Monday, March 22, 2010

A potentially Catastrophic Methane Leak

In a recent study published by Science magazine in the March 5 2010 issue it was announced that a group of scientists from over 12 different institutions has found a leak in the Siberian permafrost.

The methane , an estimated 1.5 trillion tons of frozen carbon, was thought to be sheltered by an impermeable barrier is being emitted through perforations . Natalia Shakova, the lead scientist of the research team went on to warn that "Our concern is that the subsea permafrost has been showing signs of destabilization already," she said. "If it further destabilizes, the methane emissions may not be teragrams, it would be significantly larger."

It is important to note that methane is a GHG that is 30 times deadlier than carbon dioxide and that each teragram is equivalent to 1.1 million metric tons. If this leak is to proceed and if only 1 % of the methane is released then the research scientist predict that the effect on climate change could be catastrophic. This leak might be the event to confirm that the world has already passed the tipping point since such a release would be expected to accelerate substantially the rate at which global temperature would rise.

Are there still any skeptics out there? Will we ever act , not to save the ecosystem but to save ourselves? Don't bet on i


Syed Mohsin said...

I think that we are acting, but very slowly. Because natural gas has a higher energy yield and a lower cost compared to oil, some see it as the better alternative to oil. For instance, I know that in Bangladesh lots of vehicles changed their engines to replace it with CNG burning engines. The main reason to do this, is the high price of oil. Cheaper affordable costs and accessibility of the natural gas are also some reasons. But i don't thing most of the citizens are aware of the methane release,increasing the countries temperature. For the recent temperature increase, they seem to blame India and China for their CO2 emissions Most Bangladeshi citizens are happy that they can drive their cars more cheaply, compared to cars driven on oil; with very little thought given to the methane release or their own country.

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