May 27, 2016 Source: CAGE – Center for Arctic Gas Hydrate, Climate and Environment Summary: 250 methane flares release the climate gas methane from the seabed and into the Arctic Ocean. During the summer months this leads to an increased methane concentration in the ocean. But surprisingly, very little of the climate gas rising up through the sea reaches the atmosphere, report investigators.
250 methane flares release the climate gas methane from the seabed and into the Arctic Ocean. During the summer months this leads to an increased methane concentration in the ocean. But surprisingly, very little of the climate gas rising up through the sea reaches the atmosphere.
“Our results are exciting and controversial,” says senior scientist Cathrine Lund Myhre from NILU — Norwegian Institute for Air Research, who is cooperating with CAGE through MOCA project.
The results were published in Geophysical Research Letters.
The scientist performed simultaneous measurements close to seabed, in the ocean and in the atmosphere during an extensive ship and air campaign offshore Svalbard Archipelago in summer 2014. As of today, three independent models employing the marine and atmospheric measurements show that the methane emissions from the sea bed in the area did not significantly affect the atmosphere.
“This is an important message to bring to the debate on the state of the ocean and atmospheric system in the Arctic. It is also important to emphasize that the Arctic has in recent years experienced major changes and average temperatures well above normal values. A thorough description of the present state of the Arctic environment, possible only with adequate measurements, is essential to the detection of future changes of potentially global significance.” says Lund Myhre.
Methane increase since 2006
Levels of methane in the atmosphere have risen by an average of 6 parts per billion (ppb) globally per year since 2006, and slightly more over the Arctic and Norway. Since methane is the most important greenhouse gas after CO2, it is very important to explore why.
CAGE – Center for Arctic Gas Hydrate, Climate and Environment. “Arctic Ocean methane does not reach the atmosphere.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 May 2016. <http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/05/160527112654.htm>.
C. Lund Myhre, B. Ferré, S. M. Platt, A. Silyakova, O. Hermansen, G. Allen, I. Pisso, N. Schmidbauer, A. Stohl, J. Pitt, P. Jansson, J. Greinert, C. Percival, A. M. Fjaeraa, S. J. O’Shea, M. Gallagher, M. Le Breton, K. N. Bower, S. J. B. Bauguitte, S. Dalsøren, S. Vadakkepuliyambatta, R. E. Fisher, E. G. Nisbet, D. Lowry, G. Myhre, J. A. Pyle, M. Cain, J. Mienert. Extensive release of methane from Arctic seabed west of Svalbard during summer 2014 does not influence the atmosphere. Geophysical Research Letters, 2016; 43 (9): 4624 DOI: 10.1002/2016GL068999