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Undersea Methane is really leaking!



Prodigious plumes of planet-warming methane are bubbling from sediments across a broad region of Arctic seafloor previously thought to be sealed by permafrost, new analyses indicate. The resulting increase of methane gas in the atmosphere may accelerate climate warming, scientists say.

Though immense amounts of carbon are known to be trapped in the peatlands of Siberia, a larger, often unrecognized carbon reservoir lies hidden just north of that frigid region, says Natalia Shakhova, a biogeochemist at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks.

The East Siberian Arctic Shelf — a 2.1-million-square-kilometer patch of Arctic seafloor that was exposed during the most recent ice age, when sea levels were lower — is three times larger than all of today’s land-based Siberian wetlands.

When the region was above sea level, tundra vegetation pulled carbon dioxide from the air as plants grew. That organic material, much of which didn’t decompose in the frigid Arctic, accumulated in the soil and is the source of modern methane.

Now, field studies by Shakhova and her colleagues, reported in the March 4 Science, suggest that the submarine reservoir of carbon has begun to leak.

During six cruises in the region from 2003 to 2008, the researchers gathered data at more than 1,000 spots in the Greenland-sized stretch of shallow ocean. The team also took atmospheric readings of methane concentration during one helicopter survey and a wintertime excursion from shore onto the ice-covered sea, says Shakhova.

The annual average temperature of seafloor permafrost is between 12 and 17 degrees warmer than that of nearby land-based permafrost, she notes.

The warmth of the seawater, as well as heat flowing up from within the Earth, has thawed the seafloor permafrost, releasing the methane, the researchers speculate. “We don’t know how long it’s been bubbling like this,” Shakhova adds.

Sonar images show plumes of methane bubbling from the seafloor, indicating that the gas originates in sediments there. Other measurements show that the methane isn’t generated in the water by microbes or brought to the seas by rivers, Shakhova says.

Each year, the researchers estimate, nearly 8 million metric tons of methane make their way to the atmosphere over the East Siberian Arctic Shelf. That’s more than previous estimates for all of the world’s oceans, Shakhova notes.

Siberian seafloor sediments are spewing much more methane than previously thought, but they’re providing only a small fraction of the estimated 440 million tons of that planet-warming gas emitted to the atmosphere each year, Martin Heimann, a biogeochemist at the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry in Jena, Germany, comments in Science. Nevertheless, he notes, release of a sizeable fraction of the carbon trapped in these sediments would lead to warmer atmospheric temperatures, which would in turn cause more methane to be released.

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2013: The End of Days or a New Beginning: Envisioning the World After the Events of 2012




2013: The End of Days or a New Beginning: Envisioning the World After the Events of 2012The 5,125-yearlong Mayan calendar ends on December 21, 2012, which many claim portends a massive global transformation. Some dread its arrival, believing it will be the beginning of the end. Others await it with delicious anticipation, expecting it to be the catalyst for a quantum leap of consciousness, the dawning of a true New Age.

Others wonder if anything at all will occur–remember Y2K?

2013: The End of Days or a New Beginning: Envisioning the World After the Events of 2012 examines all of the popular myths, prophecies, and predictions circulating about 2012, including the Mayan teachings of time acceleration and global awakening on a consciousness level. Furthermore it takes an in-depth look at lesser-known predictions and prophecies, and at the more scientific and reality-based challenges we will face.

Some of the questions this book explores include:

* Will cosmic and earthly chaos disrupt our lives with destructive sunspot cycles, volcanic super-eruptions, monster storms, mass extinctions, and asteroid threats?

* Will huge leaps in technology create bionic humans, computers that think, and an end to all disease–possibly even death itself?

* Will economic and geopolitical powers shift out of the West and into the “the New Eurasia,” with new wars being fought over dwindling resources as global warming takes its toll?

* Will this be the evolution revolution of human consciousness–or the final countdown that leads to Armageddon itself?

* Will it be the apocalypse so many have feared–or the rebirth of the world and the transformation of humanity?

There is much, much more to the 2012 enigma than just an ancient calendar, and 2013: The End of Days or a New Beginning? will prove it.

<a target=”_blank” href=”″>Marie D. Jones</a><img src=”″ width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” /> is the coauthor of Supervolcano: The Catastrophic Event That Changed the Course of Human History and PSIence: How New Discoveries in Quantum Physics and New Science May Explain the Existence of Paranormal Phenomena.

She is a widely published writer with hundreds of credits, including dozens of inspirational gift books and five Chicken Soup for the Soul books.

She is also a licensed New Thought Minister and spiritual counselor with a background in metaphysical studies. She has appeared on numerous radio shows including Coast to Coast A.M. and Darkness Radio.

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As Temperature Rises, Earth Breathes Faster, and Maybe Harder




As planetary temperatures rise, Earth’s soils release steadily larger amounts of carbon dioxide, according to massive data crunching from hundreds of soil respiration studies published since 1989.

The critical question is whether soils release more CO2 because faster-growing plants pump more in, or if soils release CO2 that would have stayed in the ground at lower temperatures.

If the latter, the fresh influx of CO2 could produce a self-reinforcing cycle, producing higher temperatures that cause even more CO2 to be released.

Carbon dioxide enters the soil through the roots of living plants and from the decaying bodies of dead plants, and is processed by microbes, fungi and insects. Over time, some of that CO2 releases back into the atmosphere.

At any given time, there’s about twice as much CO2 in Earth’s soils as in its atmosphere.

Because more heat means more energy and faster chemical reactions, Earth scientists have suspected that rising global temperatures would increase the rate of soil respiration.

The last review of soil respiration studies (.pdf) took place in 1992, however, and though it found a link between temperature and respiration rates, data was relatively sparse.

Whatever the anomaly’s explanation, that data was still included when global soil-respiration rates were calculated and the rise identified.

What’s not clear from the analysis is whether soil-respiration rates have increased without actually affecting atmospheric balances of CO2, or if CO2 that would have remained earthbound is now being released.


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Earthquake in Chile moved city 9 feet




The earthquake of magnitude 8.8 that struck Chile on 27 February visited the city of Concepción for more than three meters to the west, scientists revealed on Monday (8).

Preliminary measurements obtained from global positioning stations show that Concepcion, the second city of Chile, moved 3.04 meters (around 10′) to the west by the tremor.

Santiago, the Chilean capital, moved 27.7 centimeters (11″) to the west, according to measurements made by Chilean and American experts and published by Ohio State University.

The earthquake in Chile moved to the city of Buenos Aires, by 4 inches to the west, and was felt in the Falkland Islands in the Atlantic.

Read also: Chilean Quake May Have Shortened Earth Days

Source: G1

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