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Data on Arctic methane will be available in six months

October 18, 2011

The first results of methane discharge research conducted by the expedition to the Eastern Arctic, which concluded its work on Monday, will be ready in about six months, Dr. Igor Semiletov, expedition leader and head of the Arctic Research Laboratory at the Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, told RIA Novosti.

The expedition of 27 Russian and U.S. scientists left Vladivostok on September 2 at short notice to study massive methane discharges from underwater gas hydrates in the Eastern Arctic. A special focus on this problem can be explained by the fact that a drastic increase of this gas in the Earth’s atmosphere can exacerbate the greenhouse effect.

The phenomenon of large-scale methane discharges in the Arctic is a global problem, whose solution requires joint efforts. Therefore this year’s Arctic expedition was funded mainly by the Russian Foundation for Fundamental Research and endorsed by the U.S National Science Foundation and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.   

According to Semiletov, the scientists detected the most powerful methane discharges in the north of the Laptev Sea. Although earlier the scientists detected only several eruptions of gas, this time they found thousands of them using state-of-the-art equipment.