Feeds

Arctic Ocean may be releasing its methane

New source of greenhouse gas identified, but not yet explained

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers
Windmills, solar, tidal - all a 'false hope', say Stanford PhDs
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
Post-pub nosh neckfiller: The MIGHTY Scotch egg
Off to the boozer? This delicacy might help mitigate the effects
I'M SO SORRY, sobs Rosetta Brit boffin in 'sexist' sexy shirt storm
'He is just being himself' says proud mum of larger-than-life physicist
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
The next big thing in medical science: POO TRANSPLANTS
Your brother's gonna die, kid, unless we can give him your, well ...
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Protecting against web application threats using SSL
SSL encryption can protect server‐to‐server communications, client devices, cloud resources, and other endpoints in order to help prevent the risk of data loss and losing customer trust.