and Swedish researchers have published a research survey showing that
the underwater permafrost layer on the Eastern Siberian
continental shelf is melting faster than expected, the press
service of the Tomsk Polytechnic University told Interfax.
1982-1983, the Permafrost Research Institute of the Siberian
Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences drilled four
wells, and based on this data we found that the rate of vertical
underwater permafrost degradation in the area has gone up to
18 centimeters per year (14 centimeters on average) in the
past 30 years, which is ten times faster than expected,"
the press service said.
was believed that the permafrost layer on the sea shelf in the
eastern Arctic was mostly solid, which would not allow the
possibility of methane emissions from under the ice. It was
assumed that the melting of the permafrost would not exceed
several meters before the end of the 21st century, and
that it would take from hundreds to thousands of years
for it to melt through.
on the new results obtained by comprehensive
biogeochemical, geophysical and geological research made
in 2011-2016, we can conclude that in some areas of the
Eastern Siberian shelf the permafrost layer has thinned and reached
the stability zone of hydrates, the destruction of which
might lead to massive emissions of methane bubbles,"
Natalya Shakhova, professor at the university's Geology and
Exploration Department, was quoted as saying.
agency reports that, according to the survey, the volume
of methane emissions from the bottom sediment in eastern
Arctic seas can vary from milligrams to dozens to hundreds
of grams per a square meter per day, depending on the
condition of the permafrost layer. This leads to a two
to four times increase in atmospheric methane in the
also discovered another reason for the increase in methane
emissions into the water and the air: in shallow waters,
icebergs and large ice floes plow through the sea bottom making
trenches 4-6 meters deep. They reach the gas layers and release