Methane release from the permafrost and hydrates under the East Siberian Shelf in autumn 2009 was the highest ever recorded, the leader of the International Siberian Shelf Study (ISSS), Igor Semiletov, has told the BBC. The results of last autumn’s research cruises are being prepared for publication in the near future. The BBC also quotes Semiletov’s colleague Prof Orjan Gustafsson from Stockholm University:
He said that methane measured in the atmosphere around the region is 100 times higher than normal background levels, and in some cases 1,000 times higher.
Gustaffson went on to say that “so far” there was no cause for alarm, and stressed the need for further study. Sounds like a scientist… For background, check out last year’s WWF Arctic report (I discussed the chapter on Arctic methane here), and my posts on the 2008 ISSS expeditions (one, two). Looks like the methane release is confirmed as chronic, but not yet (if we’re lucky) acute.