Methane Hydrate – The ‘Fire Ice’
- The methane molecules reside inside a water molecule lattice
- Hydrates, or clathrates, are a frozen mixture of water and gas, primarily methane
- The methane will ignite in ice form – hence the “fire ice” moniker
According to scientists, release of huge methane amounts from the thawing permafrost within Arctic can have great economic impacts worldwide.
Researchers have estimated that effects on climate of release of the gas can cost $60trillion which is roughly global economy’s size during 2012.
Impacts most likely would be felt within the developing countries according to them.
Scientists have concerns about rising temperature’s impact on permafrost from many years. Methane’s large amounts are concentrated inside Arctic tundra that’s frozen but also found like gas hydrates in semi-solid form under sea.
Previous researches show that diminishing cover of ice in sea in East Siberia is permitting waters to get warm and methane to get leached out. scientists found the plumes of gas till one km in diameter and rising above those waters.
In the new study, researchers have tried putting economic price over climate damage which these methane emissions could cause. It is one strong greenhouse gas, though it finishes in less than one decade in atmosphere.
Using economic model that is quite similar to one that was incorporated by Lord Stern for his review in 2006, researchers examined impact of methane’s 50-gigatonnes release in a decade.
They figured that this will increase the climate impacts like flooding, rise of sea level, damage to human health and agriculture to tune of the $60 trillion.
In Netherlands, at the Erasmus University, Professor Gail Whiteman said,
“That’s an economic time bomb that at this stage has not been recognised on the world stage. We think it’s incredibly important for world leaders to really discuss what are the implications of this methane release and what could we indeed do about it to hopefully prevent the whole burst from happening.”
Researchers say that their study happens to be in quite a contrast to the other and more upbeat economic benefits’ assessments of warming inside Arctic region.
It’s thought that around 30% of undiscovered gas of world and 13% undiscovered oil are in waters. Companies of transport are looking in order to send loads of numbers of the ships through those seas which melt fast. Lloyds of London say that investment in Arctic can reach $100bn in a span of 10years.
According to new work, authors say that methane’s release on this scale can bring forward that date when the temperatures globally increase by 2oC by between fifteen and thirty-five years.
Faster Melt Of Antarctic:
Latest research tells that permafrost in Antarctica is melting too. Scientists have come to know that the ground ice within McMurdo Dry Valley Regions tends to have consistently accelerated between the year 2001-2012, rising 10 times that of historical average. Researchers say rising temperatures don’t account for the increased melting rather to the increase of sunlight due to changes in the weather patterns.
University of Cambridge’s Prof. Peter Wadhams said that they were looking at some big effect and a catastrophic one on the global climate which is a result of this super fast melting of sea ice which is happening during the recent years.
Prof Wadhams said that the evidence regarding large amounts of methane in atmosphere in huge amounts is growing.
“We are seeing increasing methane in the atmosphere. When you look at satellite imagery, for instance the Metop satellite, that’s gone up significantly in the last three years and the place where the increase is happening most is over the Arctic.”
Authors say the extra methane’s impacts will be felt much in the developing countries that are more exposed to flooding, health and agricultural impacts associated with rising temperatures.