I suspect that it will take a bit before this gains the traction that it deserves, but it’s hugely significant and is having a major impact upon the unfolding climate disaster.
Millions of lakes throughout the West Siberian Subarctic region are releasing gigantic amounts of carbon dioxide and methane gas. The area is larger then Scandinavian, Canadian and Alaskan wetlands several times over. Over 80% of this area is covered by these thermokarst lakes.
The amount of carbon dioxide and methane gas that is being released is huge.
Because of the increasing permafrost thawing in West Siberia, the bigger thermokarst lakes could soon break up into numerous smaller ones. “This could lead to a tenfold increase of greenhouse gases and dissolved organic carbon emissions into rivers and the Arctic,”
In 2014, an international research team led by Semiletov set sail to the Arctic Ocean on the Oden icebreaker science vessel. The researchers were the first to closely examine the waters of the outer West Arctic continental shelf at depths below 50 meters, and it turned out that carbon emissions in the shelf zone are much more intense than expected. Up to several hundred grams of methane per square meter are emitted daily, which shows that the underwater Arctic permafrost has been degrading severely. About 700 such “methane holes,” each up to a kilometer in diameter, have been found in the shelf.
It seems as if climate scientists are continually having to update their expectations, which when you consider the extremely complex nature of the interactive Earth system, it is really of no surprise. But it does mean that at each new discovery, the future climate looks worse and worse. This won’t be the world of yesteryear.
If you haven’t already discovered this resource, earth.nullschool.net – try it out. Very interesting if you’re concerned about what is happening. Click on the bottom left “earth” to see a menu where you can change the display options.