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Shakhova Study - CH4 Saturation Levels In Seawater 250-1,400X Bground; Far Larger Release Possible

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hatrack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-05-10 12:13 PM
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Shakhova Study - CH4 Saturation Levels In Seawater 250-1,400X Bground; Far Larger Release Possible
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The East Siberian Arctic Shelf is a methane-rich area that encompasses more than 2 million square kilometers of seafloor in the Arctic Ocean. It is more than three times as large as the nearby Siberian wetlands, which have been considered the primary Northern Hemisphere source of atmospheric methane. Shakhova's research results show that the East Siberian Arctic Shelf is already a significant methane source: 7 teragrams yearly, which is equal to the amount of methane emitted from the rest of the ocean. A teragram is equal to about 1.1 million tons.

"Our concern is that the subsea permafrost has been showing signs of destabilization already," she said. "If it further destabilizes, the methane emissions may not be teragrams, it would be significantly larger."

EDIT

They found that more than 80 percent of the deep water and greater than half of surface water had methane levels more than eight times that of normal seawater. In some areas, the saturation levels reached at least 250 times that of background levels in the summer and 1,400 times higher in the winter.

They found corresponding results in the air directly above the ocean surface. Methane levels were elevated overall and the seascape was dotted with more than 100 hotspots. This, combined with winter expedition results that found methane gas trapped under and in the sea ice, showed the team that the methane was not only being dissolved in the water, it was bubbling out into the atmosphere. These findings were further confirmed when Shakhova and her colleagues sampled methane levels at higher elevations. Methane levels throughout the Arctic are usually 8 to 10 percent higher than the global baseline. When they flew over the shelf, they found methane at levels another 5 to 10 percent higher than the already elevated arctic levels.

EDIT

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/1003041422...
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OKIsItJustMe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-05-10 12:30 PM
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