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Escape of methane gas from the seabed along the West Spitsbergen continental margin

Westbrook, Graham K., Thatcher, Kate E., Rohling, Eelco J., Piotrowski, Alexander M., Pälike, Heiko, Osborne, Anne H., Nisbet, Euan G., Minshull, Tim A., Lanoisellé, Mathias, James, Rachael H., Huhnerbach, Veit, Green, Darryl, Fisher, Rebecca E., Crocker, Anya J., Chabert, Anne, Bolton, Clara, Beszczynska-Möller, Agnieszka, Berndt, Christian and Aquilina, Alfred (2009) Escape of methane gas from the seabed along the West Spitsbergen continental margin Geophysical Research Letters, 36, L15608.

Record type: Article


More than 250 plumes of gas bubbles have been discovered emanating from the seabed of the West Spitsbergen continental margin, in a depth range of 150-400 m, at and above the present upper limit of the gas hydrate stability zone (GHSZ). Some of the plumes extend upward to within 50 m of the sea surface. The gas is predominantly methane. Warming of the northward-flowing West Spitsbergen current by 1°C over the last thirty years is likely to have increased the release of methane from the seabed by reducing the extent of the GHSZ, causing the liberation of methane from decomposing hydrate. If this process becomes widespread along Arctic continental margins, tens of Teragrams of methane per year could be released into the ocean.

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Submitted date: 20 May 2009
Published date: 6 August 2009
Keywords: Spitsbergen, Svalbard, Methane hydrate
Organisations: Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre,Southampton


Local EPrints ID: 64607
ISSN: 0094-8276
PURE UUID: f3adf0ae-556a-406c-bb8f-d5be12956b5f
ORCID for Eelco J. Rohling: ORCID iD
ORCID for Tim A. Minshull: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 25 Jun 2009
Last modified: 11 Oct 2017 23:26

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Author: Kate E. Thatcher
Author: Alexander M. Piotrowski
Author: Heiko Pälike
Author: Anne H. Osborne
Author: Euan G. Nisbet
Author: Tim A. Minshull ORCID iD
Author: Mathias Lanoisellé
Author: Veit Huhnerbach
Author: Darryl Green
Author: Rebecca E. Fisher
Author: Anya J. Crocker
Author: Anne Chabert
Author: Clara Bolton
Author: Agnieszka Beszczynska-Möller
Author: Christian Berndt
Author: Alfred Aquilina

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