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Arctic Heatwave 2020 Released Surprising Amounts of Methane from Arctic Limestone

The Washington Post August 2, 2021 11:42 “Siberia’s ‘methane bomb’ may be worse than scientists thought “ “Heat wave in 2020 revealed surge in emissions from a different source” By Steven Mufson

Read the The Washington Post and the PNAS article for full detail.

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Summary offered from 2244

As Siberia’s wetlands and Arctic permafrost thaws, scientists worry about what is dubbed “‘the methane bomb’-the potentially catastrophic release of methane.” As it turns out, more methane than expected is from limestone of the Arctic permafrost. This is because limestone “releases hydrocarbons and gas hydrates from reservoirs both below and within the permafrost” rather than just from decaying soil and organic matter from the “thawing wetlands in Siberia’s permafrost.”

These conclusions are based on recent studies of satellite maps by Nikolas Froitzheim and colleagues (University of Bonn) published in PNAS (The Proceedings of the National Academy of Science). These satellites “measured intense methane concentrations over two ‘conspicuous elongated areas’ of the Taymyr Peninsula and the area around northern Siberia (See Image Above). As temperatures rose nearly 11°F in a 2020 "heatwave" the bare limestone warmed, cracked causing pockets to open up, “releasing methane that had been trapped inside.” Once opened, methane release continues even at lower temperatures. Like all scientific findings, confirmatory studies are needed. The experts are not sure just how much methane is locked up in the permafrost.

The other significant sources of methane are from agriculture, fracking and leaky oil fields in places like the Permian Basin Texas and New Mexico.

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