23 Sep 2008:
Numerous Methane `Chimneys’
Discovered by Vessel in Russian Arctic
Scientists surveying the Arctic Ocean above Russia have discovered extensive areas where large quantities of methane
, long trapped in sub-sea permafrost, are being released, raising concerns that the rapidly warming Arctic is starting to churn out this potent greenhouse gas. In recent weeks, an international team of researchers aboard a Russian vessel has traveled along much of Russia’s northern coast, discovering significant releases of methane across thousands of square miles. The methane concentrations have sometimes been 100 times greater than background levels. So much methane has been rising from the sea floor in certain spots that it has caused the sea to foam above so-called methane chimneys, according to Orjan Gustafson of Stockholm University. Several recent studies have detected high concentrations of methane above the Arctic Ocean, leading scientists to hypothesize that melting permafrost on the sea floor is allowing stores of methane — locked up since before the last ice age — to bubble into the atmosphere. Methane has 20 times the heat-trapping capacity of carbon dioxide.
Yale Environment 360 is
a publication of the
Yale School of Forestry
& Environmental Studies
Yale Environment 360
articles are now available in Spanish and Portuguese on Universia
, the online educational network. Visit the site.
Business & Innovation
Policy & Politics
Pollution & Health
Science & Technology
Antarctica and the Arctic
Central & South America
The 2015 Yale e360 Video Contest winner documents a Northeastern town's bitter battle over a wind farm. Watch the video.
is now available for mobile devices at e360.yale.edu/mobile
A 2015 Yale e360 Video Contest winner captures stunning images of wild salmon runs in Alaska. Watch the video.
video goes onto the front lines with Colorado firefighters confronting deadly blazes fueled by a hotter, drier climate. Watch the video.
A three-part series Tainted Harvest
looks at the soil pollution crisis in China, the threat it poses to the food supply, and the complexity of any cleanup. Read the series.
Top Image: aerial view of Iceland
. © Google & TerraMetrics.