Methane leaking Siberian permafrost famous for sinkhole

By on January 9, 2015
Cracks in the Arctic permafrost. (Credit: Brocken Inaglory, via Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0)

Cracks in the Arctic permafrost. (Credit: Brocken Inaglory, via Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0)

Researchers at The Arctic University of Norway have found that the West Shelf of Siberia’s Yamal Peninsula is leaking methane, according to a release from the school. The peninsula has been made famous recently after a sinkhole opened there in summer 2014.

The large sinkhole opening raised suspicions that substantial amounts of greenhouse gases could be emitting from the area. But scientists from the university were there long before the hole gained international recognition.

Their work used mathematical models to map the evolution of permafrost and calculate its degradation since the end of the last ice age. From two sides, scientists found, permafrost is thawing off the Yamal Peninsula, which can explain why more methane is rising from the area.

Top image: Cracks in the Arctic permafrost. (Credit: Brocken Inaglory, via Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0)

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