it into the various natural gases, sell those gases as combustible fuels, burn the fuels, and release CO2 as a by-product of combustion? That could reduce the effects by a factor of 20. Maybe that’s why Russia has laid claim to the energy reserves in the Arctic.

  3. in the spirit of all the ecological and economic doom and gloom.i recall a conversation i once had with an air force colonel.i asked him if there were really extrarestrials out there and if there were would they help the human race if we were on the brink of extinction.his reply went something like this .space men nay but if their were they just be sittin out there watchin a slow burn.

  4. And finally, the ugly truth about Global Warming…theres nothing we can do about it! The planets gonna get warmer weather we want it to or not. Either that, or we can try to find a way to “capture the methane that is bubbling up” Hmmm. You can argue points about if we’re having an effect on it or not, but in the end, we’re going to have to adapt.

  5. There is no debate on global warming — it is a fact. Actually there is not a single peer-reviewed article written in the last 5 years that does not support the fact that global warming exists and will create mass devastation on a global scale if left unchecked. As a result, there is no point wasting time watching propaganda. One might as well watch movies developed on why the world is flat or 6,000 years old. What we need to do is figure out what to do to mitigate GW and cope with it. Please join http://www.wecansolveit.org today.

  6. The thing that everyone is forgeting is that methane gas is actually used by the ozone layer to help rebuild it and stabilize itself there is nothing wrong with methane gas and it does not hurt our ecosystem.

  7. This is what we get for someone else’s mistakes, more and more trouble for future generations, like me! When I’m in my 40s or 50s, all of today’s teens and children will be suffering from all the global warming causes! We need to do something about global warming! Stop worrying so much about just one subject, hey, if people are worried about money, people, economy, etc. then if global warming makes us go extinct, or practically kills us, then there won’t be a world at all to make anything! live anything! do anything! WE NEED TO SAVE OUR PLANET! IT’S OUR ONLY HOME!!!

    and about this article…exactlly what Bobby B. said, scientists should be figuring out a way to get the methane out! sure it may cost a couple thousand, ten, or hundred thousand dollars, and maybe take up a couple pounds of water, but we’ve spent billions of dollors on the economy and emergencies like that! Do those people not care about their children’s future!?! WE NEED TO DO SOMETHING!!!

    SAVE THE OCEAN! SAVE THE PLANET!!! SAVE OURSELVES!!!!!

  8. Yes, let’s capture this bubbling gas, somehow, and make money off it. Are you a total tool? Do you know how the vast the Arctic Sea is and how much methane is being released? By the time anything could be put in place to gather and pipeline anything, we’re already screwed. We’re beyond the tipping point. We’ve tipped. Depending on where you live and how you’ve prepared, you might just be screwed.

  9. I agree with Bobby B… When need to think of ways to captures this natural source of methane, and convert it into fuel. This in itself would help with more then one issue we are facing.

  10. i watched your whole video

    its pure bullshit
    please realize what your doing before the waters heat up and kill all life in the ocean, all the water dries out, all the bees die so we have no food, teh air becomes unbreathable, and no one can eat icecream

  11. I say this world is dieing slowly the U.S. has changed since the Founding Fathers. We try to find ways to save this planet, but it’s starting to just plainly die. Think about it.

  12. Great idea Bobby – we can send Sarah Palin’s husband out in a motorboat to buzz around the Arctic sea with a beaker and catch all the methane bubbles as they pop! We’ll be rich!

  13. this is really a bunch of CRAP. We cannot realistically believe that man can harm this planet, even if we set out to do so. It has been through many changes in the BILLLIONS of years it has been here and changes will continue with or without us. It’s all about the money, everything “GREEN” costs us more and nothing has changed due to these efforts. In fact, in the last two years, the earth has COOLED and may continue to do so due to inactivity of sun spots. We can’t blame human activity for that, can we? What a pile of tripe!

  14. Are those chemtrails I see in the background of that ice berg? Are they spraying up there, as they are over the rest of the world? And what might that have to do with global warming? How about everything to do with it?

  15. We should stop burning fossil fuels all together. It ruins the atmosphere and destroys the environment. I look at Earth as a living organism. It is after all ‘Mother Earth’. And much like every living creature it has enough poison within its body, if ingested to destroy itself. Say your appendix were to burst. You would get sick, and possibly die. But your body has places to absorb and dissolve all of these toxins that we intake on a daily basis.
    The Earth is no different. Soil and water act as shield and purifiers to keep these toxins stable and undercontrol. When we humans drill for oil and burn that fuel, it then is ingested by the Earth filtered by its air, land, water, and destroys the ozone layer which protects us from space. We are the cancer on this beautiful beacon, and we need to STOP ACTING LIKE IT. Don’t be a cancer. You are only a human being when you are being human. – I said that.

  16. This story is leaky. “Permafrost lid”? The arctic ice breaks and floats every summer, thus leaking the methane trapped. These are not vast reservoirs of trapped methane. They are products soil bacteria on the ocean floor. The large trapped reservoirs of gas trapped are trapped by the enormous pressure exerted by the water above them. As much as we would like to think the entire ocean is warming this observed trend is limited to the surface. Water’s heat capacity makes it an excellent insulator thus past the first 30 meters of surface water very little if any warming occurs,go a couple of hundred meters and your at insane pressures and freezing water temps all are adequate for trapping gasses. This is one of the main principles behind creating CO2 reclamation trenches in the ocean. Once again shoty science by sensational news writers.

  17. Funny – if science came out tomorrow with videos claiming that SUVs would increase sperm count or that consuming your weight in pork and cheese daily was now healthy I doubt you would be arguing or looking for alternative “studies” done by “equally qualified” people. You’d go out and buy yourself two more just like the one in your driveway, then sit down and consume an entire hog with cheddar sauce. Because it’s something that threatens your modern comfort you balk. Well, I suppose there are more selfish things than searching desperately for an excuse to keep doing exactly as you please at the expense of everyone else on the planet- I just haven’t seen any.

  18. “COME ON PEOPLE” This is something that has been going on for years. We have just not had the right resources or money/technology to find these “methane pockets” we need to put more money into research or else we are all ucfaded. We sit here and speculate all these theories without even having enough money or resources to support them. Until we get somebody in office that has any idea how things work (and will support such research financially) we are doomed. VOTE OBAMA IF YOU CARE.

  19. -IF- this is true, then doesn’t it support the idea that GW may not be a result of human interference? Think about it, methane slowly rising accelerating the conditions for more methane to rise. It seems that these effects are already in motion, and worry if you will, but preventative measures should not be our concern. We should be figuring out what we are going to do if this indeed affects our climate.

  20. This is not news! The University of Alaska Fairbanks has been studying this for a long time. There may be more carbon in hydrated methane in that region than all the worlds reserves of coal and oil put together according to one study from UAF! I think that is why the Russians are interested in claiming much of the Arctic.
    I always love it someone discovers something others have known for years! By the way global warming has been going on since the last ice age, long before Al Gore discovered it and long before internal combustion engines.

  21. responder #1, you’d be more credible if your link wasn’t called “right talk.”

    I suggest you find more credible sources rather than conservative blog websites. Let’s face it, the main reason why conservatives don’t believe in climate change is because they think it’s a liberal pet peeve.

  22. Are there just too many people on this planet? Couldn’t anyone anywhere have thought that his or her genetic code was dysfunctional, especially when the primary intent was the survival of its identity?

  23. I aggree with Bobby’s comment. Isn’t there a way for us to capture the gas and use as combustible fuels. With the advancement of our technology we should have the resources to accomplish that task. In matter of fact with all the bad news throughout the world we need some good news.

  24. one of the problems I have with (supposed) “global warming” is … that unless salt water ice expands as an iceberg melts (thus reportedly raising ocean levels), wouldn’t that same logic demand that a glass of ice water will eventually overflow as the cubes melt?

  25. using methane as an alternative fuel is not as great as it sounds because the bi-product from it will increase the temperature of the earths atmosphere 20* faster than CO2.

  26. Responder: Thank you for posting that link. There are so many that don’t buy into what the media/politicians proselytize to us plebs and I, for one, haven’t bought the Global Warming scare…in fact, I’m old enough to remember the Global Freeze scare. HA

  27. will there be a domino effect afer the release of these gases as it will add to further rise in the global temperature? People need to be educated further with the use of consumable and noncosumable goods releasing harmful gases and companies still manufacturing these products should be recalled. Here in the tropics, rise in the sea level is beginning to be felt.

  28. In response to the first commenter about the documentary The Global Warming Swindle as seen on rightalk.com. You simply need to google this movie and the featured scientists to find out that this movie is a piece of propaganda. Read the Wikipedia entries for this movie and featured scientists, the movie is very misleading.

  29. what else is new…this world is just a time clock…it can only take some much…lesson is ..live life to the fullest daily enjoy cuz its not forever

  30. Methane gases have been leaking at irregular intervals since the earth first formed. How about some positive news from our scientific dooms sayers. If I were a 10 year old today I’d probably shrug my shoulders and blow my brains out. I mean if its not asteriods the size of Manhatten, global warming or a islamic jihad on western civilization, then expect the sun to super-nova and vaporize us all instantly.
    You guys should be writing science fiction books, not this garbage. Dean Koontz said it best,”there is more truth in fiction than there is in science.”

  31. Very interesting video. But I think the polical timing of this video is not good. When media gets a hold of a canidate that doesn’t believe in Global warming he/she is instantly a puppet of Big Oil industries.

    This video will come to light after the election is complete or when the amount of sun spots is reduced

  32. So basically take the lemons God’s handed us and make sweet tasty fuel flavored lemonade. If such a mechanical system exists to harvest the gas over the area that it’s being released from, it would be sweet, but that may be biting off more than we can chew. Factor in the amount of R&D required to make such platforms and the amount of time needed to build them, it seems implausible that such harvesters could be constructed in time to make use of the abundant fuel source. That is, before it tears a hole in the ozone layer, or will it? Life on this planet emits a whole lot of CO2. We gotta be asking how much methane gas is a massive amount of methane gas, between us and everything else that poops we emit a lot of methane gas. One could say a massive amount of it. Should we do something about it? Sure, and probably soon. Will we be able to do something about it? Probably, but that depends on how many people still think this stuff is a hoax.

    Perhaps between the LHC, global warming, and the economic breakdown/transition the Mayan oh-**** date will be true. I’m just banking on robot dinosaurs (ancient prisoners of the time war) to pop out of the time hole where the Higgs boson was supposed to be. Robot dinosaurs are the real reason why particles have mass!

  33. i guess in this case, we need to focus on how to prevent that methane from going up.. i am concerned about the human race and race after us.. we should consider this as our top priority.. we can still do something, we just have to figure this out.. i do not know more about in scientific explanation but, u can translate it into English.. =)

  34. @ Bobby B. thats an intelligent point but then again, couldnt we find a more efficient way of breaking down the methane into something other than a fuel source?
    thereby reducing the CO2 released into the air to just the amount given off by factories that will break it down.

    then we go with that 12 year old’s idea, work on it, evolve it a little to the point where solar energy is the primary source of energy, or we can use one guys idea of a windmill like object thats higher in the air so it gets greater gust of wind which eguals more power being generated, i think there were only a few problems to be worked out.

    also i think most cars are 15% efficient, which is horrible if you ask me, shouldnt we have mech engineers nd chem engineers working on solving this problem?

  35. Why does Sarah Palin not talk more of gobal warming that is taking place in Alaska? I know that she is a republician and most are for the oil companies but come on your there governer! Unless maybe gobal warming is a lie?

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