This is a shocking new first-time finding. Researchers have discovered methane gas actively leaking from Antarctica’s seafloor, accelerating the process of global warming. Similar to carbon dioxide, methane is a powerful greenhouse gas that accelerates the process of global warming even faster than carbon dioxide.
The gas leak was first found in 2011. However, scientists believed that microorganisms could help eat away at the gas, stopping it before it reaches the atmosphere. New research, published Tuesday in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, indicates that the microorganisms are not helping. Methane gas is still found to be leaking from the ice. Dr. Andrew Thurber from Oregon State University (and lead author on the study) says that “it may be five to 10 years before a community becomes fully adapted and starts consuming methane.”
Also speaking The Guardian, he says, “It is not good news. It took more than five years for the microbes to begin to show up and even then there was still methane rapidly escaping from the seafloor.” Global warming has put Arctic sea ice declination at about 12.85 percent per decade, according to NASA.
NASA had also announced a warning back in 2018, detailing how methane gas could be released due to the melting of Arctic ice. This is revelation shows a very obvious domino effect. Global warming causes the melting of Arctic ice, which in turn releases greenhouse gases like methane that further accelerate global warming, and the circle continues. Soon, it may be too late to stop growing problem that is climate change.
Methane is also considered to be an irreversible green house gas as its effects cannot be stopped or reversed. This new, first-time discovery of an active methane in Antarctica raises major concerns among researchers all over the world. It doesn’t help that the ultimate source of the methane still remains unknown, according to the researchers.
The only benefit that arises from this new finding of actively leaking methane is the chance to analyze and understand how methane is consumed/not consumed by microorganisms and how they are released. The researchers also said that no knowledge of existence of any active methane likes was “hindering our understanding of the processes that regulate the release of Antarctica’s methane.”
Since their research also explores how the development of microorganisms affect greenhouse gasses emitted from marine reservoirs, it could be used to predict how much time microorganisms take to respond to and consume greenhouse gases. Though their research has been on pause due to the coronavirus pandemic, as The Guardian mentions, they will still be continuing on with their work.
Do you think we will have a future where scientists can one day develop and grow microorganisms to combat greenhouse gases? Let us know in the comments below!
Source: Business Insider
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