Methane seen coming out of cracks in Arctic Sea ice...
More methane emissions lead to more warming, and more warming leads to more methane emissions.
As the Arctic warms due to global warming, the Arctic Ocean itself may be releasing vast amounts of methane, contributing to even more global warming, according to a study published today in the journal Nature Geoscience.
A new airborne study with NASA contributions measured surprising levels of the potent greenhouse gas methane coming from cracks in Arctic sea ice and areas of partial sea ice cover. This image was taken over the Arctic Ocean at a latitude of approximately 71 degrees North on April 15, 2010. (photo: NASA/JPL)
The researchers in the study led by Eric Kort of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., recorded higher levels of methane above cracks in Arctic sea ice and areas of partial sea ice cover. The openings allowed Arctic seawater to interact with the air and methane in the surface waters to escape into the atmosphere. Higher methane readings were not found above solid ice.
“It’s possible that as large areas of sea ice melt and expose more ocean water, methane production may increase, leading to larger methane emissions,” Kort said.
“As Arctic sea ice cover continues to decline in a warming climate, this source of methane may well increase," he added.
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