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Our planet is ‘f**ked’ – according to a scientist based at the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland.
Dr Jason Box made a study at Stockholm University, which reveals that methane is leaking from the Arctic Ocean.
Climate change will be catastrophic for mankind because methane is 23 times more potent than carbon dioxide in trapping heat.
Scientists had believed that bubbles would dissolve before they reached the surface, but they found huge plumes of deadly methane escaping from the seafloor, and large amounts of leaked methane in the Arctic.
Dr Box claims that methane will be the main driver of climate change if it escapes into the atmosphere.
“If even a small fraction of Arctic sea floor carbon is released to the atmosphere, we’re f’d’,” he said.
The leaking gas from the seafloor may have its origins in collapsing clusters of methane trapped in frozen water due to high pressure and low temperature.
“We’re on a trajectory to an unmanageable heating scenario, and we need to get off it,” Dr Box told Brian Merchant at Motherboard.
“We’re f**ked at a certain point, right? It just becomes unmanageable. The climate dragon is being poked, and eventually the dragon becomes pissed off enough to trash the place.”
Methane is the second-largest greenhouse gas contributor to climate change, and is currently being targeted by government in an attempt to mitigate global warming.
Methane pollution has declined by 11 per cent since 1990 as the governments have pushed for greater use of natural gas.
But the longer view on methane pollution show that it will rise.
The Obama administration points to studies that show that methane pollution is projected to increase to a level equivalent to over 620 million tonnes of carbon dioxide pollution in 2030, if no action is taken.
Dr Box claims this is particularly disturbing because the Arctic is warming faster than nearly anywhere else on Earth.
His comments follow research in May, which found that freshwater sources may be an unrealised source of methane.
Unlike carbon dioxide, which is highly soluble in water, methane exists in two forms in these freshwater sources: as a dissolved gas and encapsulated in bubbles that rise from sediments.
“I may escape a lot of this,’ Dr Box said, ‘but my daughter might not. She’s three years old.”
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