Feedback from the Melting Arctic
New evidence on global warming has emerged from the Arctic. A study published by Nature Geoscience in April reports raised levels of methane where melting ice exposes areas of the Arctic Ocean. Methane, a major contributor to global warming, is 20 times more effective than carbon at trapping heat in the atmosphere.
Previous studies have shown elevated levels of methane over thawing permafrost. This is the first study to show increased methane over Arctic waters.
The study’s findings raise fears that a positive feedback system could be created. Increased methane contributes to a warmer climate—which in turn could accelerate the process of melting. This is significant, considering the vast size of the Arctic.
Eric Kort of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory led the multi-institutional research team.
Valerie Schloredt wrote this article for Making it Home, the Summer 2012 issue of YES! Magazine. Valerie is associate editor of YES!
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