The melting of vast stretches of permafrost in the Northern Hemisphere is expected to release large quantities of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
Now, a study from MIT published in Geophysical Research indicates that trapped methane may begin to bubble up from the ocean floor as global temperatures rise.
The ocean floor right now traps large quantities of methane in what is called the hydrate stability zone, where temperatures are low and ambient pressure is high. Methane molecules are actually trapped in a crystalline cage of frozen water. Warming could reduce the stability of the zone and release the gas.
Methane is 20 times more efficient than carbon dioxide in retaining...