Climatologists have spent decades politely warning that we are cooking our planet, but now one has decided to stop sugar coating it. Professor Jason Box of the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland tweeted “If even a small fraction of Arctic sea floor carbon is released to the atmosphere, we’re fucked.”
Box was responding to research by Stockholm University reporting “vast methane plumes escaping from the seafloor” in the Arctic Ocean.
The scientists who made the discovery were more restrained. “This was somewhat of a surprise,” chief scientist Orjan Gustafsson wrote. Although there have been plenty of reports of methane plumes in the Arctic before, these have been a forewarning of danger, rather than a direct threat themselves. Microorganisms in the water column scavenge methane as it rises. Provided they can get to it before it reaches the surface the climate change damage is small.