Warming releases lethal Arctic methane

The public is not getting much information about the threat of Arctic methane.

Huge amounts of methane is frozen in the ice in the Arctic Ocean and Arctic permafrost. Methane is a dangerous greenhouse gas, 100 times stronger than carbon dioxide on a five- to 10-year basis. Earth scientist Micha Ruhl says that “methane is only stable under certain temperatures. If it gets warm, it is released.” During the Triassic mass extinction period, “There was a release of CO2 from volcanic eruptions that warmed up global temperatures and also the ocean.” This led to release of at least 12,000 billion tons of methane from the ocean floor that led to extinction.

Today, humans are responsible for raising the carbon dioxide level by burning fossil fuels. This is raising the temperature in the Arctic Ocean along with late Holocene warming. The last 47 out of 60 days (as I write), it has been above freezing on the North Pole. From July 8 to 12, NASA reported 97 percent of Greenland’s surface snow melted. The reflective white snow is gone.

The East Siberian Arctic Ocean has about 7,000 billion tons of methane. An additional 14,000 billion tons are outside of this area. About 50 billion tons of methane is being produced in permafrost thaw lakes.

This adds up to more than 12,000 billion tons of methane. I would think something this serious would be extensively reported by the media.

Harold Hensel

Cedar Rapids 

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