February 2, 2024 at 12:20 pm

Scientists Find Massive Amounts Of Methane Escaping From Permafrost, Which Could Accelerate Climate Change

by Trisha Leigh

There are about a thousand reasons (or more) to be worried about the short- and long-term ramifications of climate change around the globe.

For my money (since I read Jurassic Park in 7th grade and never recovered), the stuff that may come “alive” again as the permafrost melts is pretty high up there.

This time, we have explorative fossil fuel drilling to thank. Because of course.

18 wells were dug in the Norwegian permafrost, located between Norway and the North Pole. Half of them struck methane gas that had been trapped for a good long while.

Source: Vecteezy

There’s so much gas, in fact, that allowing it to escape could accelerate the melting of the permafrost in the area.

Thomas Birchall, lead author of a new study, says that could turn into a vicious cycle.

“Methane is a potent greenhouse gas. At present, the leakage from below permafrost is very low, but factors such as glacial retreat and permafrost thawing may ‘lift the lid’ on this in the future.”

To be fair, experts say the geography of the Svalbard permafrost could release methane on its own, drilling operations aside.

It’s hard to say for sure, though, since it’s all currently trapped under a whole bunch of ice – so in that sense, maybe the drilling can actually be helpful this time around.

“One anecdotal example is from a wellbore that was drilled recently near the airport in Longyearbyen. The drillers heard a bubbling sound coming from the well, so we decided to have a look, armed with rudimentary alarms designed for detecting explosive levels of methane – which were immediately triggered when we held them over the wellbore.”

Source: Vecteezy

Drilling or not, there’s a good chance these gasses will escape eventually, once enough of the ice melts and disappears.

So I guess it’s a good thing we’re trying to figure out what to do about it now.

If you think that’s impressive, check out this story about a “goldmine” of lithium that was found in the U.S. that could completely change the EV battery game.