Robert Felix has a very interesting post at IceAgeNow.
While surveying off the coast of eastern Siberia, a Russian research vessel made a terrifying discovery – hundreds, probably thousands, of huge plumes of methane bubbles rising to the surface from the seabed.
‘We found more than 100 fountains, some more than a kilometre across,’ said Dr Igor Semiletov, of the Far Eastern branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences. ‘These are methane fields on a scale not seen before. The emissions went directly into the atmosphere.’
Melting ‘permafrost’ beneath the Arctic seabed has apparently led to huge releases of methane, which scientists fear could lead to extremely rapid climate change.
The East Siberian Arctic Shelf is shallow, 50 meters or less, which means it has been alternately submerged or above water as sea levels rose and fell throughout Earth’s history.
During Earth’s coldest periods, it is a frozen arctic coastal plain, and does not release methane. But as sea levels rise, it is inundated with comparatively warmer seawater.
In deep water, methane gas oxidizes into carbon dioxide before it reaches the surface. But in the shallow East Siberian Arctic Shelf the methane doesn’t have enough time to oxidize, allowing more of it to escape into the atmosphere.
Methane is considered to be a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
Read the rest HERE, where you will discover that Methane degassing has occurred many times before mankind existed, and, unfortunately, it can be correlated with mass extinctions. Details in Professor Ian Plimer’s authoritative 504-page geology book, Heaven and Earth.