Methane seeps may cause global cooling, not global warming.
Some Arctic waters absorb vast amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, creating a cooling effect 230 times greater than the warming caused by methane emitted from underwater seeps, according to a new study.
The findings are a complete reversal of what scientists previously believed — that methane seeps in the Arctic Ocean were contributing to global warming.
“It could mean that methane seeps have a net cooling effect on climate, not a warming effect as we previously thought,” said John Pohlman, a U.S. Geological Survey biochemist and lead author of the study.
When the scientists measured methane and carbon dioxide concentrations off Svalbard’s coast, they found 2,000 times more carbon dioxide was taken out of the atmosphere than methane escaping from underwater vents.
The escaping methane appeared to stimulate marine phytoplankton, increasing their intake of carbon dioxide. Pohlman and his team were astounded to find such low amounts of methane above the seeps.
Instead of causing massive warming, “these areas of methane seepage may be net greenhouse gas sinks,” reads a summary of the work.
Thanks to Norm Smith for this link