|Why Antarctica is Essential for Hosting Methane Stores|
|Written by Ronald Ho, Four Green Steps|
|Tuesday, 04 September 2012 08:05|
Written by Ronald Ho, Four Green Steps
An international team of scientists have discovered in their recent studies that that a large volume of methane, which is a potent greenhouse gas could be locked beneath the ice-covered regions of Antarctica. The study states that methane could be released into the atmosphere as ice retreats, contributing to climate warming.
The findings indicate that ancient deposits of organic matter may have been converted to methane by microbes under the ice.
Jemima Wadham, from Bristol University, who is also the leader of the study stated that there is enormous amount of organic carbon, more than ten times the size of carbon stocks in northern permafrost regions.
The scientists estimate that there could be hundreds of billions of tonnes of carbon stored in methane reservoirs under the ice sheet. The researchers also predict that the shallow depth of these methane reserves means that they could be destabilized by climate change, and might act as a positive feedback on global warming. Antarctic Ice Sheet is very likely a neglected but important component of the global methane budget.
Image courtesy of Creative Commons.
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