Methane Release in Arctic Causing Concern

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Scientists are expressing increasing concern about the continued ability of Arctic permafrost to prevent vast amounts of methane from being released into the atmosphere. Some of these scientists have created a website “Arctic Methane Emergency Group” to highlight these concerns. It explains why they believe methane release in the Arctic is an emergency:

“If substantiated as happening on a large scale – and this year’s reports suggest that it will be – then this situation can start an uncontrollable sequence of events that would make world agriculture and civilization unsustainable. It is not alarmist to say that it is a real threat to the survival of humanity and most life on Earth.

One of the leading experts on Arctic Methane is Natalia Shakhova who along with her colleague Igor Semilitov have been studying Arctic methane since 2000. Semiletov was recently interviewed by the Independent after reporting their latest findings to a conference in California. Shakhova can be seen in the video below explaining the significance of methane release in the Arctic. At one point she says “The concentration of methane currently measured in the Arctic atmosphere is the highest ever measured during the last 400,000 years.”

The video above of Natalie Shakhova was filmed last March before she, along with 26 other US and Russian scientists, went on an emergency fact finding 45-day expedition to the Arctic region in September. “This expedition was organised on a short notice by the Russian Fund of Fundamental Research and the US National Science Foundation following the discovery of a dramatic increase in the leakage of methane gas from the sea bed in the eastern part of the Arctic,” the expedition leader Professor Igor Semiletov is quoted as saying.

The findings of the expedition have increased concerns and led to the formation of the Arctic Methane Emergency Group mentioned above. The group has detailed the reasons it believes there is now grounds for a planetary emergency in a report which can be downloaded below.

ARCTIC METHANE EMERGENCY GROUP REPORT (download).

Although the report suggests that there is now only a two to three year window available before runaway climate change occurs provoking an Extinction Level Event for the planet they also outline practical geo-engineering measures that can still be taken to avoid it.

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