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article imageMethane bubbles in melting permafrost a very serious warning

By Karen Graham     Jul 29, 2016 in Environment
Something strange is happening on Bely Island in the Kara Sea. Fifteen large bubbles have been found in the melting permafrost, and when someone steps on one, it will tremble, sort of like a water-bed.
A short video was posted on YouTube by the Siberian Times last week, and it has already been seen by over 1.3 million viewers. It is fascinating to watch the researcher step on one of the bubbles because it very clearly bounces.
Most all of the comments about the video shared the same conclusion — climate change. The swelling pockets in the permafrost, most of them around one meter in diameter are leaking enormous amounts of ecologically dangerous gases.
About 15 examples of this swaying Siberian ground were revealed this week on Belyy Island  a polar b...
About 15 examples of this swaying Siberian ground were revealed this week on Belyy Island, a polar bear outpost 475 miles (764km) north of the Arctic Circle.
Wikimedia.org
Bely Island has an area of 1,810 square kilometers (700 sq mi) and is covered in tundra with a few dwarfed shrubs, but little else. The island sits in the Kara Sea on the tip of the Yamal Peninsula, Siberia, Russia. The island lies 475 miles (764km) north of the Arctic Circle, and the only thing of interest on the island is a Russian Experiment Station (Polyarnaya Stantsiya).
Researchers Alexander Sokolov and Dorothee Ehrich, who work on the island, spotted the bubbles last year, and while scientists are not positive of the reason why these spots have appeared, environmental scientists think they could be linked to the release of methane from the melting permafrost under the surface.
Frozen methane gas bubble.
Frozen methane gas bubble.
Wikimedia.org
Sokolov and Ehrich punctured one of the spots, and air escaped. They measured the air and found it contained 200 times more methane and 20 times more carbon dioxide than there is in the air we breathe. The Siberian Times reports that one account said: "As we took off a layer of grass and soil, a fountain of gas erupted."
"It is likely that the 10 days of extraordinary heat that engulfed Europe could have started some mechanisms, [and the] higher level of permafrost could have thawed and released a huge amount of gases," Sokolov told the Siberian Times.
Bely Island is a desolate outpost  even for a research station.
Bely Island is a desolate outpost, even for a research station.
Andreas Umbreit
Sokolov also warned that the extent of the harmful greenhouse gases buried in the jelly-like bubbles raises a "very serious alarm" concerning the impact of global warming on the planet, according to the Daily Mail.
As one researcher said, according to EcoWatch, "It is evident even to amateurs that this is a very serious alarm." Another researcher added, "There is a serious reason to be concerned if gas bubbles appear in the permafrost zone." The researchers worry over the unpredictable' consequences.
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