Threat of methane bomb increased in Siberia, with methane emanating from limestone, scientists fear melting ice
Last year, during the summer of 2020, there was an increase in methane gas released from limestones in Siberia. This event can cause a “methane bomb” to explode in the Earth’s atmosphere. A new study by researchers at the University of Bonn found that the extreme heat in Siberia caused the temperature to rise by 6 degrees Celsius during the period 1979-2000. Methane concentrations have increased in two large areas of the region (Taymyr Fold Belt and Rim of the Siberian Platform) since June 2020.
Methane more dangerous than CO2
The lead author of the research, Professor Nicolas Froitzheim of the University of Bonn, said in a statement that methane is extremely dangerous here because its heating capacity is several times that of CO2. According to the Environmental Defense Fund, methane has a warming power 80 times that of carbon dioxide. The researchers compared the spatial and temporal distribution of methane concentrations in the air of northern Siberia with geological maps.
Fear of melting permafrost
Permafrost (permanently frozen layer on or under the Earth’s surface) covers about 15% of the northern hemisphere, or 11% of the entire world, according to an April 2021 study. This could be of particular concern if climate change causes the melting of this underground zone, because the rise in temperatures affects it.
Old diseases can come out
This research is published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Many scientists have worried about what will happen if Earth’s permafrost melts. In July 2020, a separate panel of experts found that melting permafrost could cause microorganisms to release 40 billion tonnes more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than previously thought. Other studies, including research published in September 2017, have raised concerns about unlocking old diseases involved in permafrost.