Scientists report on "sleeping giants" of global warming in Siberia

Scientists report on "sleeping giants" of global warming in Siberia
Scientists report on "sleeping giants" of global warming in Siberia

The three main carbon storage sites, mostly in the form of the greenhouse gas methane, are located in the Arctic, with eastern Siberia warming and releasing greenhouse gases the fastest. This was announced at the international forum "Climate Change and Global Energy" by Igor Semiletov, Head of the Arctic Research Laboratory of the Pacific Oceanological Institute of the Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

The sleeping giants of the world's carbon cycle are found in the Arctic and are very sensitive to warming. This is the permafrost of the tundra and taiga, it melts slowly and its average temperature is minus 10 degrees. Marine permafrost on the shelf of the Arctic Ocean is in a transitional state with a temperature of minus 1 degrees, and the coastal permafrost is currently being destroyed by warming and the action of waves, "Semiletov said.

Melting of the frozen sea shelf, he said, is releasing large volumes of greenhouse gases, primarily methane and carbon dioxide, and is also destroying natural gas fields. At the same time, the key region is the East Siberian shelf, where about 80% of marine permafrost and about 80% of the supposed shallow gas fields are located. At the same time, the East Siberian Seas are the place where, according to forecasts, by 2100 there will be the greatest temperature change - an increase in the average annual temperature will be more than 5 degrees.

“One of the possible consequences of climate change could be the release of methane deposits, including in the form of gas hydrates. Lack of understanding of this process creates one of the greatest uncertainties for climate researchers. The East Siberian shelf is a significant source of methane emissions into the atmosphere, since permafrost is a cover, which closes the deposits of gas hydrates and methane ", - said the scientist.

The international expedition aboard the Akademik Mstislav Keldysh research vessel took place in 2020 from September 27 to November 4 in the seas of the Eastern Arctic and the Kara Sea. During the expedition, Russian scientists discovered powerful methane effluents (seeps), which are the reason for the increased content of this gas over the Arctic regions, as well as entire seep fields. Research is planned to continue in 2021.

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