Alarming methane release from ice

Conventional wisdom was that permafrost and ice had to thaw or melt for methane and C02 to escape. Scientists and others knew that this process would take hundreds of years and were not immediately concerned.

This is not the case. Methane has found a way through the permafrost and ice. The permafrost and ice are not solid. The integrity of the permafrost and ice is deteriorating as the heat reaches it and it is leaking like a sieve. Before this, the main concern was the East Siberian Ice Shelf. I was shocked when I found out that the methane readings over Antarctica are as high as the Arctic.

Apparently, the methane is coming through the ice. New areas are registering high methane numbers. The Himalayan Plateau now shows up with high numbers. How fast the methane seeps through is critical. The implications of this are staggering and we canít rely on conventional wisdom.

Remember, the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme from Oslo, Norway, said that if 1 percent of the methane available in the East Siberian Ice Shelf escaped, it would triple the methane in the atmosphere and more than likely lead to abrupt climate change.

Harold Hensel

Cedar Rapids 

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