Is there any kind of surprise that 2020 is yet to spew at us? The newest member of the 2020’s surprise club is the leakage of methane in Antarctica’s seabed. Frankly speaking, this methane leak wouldn’t have qualified as a surprise unless the location convinces you to ponder Rico, Skipper, Kowalski, and Private plan their battle against the ‘methane-monster.’ Skipping to reality, methane is one of the most powerful greenhouse gas found on the face of this planet that severely accelerates climate change, and 25-times more climate-warming potential than carbon dioxide, and could possibly rewrite that region’s climate destiny. It is said that Antarctica contains as much as a quarter of the entire planet’s marine methane.
Interestingly, nature has its own ways to bridging gaps and band-aiding its injuries, which is why even though researchers have discovered several leaks all over the world, nature has put forth microbes hungry enough to gobble the leaked gas before it makes a run for the atmosphere. However, it’s not the same in the Antarctic waters at the moment it seems. There’s always been a concern of scientists regarding the risk of gases leaking from under the ice, but they’ve left it upon the microorganisms to take care of. But these new findings have compelled researchers to think otherwise; despite the presence of microorganisms, methane has found an escape.
If we look at the big picture, this is just a small leak with absolutely no strength to tip off the global climate significantly, but because 25% of the planet’s marine methane lies in the Antarctic waters, leaks could be occurring right now and not a soul would be informed right away, meaning – it could be a serious catastrophe in the future. An oceanographer at the Oregon State University, Dr. Andrew Thurber says that it’ll take as long as a decade for an entire community of microbes to develop and begin consuming methane. However, the ultimate source or the reason behind this leak remains unknown to researchers and scientists. The only brighter aspect of this incident would not only deepen their understanding of how and why methane is consumed and released in Antarctica, but also improve the accuracy of future global climate models.