New study finds that an extra 3.7 trillion cubic feet of methane could be stored in the ocean for up to a century
The world’s oceans are on the brink of experiencing a major methane release, and scientists say it could be enough to meet demand for a century.
The new study, which was published Monday in Nature Geoscience, suggests that an additional 3.3 trillion cubic meters of methane — the equivalent of more than a billion barrels of oil — could be trapped in the upper layers of the ocean’s upper mantle, which covers most of the globe.
This could lead to a massive, long-term boost in the world’s climate and energy production, the researchers said.
The team estimated that the total methane release from the oceans could exceed 5.5 trillion cubic yards, enough to supply more than 100 million U.S. homes for five years.
The study focused on a region of the mantle called the “Atlantic Ridge,” which sits along the Atlantic Ocean’s east coast and has been a major source of methane in recent years.
Researchers used satellite images to map the methane-rich seafloor of the Atlantic Ridge, and found that methane was already accumulating beneath the seaflores of the seafloors.
Methane is a greenhouse gas, which traps heat from the sun in the form of infrared radiation.
The amount of methane that’s stored in our atmosphere depends on several factors, including the depth and temperature of the water.
And the more methane there is, the more heat the atmosphere gets from the Sun.
To help determine where this methane could come from, the scientists focused on the upper crust of the Earth’s crust.
They used an experiment that uses the pressure of the planet’s atmosphere to measure the amount of gases trapped in water.
They found that, in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the amount the ocean absorbs in water — the amount it’s able to store in the mantle — could rise by more than 10 percent.
But even more worrisome, the team said, this increase could lead the Earth to store even more methane in the atmosphere, which could lead us to release it into the atmosphere sooner.
That’s because methane’s main energy source is the reaction of sunlight and hydrogen in the Earths atmosphere, said lead author Ralf Sprengel of the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.
The researchers also found that this methane would be stored for an additional five years if it were released directly into the ocean.
This would mean that, if we released an additional 5.4 trillion cubic miles of methane from the ocean into the Earth, we’d be storing enough methane to cover nearly three times the amount we already store in our oceans.
The finding that the amount released from the atmosphere could be much greater than the amount stored in oceans is worrisome, said Dr. Mark Sperling, a climate scientist at the University for the Southern Ocean.
If we’re already going to be storing methane in oceans, we should be getting out of them sooner,” he said.”
It’s not a question of when it’s going to happen; it’s a question about when it’ll happen.
“Sperling and his colleagues found that an increased rate of methane release is likely in the future, but that we’ll need to wait until after we’ve had a major climate catastrophe to start taking action.”
The ocean has a lot more warming potential than the atmosphere.””
The Earth is warming much more quickly than the oceans.
The ocean has a lot more warming potential than the atmosphere.”
The study is just one of several that have come out in recent months showing that methane is warming the Earth faster than the world has previously anticipated.
In June, a study published in the journal Nature Geophysical Research concluded that the rate of warming in the Arctic is accelerating and may even be exceeding the global average.
And in August, a group of scientists announced a new study showing that the Earth is on track to experience an increase in carbon dioxide levels in the oceans for at least another century.
If all of these scenarios come to pass, the increase in atmospheric CO2 levels will be so large that it could change the entire climate of the world.
That could lead some scientists to conclude that the oceans are already warming up, as Spregan and his team found.
In other words, we’re just at the beginning of a major, long term warming trend in the planet, and we may be able to reverse some of the effects of that warming before the planet warms again.
Sprengen said there’s no reason to think we won’t see more and more releases of methane into the oceans in the next few decades.
The oceans are warming up rapidly, and the rate at which that is happening is accelerating, Spreberg said.
We are in the midst of an unprecedented greenhouse gas release, which will have far-reaching impacts on climate and ocean ecosystems, and may have far longer