21 May 2012:
Methane Sources Found
Bubbling Up from Melting Ice Caps
U.S. scientists report that they have discovered new sources of methane percolating up from underground reservoirs
as glaciers, ice caps, and permafrost melt in the Arctic. University of Alaska researchers, conducting aerial and ground surveys, said they have discovered 150,000 methane seeps in Alaska alone near the margins of retreating glaciers or thawing permafrost. In Greenland, the seeps tended to be concentrated around the margins of ice caps that have been retreating for the past 150 years, the scientists said. Katey M. Walter Anthony, lead author of the study, published in the journal Nature Geoscience
, said that these seeps in the earth’s frozen zones, or cryosphere, are not currently a major source of methane emissions. But, she added, “As the cryosphere degrades further, it could be a really big source.” Methane is a far more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, and researchers are concerned that rapid warming of the Arctic could trigger a methane “time bomb
” as thawing permafrost, vegetation, and land ice result in the release of huge quantities of methane.
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Tribal people and ranchers join together to stop a project that would haul coal across their Montana land. Watch the video.
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An aerial view of why Europe’s per capita carbon emissions are less than 50 percent of those in the U.S. View the photos.
Ugandan scientists monitor the impact of climate change on one of Africa’s most diverse forests and its extraordinary wildlife. Learn more.
video series looks at the staggering amount of food wasted in the U.S. – a problem with major human and environmental costs. 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.