By JR on Monday, July 25, 2016
The Arctic is leaking methane 200 times faster than usual: Massive release of gas is creating giant holes and 'trembling tundras'
It has long been known that different parts of Siberia burp CH4 from time to time and it may perhaps be in response to warming -- either a local warming event or an El Nino warming. It is not however due to anthropogenic global warming because there has been none of that for many years.
The present eruptions seem to be confined to the Yamal peninsula area, which is only a very small part of Siberia. See Here regarding the inability of CH4 to affect global temperatures
And let me be really pesky by noting the finding: "No signiﬁcant increase in long-term CH4emissions on NorthSlope of Alaska despite signiﬁcant increase in air temperature". Alaska is geologically and climatically continuous with Siberia so if warming does not elevate methane levels in Alaska it seems likely that it is not doing so in Siberia either. So warming is NOT the cause of the CH4 burps presently being observed
Strange bubbles have been discovered in the Arctic permafrost - adding to mysterious behaviour seen in the region, including the sudden appearance of giant holes in northern Siberia.
Now Russian scientists have revealed the bubbles in the wobbly Earth are are leaking methane gas some 200 times above the norm in the atmosphere.
The 'trembling tundra' also contains concentrations of carbon dioxide 20 times higher than usual levels.
The extent of the harmful greenhouse gases buried in this new phenomenon of jelly-like bubbles poses 'very serious alarm' concerning the impact of global warming, expert Alexander Sokolov warned.
Some 15 examples of this swaying Siberian ground were revealed this week on Belyy Island, a polar bear outpost 475 miles (764km) north of the Arctic Circle in the Kara Sea.
One account from a Russian research team at the scene said: 'As we took off a layer of grass and soil, a fountain of gas erupted.'
'An early theory is that warm summer heat has melted the permafrost causing the release of long-frozen gases,'The Siberian Times reported.
The newspaper was the first to report the weird sight and has now shared the gas readings.
Startling video footage shows the ground wobbling under the feet of scientists.
'It was like a jelly,' said one researcher, who continued: 'We have not come across anything like this before.'
He warned there is 'serious reason to be concerned if gas bubbles appear in the permafrost zone' with 'unpredictable' consequences.
Dr Sokolov said he first saw the spectacle during an expedition on this Siberian island last year.
'I've been working in Yamal for twenty years now - some of my peers have been working here even longer - and it's the first time I have ever seen this,' said the ecological expert with the Urals Department of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
He explained: 'The day after seeing this bubble, we came across another one. 'As shown on our video, we punctured it and, let's say, "air" starting coming out quickly - it had no smell - and there was no liquid (eruption).'
The researchers went back and measured the gas that was released when the thin layer of grass and soil sealing in the methane and carbon dioxide was punctured.
'Gases are typically measured in parts per million or ppm,' he said.
'The gas analyser showed that one of these gases was dozens of times higher and another was hundreds of times higher than normal.'
The peak carbon dioxide measurement was 7750 ppm, while the methane reading was 375 ppm.
The island - which lies in the Kara Sea off the Yamal Peninsula - has had unusually warm weather this summer, including temperatures in the 20ºC (68ºF).
'It is likely that 10 days of extraordinary heat could have started some mechanisms, (and the) higher level of permafrost could have thawed and released a huge amount of gases,' Dr Sokolov said.
Three feet (one metre) down there is 'solid permafrost' so he believes the greenhouse gases are caused by the thawing of the surface layer only.
'It is evident even to amateurs that this is a very serious alarm,' he said, continuing: 'As for the future, we are interested in further study of the bubbles. 'We have discovered over a dozen of them. We need interdisciplinary study.'
South of Belvy Island, another phenomenon is being closely observed by scientists - the sudden formation of craters, caused by eruptions or explosions of methane gas, which has melted below the surface.
These Siberian craters are believed to have been caused by the release of gas previously frozen in the permafrost.
When the craters first appeared on the Yamal Peninsula - known to locals as 'the end of the world' - they sparked bizarre theories as to their formation.
They ranged from meteorites to stray missiles fired by Vladimir Putin's military machine, and from man-made pranks to the work of visiting aliens.
Most experts now believe they were created by explosions of methane gas unlocked by warming temperatures in the far north of Russia.
On Yamal, the main theory is that the craters were formed by pingos - dome-shaped mounds over a core of ice - erupting under pressure of methane gas released by the thawing of permafrost caused by climate change.
The Yamal craters, some tiny but others large, were created by natural gas filling vacant space in ice humps, eventually triggering eruptions, according to leading authority Professor Vasily Bogoyavlensky, of Moscow's Oil and Gas Research Institute.
Recently there were accounts of a 'big bang' leading to the formation of a crater on the Taimyr Peninsula. However, there was no pingo on this spot before the eruption in 2013.
The noise could be heard up to 60 miles away and one resident saw a 'glow in the sky' after the explosion, it was recently revealed.