As detected around the coasts of Washington and Oregon, frozen methane is being released from the ocean by global warming, and it’s further increasing the severe problem of climate change.
- Methane gas is 23 more harmful than carbon dioxide to our atmosphere
- It’s created due to human activities or present in nature
- Among gas emission problems, methane accounted for 10% of them in the United States
- Hopes are that they will be reduced by 40-45% by 2025
Within the past decade, there have been a worrying number of 168 incidents of methane plumes bubbling up to the surface in the Pacific Ocean. This is believed to be caused by the increasing temperatures of our waters. These events were observed a third of a mile from the surface, at what is considered a “critical depth”.
Methane’s contribution in the past has been observed, and it’s still a prevalent problem. Currently, it’s the second most common issue where it concerns greenhouse gas emissions caused by human activity in the United States. It’s highly harmful to our atmosphere, and 23 times more potent of retaining heat than carbon dioxide (CO2).
In 2013, it was reported that among all the gas emissions that troubled our environment, 10% of them were methane that were man-made events. However, it’s also a component and released by nature all by itself. The warming of our oceans’ waters may be one of the causes that has seen to the multiple unfortunate incidents that make global warming more pronounced.
According to the lead author of the study and professor of oceanography, H. Paul Johnson, there is an unusually high number of methane plumes in the Pacific Ocean. And, apparently, they’re not likely to be emitted just by sediments. Instead, they are being released due to the decomposing of methane hydrate. This means that frozen pockets of methane shift from solid form to gas.
These dangerous spots have remained as “methane ice” for thousands of years, but are now seeing a disturbingly rapid decomposition. This has been suggested to be blamed on the warming temperature of the waters in the Pacific Ocean. So, nature is falling into a vicious circle. Global warming is releasing more methane, which is due to climate change in the first place, and intensifies the problem.
Measures are being proposed to reduce their emission and continue the fight for the sake of our environment. Obama has reported the plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 26-28% by 2025.
According the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the new rules will eventually reduce methane emissions by 340,000 to 400,000 short tons, which is equal to approximately 7.7 million to 9 million metric tons of CO2. This will amount to a 40-45% reduction of methane emissions within the next ten years.
While this is highly promising and hopefully achieved, however, there are still other issues to resolve that make up for the remaining 90% of gas emissions.
Image source: omanobserver.om