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

Escape of methane gas from the seabed along the West Spitsbergen continental margin
Escape of methane gas from the seabed along the West Spitsbergen continental margin
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.
Spitsbergen, Svalbard, Methane hydrate
0094-8276
L15608
Westbrook, Graham K.
ccd95de7-a1a1-4fc9-be37-f1a487bb65ca
Thatcher, Kate E.
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Rohling, Eelco J.
a2a27ef2-fcce-4c71-907b-e692b5ecc685
Piotrowski, Alexander M.
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Pälike, Heiko
b9bf7798-ad8c-479b-8487-dd9a30a61fa5
Osborne, Anne H.
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Nisbet, Euan G.
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Minshull, Tim A.
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Lanoisellé, Mathias
664b01d2-320c-448d-9edc-c3c0341617fc
James, Rachael H.
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Huhnerbach, Veit
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Green, Darryl
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Fisher, Rebecca E.
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Crocker, Anya J.
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Chabert, Anne
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Bolton, Clara
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Beszczynska-Möller, Agnieszka
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Berndt, Christian
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Aquilina, Alfred
a5ce0174-e2d4-40ee-baa5-86ba2f24058c
Westbrook, Graham K.
ccd95de7-a1a1-4fc9-be37-f1a487bb65ca
Thatcher, Kate E.
9883d7aa-b464-4c85-986e-28083adeaf44
Rohling, Eelco J.
a2a27ef2-fcce-4c71-907b-e692b5ecc685
Piotrowski, Alexander M.
9b0f2ed4-4133-4809-a58a-02639f0bba8a
Pälike, Heiko
b9bf7798-ad8c-479b-8487-dd9a30a61fa5
Osborne, Anne H.
d5d4ecda-1a29-4eb1-a845-3922f8f4a193
Nisbet, Euan G.
9e2cd3a9-b512-4bfd-a502-1f0ed409a486
Minshull, Tim A.
bf413fb5-849e-4389-acd7-0cb0d644e6b8
Lanoisellé, Mathias
664b01d2-320c-448d-9edc-c3c0341617fc
James, Rachael H.
79aa1d5c-675d-4ba3-85be-fb20798c02f4
Huhnerbach, Veit
1ea7cdde-a6fd-4749-b880-504c958c588c
Green, Darryl
0d7d86c4-d674-4514-8aa6-259134dc7b57
Fisher, Rebecca E.
7ebc6bb2-2ad7-4481-9513-3ab490d0c43d
Crocker, Anya J.
d901b7b3-5417-4074-a4ae-30074540be61
Chabert, Anne
36628524-dc0e-44ff-bbc5-a3463dbfd99e
Bolton, Clara
6308b9cd-c2e7-490e-9279-5b89c8ae909c
Beszczynska-Möller, Agnieszka
252457c5-a7b6-4912-8396-bc26f8a92c73
Berndt, Christian
d6db3f62-9891-4e8a-9210-b3aa6a8a4c22
Aquilina, Alfred
a5ce0174-e2d4-40ee-baa5-86ba2f24058c

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

Abstract

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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More information

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

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 64607
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/64607
ISSN: 0094-8276
PURE UUID: f3adf0ae-556a-406c-bb8f-d5be12956b5f
ORCID for Eelco J. Rohling: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-5349-2158
ORCID for Tim A. Minshull: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-8202-1379

Catalogue record

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

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Contributors

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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