The moon could affect how much methane is released from the bottom of the Arctic Ocean, a new study shows.
The tides, which are controlled by month, affects how much methane is released from sediments on the seabed: low tides mean less pressure and more methane released, while high tides create more pressure and therefore less methane emissions.
The research was conducted in the western Arctic region-Svalbard, the results being published on October 9 in the journal Communications about nature.
“This is the first time this observation has been made in the Arctic Ocean. It means that slight changes in pressure can release significant amounts of methane. This is a game changer and the biggest impact of the study,” study co-author Jochen Knies said. said a marine geologist at the Arctic Center for Gas, Environment and Climate Hydration (CAGE) in a statement.
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Methane is a greenhouse gases, which contributes to global warming by trapping and retaining heat in the atmosphere. Huge reserves of methane are hidden beneath the seabed, and ocean warming should unlock some of the blocked methane. Therefore, understanding the impact of the tides on these methane emissions from the seabed is important for future climate forecasts.
To find this tidal effect, the team measured the pressure and temperature inside the sediments and found that gas levels near the bottom of the sea increase and decrease with the tides.
Using a permanent monitoring tool, they were able to identify the release of methane in an area of the Arctic Ocean where it has not been previously observed.
“This tells us that the release of gas from the seabed is more widespread than we can see using traditional sonar surveys,” said study co-author Andreia Plaza Faverola, a marine geologist and geophysicist at CAGE.
Their discovery implies that scientists have underestimated greenhouse gas emissions in the Arctic.
“What we found was unexpected and the implications are great. This is a deep site. Small changes in pressure can increase gas emissions, but methane will still remain in the ocean due to the depth of the water. But what happens in less areas This approach should also be taken in shallow Arctic waters over a longer period. In shallow water, the potential for methane to reach the atmosphere is greater, “Knies said.
This newly discovered phenomenon also raises questions about how sea levels rise and warming oceans, both of which are caused by climate change, will interact. As high tides reduce methane emissions, it is possible that rising sea levels, which come with higher tides, will partially offset the threat of rising gas emissions caused by a warming ocean.
Originally published on Live Science.