The Arctic Methane Pump

The Arctic Methane Pump

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Vast deposits of methane, a greenhouse gas 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide, lie beneath permafrost and as global temperatures rise and permafrost melts, it could spread and accelerate the rate of climate change.

The uncertainty highlights the biggest problem in trying to understand what impact climate change will have on Arctic permafrost and whatthe effect of permafrost thawing will have on climate change, scientists still don't have enough data to make valid predictions.

“The big challenge is that we don't have estimates of the size of these or which ones are particularly vulnerable to destabilization. It is something that remains to be determined. The last time it happened, climate change was so great that it caused the end of the ice age. Once that geologic process begins, we won't be able to stop it, ”Stott warned.

Dear IPCC Scientific Committee:

According to the study, published in the journal Environmental Research Letters, 17,000 years ago, at the end of the Pleistocene epoch, naturally occurring carbon gases escaped from the seabed and altered both the Earth's atmosphere that melted the ice age.

"Currently, underwater carbon reservoirs release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere as the oceans warm from human activity. If the underwater carbon pools are disturbed again, they will emit a huge new source of greenhouse gases, exacerbating climate change, "said Lowell Stott, professor of earth sciences at the University of Southern California (USA). and lead author of the study, cited by the portal.

“The big challenge is that we don't have estimates of the size of these or which ones are particularly vulnerable to destabilization. Once that geologic process begins, we won't be able to stop it, ”Stott warned.

At the current rate of increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the planet is likely to experience several degrees of increase in global temperature and large-scale changes such as the loss of ice sheets that could lead to a rise in sea level of several meters in this century. As stated by Dr. James Hansen.

Two degrees Celsius of warming would make planet Earth much warmer than it was during the Eemian, and would bring it closer to Pliocene conditions, when sea level was about 25 meters higher than today, Hansen said.

In a few more years the North Pole will completely thaw during summers. The albedo effect will no longer be present and the waters of the Arctic ocean will begin to heat up, then the huge deposits of methane gas hydrates and permafrost, 35 times more efficient than CO2 in greenhouse effect, will begin to be released from the seabed into the atmosphere. . The global average temperature may rise up to 6º C and 12º C at both poles, with which the glaciers will thaw at an accelerated rate.

The Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres, is calling all the governments of the planet to urgent Climate Action. In this regard, the support of a core scientific report on the Arctic permafrost cycle, carbohydrates in the Arctic and carbon reservoirs in the oceans is required.

For the world to mobilize science must answer the following questions:

1- How much carbon and methane is stored in the seabed and in the Arctic Circle?

2- If all this methane and carbon is released into the atmosphere, how many degrees will the global average temperature increase, especially over the poles?

3- With this higher temperature, what will be the rate of thawing of the glacial massifs in Greenland and Antarctica?

4- Is there already a gas release process from permafrost and methane gas hydrates in the Arctic?

5- How much higher must the temperature rise and the albedo effect be reduced for the chain reaction of the release of Arctic submarine methane gas hydrates to start?

6- How many years until this chain reaction begins?

7- Can you guarantee that it will not happen?

8- Do you have empirical, statistical, probabilistic, comparative data, to be able to evaluate the phenomenon?

9- What do you recommend to do if the data is insufficient?

10- Do you support the 2% For the Planet initiative? (more info at

The United Nations is currently talking about organizing the efforts of all countries to reduce carbon emissions by 45% before 2030 and reach zero emissions by 2050. This objective may be insufficient, if we are within a short timeframe of the critical threshold for the abrupt chain reaction of methane gas release in the Arctic Circle and carbon in the other oceans of the world. If this is the case, it will be necessary to reach zero emissions immediately.

We notify: Extinction Rebellion Argentina, Ecohouse, Aclimatando, Agenda Ambiental, Amartya, AnimalLibre, Climate Save Argentina, Isla Verde, Ecologist Youth, Solis Foundation, Greta Thunberg, Senator Ocasio Cortez, WWF, Greenpeace, C40, CDP, Climate Network, Avina , The Climate Group, Wemean Business Coalition, Bteam

Source: 2% of GDP for the Planet