Ice of Antarctica conceal methane bomb: scientists

Photo: ecovoice.ru

Under the ice sheet of Antarctica lies a whole system of rivers and lakes, inhabited by microorganisms, which in the case of melting ice could release into the atmosphere huge amounts of methane — a strong greenhouse gas, said Gemma Vedhem (Jemma Wadham), a geochemist at the University of Bristol, UK, at the American Geophysical Union in Baltimore.

In recent years, scientists have found that water is hidden under most of the Antarctic ice sheet. Under the two-kilometer thick ice hides many water streams and lakes, the most famous of which — Lake Vostok, in which scientists hope to get into the next winter.

This water world can serve as a refuge for a huge amount of methanogenic microorganisms, so in case of melting ice trap in which they are enclosed, the accumulated methane can be released into the atmosphere, greatly accelerate the process of global warming.

Vedhem and her colleagues took samples of ice from the Antarctic glacier Wright and Russell Glacier in Greenland. The samples turned out large amounts of methane and methanogenic bacteria. In the Antarctic ice was more than 10 million bacterial cells per gram in Greenland — about 100,000, says the researcher.

The species composition of microorganisms was close to that found in the polar regions, particularly in the arctic tundra.

The researchers then placed the scrapings from the samples in the vessels to see how microorganisms grow. "With the Antarctic samples, nothing happened about 250 days, and then all of a sudden — bam! — We got a lot of methane, "- says Vedhem, as quoted by the publication Science News.

Samples from the Greenland nothing like happened, but, as noted geochemist experiment continues, and perhaps they are "shot".

Another participant in the conference, Mark Skidmore (Mark Skidmore), a microbiologist from the University of Montana, also discovered methanogens bacteria in Canadian glacier Robertson.

This study and others presented at the conference draws Antarctica as a much more dynamic and 'fluid' world than previously thought. Thus, a group of scientists from Edinburgh could find under the ice at least 386 lakes.Source: the-day-x.ru

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