Researchers have found alarming evidence that the frozen Arctic floor has
started to thaw and release long-stored methane gas. The results could be a
catastrophic warming of the earth, since methane is a far more potent greenhouse
gas than carbon dioxide. But can the methane also be used as fuel?
It's always been a disturbing what-if scenario for climate researchers: Gas
hydrates stored in the Arctic ocean floor -- hard clumps of ice and methane,
conserved by freezing temperatures and high pressure -- could grow unstable and
release massive amounts of methane into the atmosphere. Since methane is a
potent greenhouse gas, more worrisome than carbon dioxide, the result would be a
drastic acceleration of global warming. Until now this idea was mostly academic;
scientists had warned that such a thing could happen. Now it seems more likely
that it will.
Russian polar scientists have strong evidence that the first stages of melting