In an extensive field study of 10,000 square miles of sea floor near the East Siberian Arctic shelf, researchers from the Russian Academy of Sciences measured the number and size of plumes or fountains of methane bubbling to the surface from the sea bed.
To their surprise, they found over 100 plumes, with some whose size exceeded one kilometer in diameter, representing a massive increase compared to visits a decade earlier when they had been less than 100 meters wide.
Scientists have already been expressing concern for the hundreds of millions of tons of methane locked in frozen permafrost beneath the Arctic, which could cause runaway global warming once a certain amount melts and is released into the atmosphere.
Lead author Dr. Igor Semiletov of the Far Eastern branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences said he had never witnessed methane being released on such a scale or with such force before, saying that the gas being measured was not only going directly into the atmosphere, it was doing so at concentrations 100 times higher than normal.
In appreciation for your work, Dr. Semiltov, we join in deep concern for these findings. May we step together in rapid efforts to restore planetary balance through humane and sustainable lifestyles.
During a December 2010 press conference in Cancún, Mexico, Supreme Master Ching Hai mentioned the dangerous methane gas release from the Arctic as being just part of the reason why a faster solution is needed to stop rising temperatures.
Sources: Belfast Telegraph, NZ Herald