Mega-methane leakage in the Antarctic discovered - now a devastating climate threatens to cascade

From a hole in the bottom of the Südpolarmeers flows of methane – and probably for many years. It is the first leak of this kind in the Antarctic, the scientist

Mega-methane leakage in the Antarctic discovered - now a devastating climate threatens to cascade

From a hole in the bottom of the Südpolarmeers flows of methane – and probably for many years. It is the first leak of this kind in the Antarctic, the scientists tracked. The exiting gas is relatively low. Nevertheless, the Fund prepares the explorers to Worry. Because methane is a potent greenhouse gas, the effect is much stronger on the climate than from the combustion of fossil fuels-derived carbon dioxide (CO2).

said Exactly the leak is located in the McMurdo sound, a Bay in the Ross sea, and is situated in ten meters depth. For the first time, it was noticed divers in 2011, but only from 2016, it has been scientifically researched. Now, a group put the micro Andrew Thurber of Oregon State University in the journal "Proceedings of the Royal Society B, biologists" the results of this investigation. You paint a grim picture of the potential impact of gas leaks on the climate. More on the topic of climate 51 million hectares of forest Europe can be planting trees to stop climate change oceans as warm as never before: The Ecosystems dead zones Professor threaten, now disillusioned, says climate activists: "these are naive, immature word More than three million Germans sleeves" threatened due to climate change, the loss of the home to arguments refuted: What you skeptics of Climate on crude theories of Dangerous tipping points should reply: What happens if we do not comply with the 1.5-degree target

Antarctica: Decaying algae methane on the ocean floor

The methane seems to be from algae, which sold for over thousands of years on the sea floor. Now they are buried under sediments decay more and more. Overall, the Antarctic, and can be stored in the ocean floors, according to expert estimates, around a quarter of the sub-sea methane deposits in the earth.

was Why the leak is unclear. "Is this a riddle we have no answer yet," said study leader Thurber, the British "Guardian". "It is located on the edge of an active underwater volcano, but this localization does not seem to be the cause of the leak." Also, global warming is unlikely to play a role, because the Ross sea has not heated yet still significant.

in fact, the Gas could be set on a wide-scale, if the climate change makes the water temperatures at the South pole to rise. However, currently, Thurber and his colleagues have another reason to worry: Normally, specialized microbes use methane directly to his sources on the sea floor as a source of energy that fuels your metabolism. It is in the less climate-damaging CO2 and some by-products are transformed.

methane-eating microbes not come after

When the active leak in the Ross sea is different. There, the methane-eaters settled only very slowly, moreover, they grew up in, only a small number. Although formed in the five years from discovery to sampling of the volcanic cone, a 70-Meter-long white bacterial Mat. But to the Surprise of the researchers, so-called anaerobic accounted for species, the intercept of the methane and as a source of energy, only four percent of the total mass.

In this process is the world's most important sink for the greenhouse gas disappears from the environment. The study authors suggest that the bacterial community is still in an early stage. Until the microbes are perfectly adapted to this environment, and the methane consume, it could take another five to ten years.

"Not good news" researchers show concern

"the delay in The methane consumption is the most important discovery of the study, and it is not good news," concludes Thurber. "It lasted more than five years, until the bacteria have settled down, and even then, methane was quickly out of the bottom of the sea."

The release from under the water store, such as frozen methane hydrates or permafrost areas is considered to be one of the tipping points in the climate system. So climate scientists points, which are Ecosystems of critical importance transferred to a new state, so "tipping call". Positive reset pairings, the warming amplifies itself. So far, scientists have identified 15 such tipping points.

  • Here you can read more about it.

The Methane cycle includes. "It is absolutely something we need to make us as a society," says study lead author Thurber. "I find it incredibly worrying." Finally, something about the Antarctic methane is hardly known.

"Believe that under the Antarctic ice, significant quantities of methane

store" The Biogeochemikerin Jemma Wadham from the UK's University of Bristol who was not involved in the study, confirms this: "The Antarctic and its ice sheet are large Black holes in our understanding of the methane cycle of the earth, but it is difficult to work there," said Wadham in "the Guardian". "We believe that under the ice, significant quantities of methane storage." The big question is how strong is the formation of methane-eating lags of bacterial communities behind the emergence of new leaks when the ice cover shrinks.

methane after CO2, the second most important greenhouse gas, comes mainly from the human activities in the earth's atmosphere. Over a period of 100 years, its warming potential is 28 times higher than that of CO2. In the normal case, the concentration to this lower, but industry and mass animal farming have contributed in recent decades to a tripling of the quantities of methane. Each week provides you FOCUS Online with the most important news from the knowledge Department. Here you can subscribe to the Newsletter.

methane emissions are man-made and reached dramatic highs

Recently, the annual emissions of the greenhouse reached a gas is a peak: study by researchers at the Stanford University, according to came in 2017 – the last year with complete measurement data – just under 600 million tons of methane into the earth's atmosphere, more than half of them by human activities. Compared to the early 2000s, this represents an increase of nine per cent, or 50 Million tons per year. Based on the warming potential, the increase is comparable to that with 350 million additional cars or a doubling of the total emissions of Germany or France.

Overall, caused methane, 23 percent of the greenhouse gases caused global warming. Because the color is broken down lots of Gas but in the atmosphere much faster than CO2, could have the effect of reducing emissions very much, "Currently, the Corona pandemic has slowed CO2 emissions, but the methane continue to rise," said the Stanford University. "It brings the world further and further away from a path helps to avoid the worst impacts of climate change."

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Updated Date: 03 August 2020, 11:28

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