Saturday, 29 April 2017 19:00

Thawing of underwater permafrost in the Arctic can lead to climatic disaster

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It is supposed that at preservation of modern rates of thawing of underwater permafrost there can be a strong emission of methane.


The FEB RAS Pacific Oceanologic Institute (POI) in 2017 plans to conduct three expeditions to the Arctic during which scientists intend to investigate a problem of degradation of underwater permafrost of the East Siberian shelf. Its thawing leads to release of huge amount of methane and is capable to influence the climatic map of the planet, the FEB RAS reports.

"Annual emission of methane in the Arctic region is at least commensurable with emission of this gas from all seas of the World Ocean. It is supposed that at preservation of modern rates of the thawing of underwater permafrost which is followed by massive intake of methane in the atmosphere there can be even more powerful emission. He is capable to lead to difficult predictable climatic consequences, without excluding also the scenario of climatic disaster", - quote in the message of the word of the leading researcher of laboratory of the Arctic researches TOI FEB RAS Oleg Dudarev.

For the first time the powerful gas streams for 66 - 70% consisting of methane have been found in 2011 in a northern part of the Laptev Sea. Only on the site of a bottom of one square kilometer several hundreds of gas discharges in total called by a megavulture have been registered. On the punched channels gas through thickness of permafrost arrives to a surface, with depths of sea of 50 - 70 meters it doesn't manage to be dissolved and therefore mostly comes to the driving atmosphere. "Over the Arctic shelf the area of abnormally high content of the methane several times exceeding sredneplanetarny value is formed. Other megavulture is found on the shelf of the East Siberian Sea", - the FEB RAS quotes Dudarev's words.

Results of forwarding observations 2012, have shown 2014 and 2016 that intensity of release of methane from a bottom still steadily increases in zones of megavultures, and some torches have a diameter hundreds of meters.

"Besides climatic consequences in the far future they pose a threat and today. As a rule, they are located within license areas of developers of hydrocarbonic fields of the Arctic shelf. And it means possible problems with the organization and safe operation of fields. For example, on sites of degradation of permafrost as a result of her thawing collapsible thermokarst hollows are formed", - the FEB RAS notes.



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