Arctic Ocean could be source of greenhouse gas: study

Arctic Ocean could be source of greenhouse gas: study
A new airborne study with NASA contributions measured surprising levels of the potent greenhouse gas methane coming from cracks in Arctic sea ice and areas of partial sea ice cover. This image was taken over the Arctic Ocean at a latitude of approximately 71 degrees North on April 15, 2010. Image credit: NASA/JPL
(Phys.org) -- The fragile and rapidly changing Arctic region is home to large reservoirs of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. As Earth's climate warms, the methane, frozen in reservoirs stored in Arctic tundra soils or marine sediments, is vulnerable to being released into the atmosphere, where it can add to global warming. Now a multi-institutional study by Eric Kort of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., has uncovered a surprising and potentially important new source of Arctic methane: the ocean itself.

Kort, a JPL postdoctoral scholar affiliated with the Keck Institute of Space Studies at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, led the analysis while he was a student at Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass. The study was conducted as part of the HIAPER Pole-to-Pole Observations (HIPPO) airborne campaign, which flew a specially instrumented National Science Foundation (NSF)/National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Gulfstream V aircraft over the Pacific Ocean from nearly pole to pole, collecting atmospheric measurements from Earth's surface to an altitude of 8.7 miles (14 kilometers). The campaign, primarily funded by NSF with additional funding from NCAR, NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, was designed to improve our understanding of where greenhouse gases are originating and being stored in the Earth system.

During five HIPPO flights over the Arctic from 2009 to 2010, Kort's team observed increased methane levels while flying at low altitudes over the remote Arctic Ocean, north of the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas. The methane level was about one-half percent larger than normal background levels.

But where was the methane coming from? The team detected no carbon monoxide in the atmosphere that would point to possible contributions from human combustion activities. In addition, based on the time of year, location and nature of the emissions, it was extremely unlikely the methane was coming from high-latitude wetlands or geologic reservoirs.

By comparing locations of the enhanced methane levels with airborne measurements of carbon monoxide, water vapor and ozone, they pinpointed a source: the ocean surface, through cracks in Arctic sea ice and areas of partial sea ice cover. The cracks expose open Arctic seawater, allowing the ocean to interact with the air, and methane in the surface waters to escape into the atmosphere. The team detected no enhanced methane levels when flying over areas of solid ice.

Kort said previous studies by others had measured high concentrations of methane in Arctic surface waters, but before now no one had predicted that these enhanced levels of ocean methane would find their way to the overlying atmosphere.

So how is the methane being produced? The scientists aren't yet sure, but Kort hinted biological production from living things in Arctic surface waters may be a likely culprit. "It's possible that as large areas of sea ice melt and expose more ocean water, methane production may increase, leading to larger methane emissions," he said. He said future studies will be needed to understand the enhanced methane levels and associated emission processes and to measure their total contribution to overall Arctic methane levels.

"While the methane levels we detected weren't particularly large, the potential source region, the Arctic Ocean, is vast, so our finding could represent a noticeable new global source of methane," he added. "As Arctic sea ice cover continues to decline in a warming climate, this source of methane may well increase. It's important that we recognize the potential contribution from this source of methane to avoid falsely interpreting any changes observed in Arctic methane levels in the future."

The study is published April 22 in Nature Geoscience.


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Study: Arctic seabed methane stores destabilizing, venting

More information: DOI: 10.1038/ngeo1452
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Apr 22, 2012
Thankfully Arctic Sea Ice is above normal.

http://arctic-roo...area.png

And so is extent

http://arctic-roo..._ext.png

Apr 22, 2012
Then it must be the man made CO2 interacting with the ice and drawing the methane out of the extra ice;-)

Apr 22, 2012
Sigh! Models that assume a ratchet effect for global methane levels are clearly wrong. Methane turns into carbon dioxide and water in much less than a year, so it should be treated as, and counted as, another CO2 source, not multiplied by 20.

Why have global methane levels started climbing after leveling off? Automotive catalytic converters. Although well adjusted CCs should not emit unburned hydrocarbons, when mildly out of adjustment they emit methane among other low weight hydrocarbons. The CC breaks up the long chain hydrocarbons, but if there is not enough oxygen, you get methane, ethane, etc.

Is this a horrible problem? No. In fact, not much of a problem at all. Since methane (and other short-chain hydrocarbons) do not contribute to smog, it is more of a delay in oxidizing the hydrocarbons. The real problem are the out of tune internal combustion engines that dump gasoline someone paid good money for into the CC or out the exhaust pipe.

Apr 22, 2012
So sue the Ocean and make it buy carbon offsets, problem solved, Thank you Al Gore.

Apr 22, 2012
Thankfully Arctic Sea Ice is above normal.

http://arctic-roo...area.png


So you cherry pick from the last few years?
I've been working in the Arctic on Jan Mayen island for many years. The sea ice disappeared gradually in the nineties. Now its *completely gone* even during the peak ice in the springtime.

Above normal?

Apr 22, 2012
Jan Mayen:

While 2011 averaged -5.9, it was significantly warmer in 1923 (the 2nd warmest year ever in terms of average temperature)

The last 4 years 2011,2010,2009 and 2008 wouldn't make the top 20.

http://www.yr.no/...ate.html

By the way, there are two hemispheres. Sea Ice in Antarctica has been growing for 30 years.

http://arctic.atm...ctic.png

Apr 23, 2012
Current climate models don't take into consideration melting methane hydrate emissions. For instance, there is an area six times the size of Germany containing about 540 billion tons of carbon off the Siberian coast. That submarine permafrost is perilously close to thawing. Three to 12 kilometers from the coast the sea sediment is just below freezing. The permafrost has grown porous, there is a loss of rigor in the frozen sea floor, and the surrounding seawater is highly oversaturated with solute methane.

"If the Siberian (submarine) permafrost-seal thaws completely and all the stored gas escapes, the methane content of the planet's atmosphere would increase twelve fold. The result would be catastrophic global warming." --"A Storehouse of Greenhouse Gases Is Opening in Siberia," Spiegel, 17 April '08

Apr 23, 2012
"If the Siberian (submarine) permafrost-seal thaws completely and all the stored gas escapes, the methane content of the planet's atmosphere would increase twelve fold.


Don't worry. It will and it will be a catastrophe watching all of the idiots here eating crow.

Apr 23, 2012
Gotta wonder if this methane problem, which has been known for like a decade or so, has anything to do with all the crazy animal die-offs. Like all the weird fish and bird die offs lately that have no explanation except obvious cover stories.

Apr 23, 2012
Jan Mayen:

While 2011 averaged -5.9, it was significantly warmer in 1923 (the 2nd warmest year ever in terms of average temperature)

The last 4 years 2011,2010,2009 and 2008 wouldn't make the top 20.

http://www.yr.no/...ate.html


On your link for Jan Mayen, did you notice that 11 out of 12 dots were ABOVE the average temperature line since the year 2000 on the graph?


I looked at the data. The last 4 years wouldn't make the top 20. The last 4 years have been very cold.

The years that did make the top 10 included 1923, 1974, 1939, 1976, 1964,1960 and 1929.

As I've said numerous times, the 20s,30s and 40s were quite warm in the Arctic.

"The Gulf Streams powerful influence makes seasonal temperature variations extremely small considering the latitude of the island, with ranges from around 6 °C (43 °F) in August to 6 °C (21 °F) in February"

Apr 23, 2012
Reality is somewhat different.

http://arctic.atm...ctic.png

"Thankfully Arctic Sea Ice is above normal."- ParkerTard


Great graph. Microscopically lower by 80,000 out of 14 million.

Off normal by .57% ... as close to normal as you can be within the margin of error.

The Danes have Arctic above normal ... but they use a slightly different bas period.

http://arctic-roo...area.png

Globally, up by 689,000!

http://arctic.atm...ctic.png


Apr 23, 2012
ParkerTard has publicly stated that he intends to keep lying about global warming for the rest of his life.

He is a politically motivated Conservative who believes that lying is a perfectly acceptable way to prove the legitimacy of his Conservative Ideology.

"I've been working in the Arctic on Jan Mayen island for many years. The sea ice disappeared gradually in the nineties. Now its *completely gone* even during the peak ice in the springtime." - La7Dfa


You bring smears and other peoples anecdotes.

I brought a table of actual temperatures.

You and your followers are quite pathetic.

Apr 23, 2012
Current climate models don't take into consideration ...


... much useful.

Hansens models claimed a massive temperature increase unless drastic reduction in CO2 occurred.

CO2 has risen massively since then and temperatures have dropped quite considerably since 1998.

All climate models blaming GHG's are very, very wrong.

You chicken littles keep claiming the world is ending.

And it keeps getting colder.


Apr 23, 2012
From the Reason Foundation a libertarian editorial one of the Koch family foundations
http://reason.com...ged-exxo

Seams trooper Parker the generals are retreating

Apr 23, 2012
"Methane turns into carbon dioxide and water in much less than a year"

This reaction in the troposphere gives a methane lifetime of 9.6 years. Two more minor sinks are soil sinks (160 year lifetime) and stratospheric loss by reaction with ·OH, ·Cl and ·O1D in the stratosphere (120 year lifetime), giving a net lifetime of 8.4 years
http://en.wikiped..._methane

"By the way, there are two hemispheres. Sea Ice in Antarctica has been growing for 30 years."
The weasel word here is SEA ice, this largely melts each year, Antarctic Land Ice is the indicator to look at.

And when roboskeptics talk about temperature notice the term "global" isn't used, this way they have more ability to lie/delude themselves with a much larger data set to pick from.

Apr 24, 2012
Parker you are such a tool! I wouldnt be suprised if you turned out to be a suite from some Oil company! Tho of course few here would not share this opinion i am betting.

Fact is that sea ice levels are deminishing at an worrying rate which is having an effect on things like the weather and other important global systems.

Apr 24, 2012
From the Reason Foundation a libertarian editorial one of the Koch family foundations
http://reason.com...ged-exxo

Seams trooper Parker the generals are retreating


Fascinating. And 6 years old. It has cooled considerably since then.

And I love an article he wrote this month MOCKING the doom and gloom predictions from the 1970s. Those guys were as wrong as AGW cultists are today.

http://reason.com...r-update

Apr 24, 2012

Fact is that sea ice levels are deminishing at an worrying rate which is having an effect on things like the weather and other important global systems.


Sea Ice in the Antarctica has been climbing for 30 years. Global Sea Ice is normal.

Apr 24, 2012

The weasel word here is SEA ice, this largely melts each year, Antarctic Land Ice is the indicator to look at.


When sea ice dropped a little in the Arctic it was the most important indicator in the world of DOOOOM!

I guess when sea ice is ok it is unimportant.

But land Ice is fine too. Antarctica has been cooling for 30 years.

Apr 24, 2012

Hansens models claimed a massive temperature increase unless drastic reduction in CO2 occurred.

CO2 has risen massively since then and temperatures have dropped quite considerably since 1998.

All climate models blaming GHG's are very, very wrong.

You chicken littles keep claiming the world is ending.

And it keeps getting colder.



http://sppiblog.o...-warming
http://climateaud...a-and-b/

Apr 24, 2012

There are varying estimates on the last time the arctic ocean was ice free, the most recent estimate is 6-7000 years and can be found on your comrade WUWT site.


It was warmer in the past numerous times. The MWP. The Roman Optimum etc etc.

Someday it may get as warm as the MWP, but it won't be because of CO2.


Apr 24, 2012
"But if we divide the trends of the global surface temperature anomaly data since 1917 into its cooling period (1944-1976) and two warming periods (1917-1944 and 1976-2011), and present the surface temperature linear trends on a zonal-mean (latitudinal) basis, Figure 1, we can see that polar amplification works both ways. That is, during a period when global temperatures cool, like 1944-1976, there is greater cooling in the Arctic than elsewhere. Note also that, according to the GISS Land-Ocean Temperature Index (LOTI) data, the rate at which the Arctic warmed was higher during the early warming period (1917-1944) than it has been during the current warming period (1976-present)."

http://wattsupwit...ication/

Apr 25, 2012

"And it keeps getting colder."


http://www.woodfo...98/trend

NOAA agrees.

"The combined global land and ocean average surface temperature for the first three months of the year (JanuaryMarch) period ... tying with 1991 as the 21st warmest such period on record and the coolest since 1996. "

As cold as as 1991.


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