Picture of the ocean

Increased amount of methane gas expected to be released from seafloor as oceans get warmer due to climate change

That is the conclusion of a new study by Marcelo Ketzer, professor at the Department of Biology and Environmental Science at Linnaeus University, together with a group of researchers at Stockholm University led by Christian Stranne.

Methane can be released from the seafloor as oceans get warmer
Methane may be released from the seafloor as oceans get warmer. Illustration: Christian Stranne.

When methane gas is freed from the seafloor, most of the potent greenhouse gas is consumed by microbes living in the sediment and does not escape into the environment.

The new study explores how the activity carried out by these microbes may be affected as the oceans get warmer and methane hydrate (an ice-like substance that contains methane) melts. Through computations, the researchers show that microbes might have a hard time to adjust if methane levels increase drastically. This may in turn accelerate ocean acidification and possibly climate change.

The new computation model has been developed by researchers at Stockholm University and Marcelo Ketzer has contributed with interpretation of the results, which are presented in the journal Communications Earth & Environment.


More information:

The scientific paper ”Anaerobic oxidation has a minor effect on mitigating seafloor methane emissions from gas hydrate dissociation” in Communications Earth & Environment.