A group of 80 scientists traveled to Sibiera to investigate the effects of the Eastern Arctic permafrost thawing when they made a surprising discovery: The sea appeared to be boiling.
The startling sight was caused by bubbles of methane rising from the seafloor.
The researchers said the concentration of methane in the East Siberian Sea was between six and seven times higher than the global average.
Methane bubbles were found streaming up through the Siberian Sea in a sign that permafrost melt is continuing unfettered (Stock image)
According to a Newsweek report, the scientists were shocked by the discovery.
‘This is the most powerful gas fountain I’ve ever seen,’ Igor Semiletor, lead researcher from Tomsk Polytechnic University, said. ‘No one has ever recorded anything like this before.’
The project was initiated after researchers observed methane levels had been rising across the region.
The science team posited the methane increases came from the thawing permafrost that has afflicted parts of Siberia as temperatures in the region have climbed.
In 2017, Russian scientists investigated huge craters in the Arctic regions of Siberia, caused by the formation of enormous methane bubbles under the ground.
The bubbles would catch fire or explode, creating enormous craters.
A lake in Alberta, Canada was so methane-rich the air above its surface could be ignited, and beneath the gas froze in solid bubbles suspended in water.
Researchers have tied excess methane to climate change, saying that a global increase in temperature of 1°C would increase methane emissions by 20 per cent.
More methane in the atmosphere could accelerate climate change as the gas traps 23 percent more heat than carbon dioxide.
WHAT IS METHANE GAS?
Human methane emissions are the second largest contributor to global warming after carbon dioxide.
A recent study suggested that human emissions of geologic methane may be as much as 25 per cent higher than previous estimates.
Although not as prominent as carbon dioxide, methane is a much more powerful greenhouse gas, and so the rising levels are an important contributor to global warming.
There had been uncertainty as to the source of human methane emissions and whether it has changed over time.
But the study found that human oil drilling and gas extraction is to blame for the recent rise in Earth’s atmospheric methane levels.