Methane Under Antarctica

The Antarctic is inhospitable to the best of us because of dry air, brutal blizzards, and very cold temperatures. However, you have to think about this again, especially after you know that there might be 4 billion metric tons of methane- a potent greenhouse gas- under the continent.

In the latest studies, researchers discovered huge quantities of carbon hidden under the Antarctic Ice Sheet, that along with microbes produce the methane. With all these ingredients, the lack of oxygen under the ice sheet makes it a perfect place for mathanogenesis.

In their studies, the scientists used a numerical model to simulate how much methane might have formed under the ice sheet throughout time. In this model, the organic carbon turns into methane hydrate, which is an ice-like solid structure in which water molecules surround methane. The rest becomes free methane.

If the ice sheet melts, then the hidden methane will find its way to the atmosphere. But it is still unclear for the scientists how much methane gas could be under the ice sheet and they add that their study is just raising questions.

Optimistically, the scientists speculate that such a finding may be beneficial for humans. They state that this methane gas can be used as a source of energy. After all, natural gas is methane. But this might seem very difficult now as there are no harbors, airports, or infrastructures that will allow taking the methane gas out.

Finally, it seems that Antarctica might be an underestimated player in the climate change game.

You may also like...