Feeds

Arctic Ocean may be releasing its methane

New source of greenhouse gas identified, but not yet explained

Boost IT visibility and business value

A group of researchers has expressed concern that the Arctic may contribute more methane to the atmosphere than previously estimated.

While working out the past history of climate change is relatively straightforward (especially for the past fifty to one hundred years, for which we have direct measurements), predicting its future is more difficult – and one of the uncertainties is the role of the potent, but less-common greenhouse gas, methane.

Methane stored in both permafrost (which is melting) and methane hydrates (methane trapped in marine reservoirs) are vulnerable to being released into the atmosphere as the planet warms.

However, neither of these are the source of methane observed in new research published in Nature Geosceince by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Erik Kort.

Working with the HIPPO (HAIPER Pole-to-Pole Observations) research team, Kort and his collaborators found patches of methane in remote Arctic regions while seeking to map atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations on a global basis.

As reported in New Scientist, in methane-rich regions “about 2 milligrams of the gas” is released per square meter of ocean, each day. Kort told New Scientist that a possible source of the methane is marine bacteria surviving in low-nutrient environments.

Should a warming environment cause that methane to be released into the atmosphere, it would need to be included in predictive models.

This makes new research to be published by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration in an upcoming issue of Geophysical Research Letters worth watching out for.

Summarised by Science magazine’s “Science Shots” here, the research shows that the heat stored in Earth’s oceans has continued to rise, even while recent weather has damped atmospheric warming.

The research is a compilation of temperature measurements from the upper 2000 meters of the ocean – and it’s worth noting that over the time span covered by the NOAA study, the error in measurement grows consistently smaller. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
Flamewars in SPAAACE: cooler fires hint at energy efficiency
Experiment aboard ISS shows we should all chill out for cleaner engines
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.