28 февраля 2021  |  
7:46 PM  November 11, 2020

TPU scientists discovered "methane" craters in the Laptev Sea

© с сайта ТПУTPU scientists discovered methane craters in the Laptev Sea

TOMSK, Nov 11 – RIA Tomsk. Employees of Tomsk Polytechnic University (TPU) during the international Arctic expedition concluded that methane emissions into the atmosphere in the Arctic increased significantly; in the Laptev Sea they discovered a field of craters formed in the process of bubbling methane emissions, the university's press service reported.

Earlier it was reported that TPU participates in international studies of processes occurring in the shelf of the polar seas of Eastern Siberia, where more than 90% of the underwater permafrost and a large amount of hydrocarbons are located. Scientists have found that methane emissions are coming from under the permafrost, and they accelerate global warming and can lead to disaster. In 2020, the international expedition led by Semiletov became the only one in the Arctic.

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According to the press service, the expedition took place from September 27 to November 4 with the participation of 69 scientists from 10 countries, including specialists from TPU. On board the Akademik Mstislav Keldysh vessel the researchers covered about 11000 kilometers, studying the biogeochemical, biological and geodetic consequences of the degradation of the underground and flood permafrost in the Russian sector of the Arctic. Upon his return, Semiletov made a report on the first results of the expedition at the session of the Presidium of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Emissions doubled

With reference to Semiletov, the press service reports that during the expedition, scientists performed about 300 million measurements of the concentration of dissolved methane in the surface layer of the Arctic seas using a new highly efficient technology - with an analytical end on laser spectrometers. Their results once again confirmed the theory of a high concentration of methane in the seas of the Eastern Arctic.

"A new discovery for us was the field of marine craters in the shallow zone of the Laptev Sea. Craters look like holes in the permafrost. Our studies have shown that marine craters are formed as a result of massive release of bubbly methane. Their diameter reaches 30 meters. New craters were also discovered in the East Siberian Sea", – Semiletov is quoted.

The release clarifies that methane emissions lead to a rise in water and a change in its structure. This causes a concentration of methane in the atmosphere: in areas of powerful emissions, the density reaches 16-32 ppm at a planetary concentration of 1.25. In the thin surface layer, the methane concentration reaches 35 thousand ppm.

"We have mapped more than a thousand large seep fields (areas of massive discharge of bubbly methane with linear dimensions of more than a hundred meters) and mega-fields (over a thousand meters). Using the micropolygon survey method, we investigated six mega-seeps in the Laptev and the East Siberian Sea and made a conclusion about their growth", – Semiletov told.

The scientist explains that the rate of growth of the cross-section of seep fields, the number of large jets of methane and its release into the atmosphere are increasing at different polygons from 5-10 to 100-120%: "One can assert a doubling of emissions per year".


Earlier it was reported that TPU scientists under the leadership of Professor Igor Semiletov are implementing a scientific project "The Siberian Arctic shelf as a source of greenhouse gases of planetary importance: quantitative assessment of flows and identification of potential environmental and climatic consequences". The project is supported by grants from the government of the Russian Federation and the Russian Science Foundation.

The main theory of scientists is that due to the melting of the underwater permafrost, large emissions of the greenhouse gas methane into the Earth's atmosphere occur. These emissions can have a significant impact on global climate change. To confirm this hypothesis, scientists have conducted several expeditions to the Arctic seas of Russia.

The previous expedition - across the seas of the Eastern Arctic - ended in October 2019. For 35 days polytechnics with colleagues from other Russian scientific and educational organizations worked on board the research vessel named after Academician Keldysh. They found a powerful methane release in the East Siberian Sea with a total area of ​​the gas fountain from four to five square meters.

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