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Data on Arctic methane will be available in six months

The first results of methane discharge research conducted by the expedition to the Eastern Arctic, which concluded its work on Monday, will be ready in about six months, Dr. Igor Semiletov, expedition leader and head of the Arctic Research Laboratory at the Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, told RIA Novosti.

The expedition of 27 Russian and U.S. scientists left Vladivostok on September 2 at short notice to study massive methane discharges from underwater gas hydrates in the Eastern Arctic. A special focus on this problem can be explained by the fact that a drastic increase of this gas in the Earth’s atmosphere can exacerbate the greenhouse effect.

According to Semiletov, the scientists detected the most powerful methane discharges in the north of the Laptev Sea. Although earlier the scientists detected only several eruptions of gas, this time they found thousands of them using state-of-the-art equipment.



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I don't know if all of the paper is out yet, but there's a news article here: Shock as retreat of Arctic sea ice releases deadly greenhouse gas.

The scale and volume of the methane release has astonished the head of the Russian research team who has been surveying the seabed of the East Siberian Arctic Shelf off northern Russia for nearly 20 years.

In an exclusive interview with The Independent, Igor Semiletov, of the Far Eastern branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said that he has never before witnessed the scale and force of the methane being released from beneath the Arctic seabed.

"Earlier we found torch-like structures like this but they were only tens of metres in diameter. This is the first time that we've found continuous, powerful and impressive seeping structures, more than 1,000 metres in diameter. It's amazing," Dr Semiletov said. "I was most impressed by the sheer scale and high density of the plumes. Over a relatively small area we found more than 100, but over a wider area there should be thousands of them.

Most impressed; my god.

February 2018



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