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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Heavy methane emissions found in Arctic Eastern sector (expedition led by Igor Semiletov); methane torches described

Heavy methane emissions found in Arctic Eastern sector

VLADIVOSTOK, September 26, 2011 (Itar-Tass) — A Russo-US expedition which visited 
the eastern sector of the Arctic seas found powerful methane emissions in the northern 
sector of the Laptev and Bering seas, expedition Chief Igor Semiletov, who represents the 
Far Eastern Institute of Ocean studies under the Russian Academy of Sciences and 
University of Alaska Fairbanks, told Itar-Tass by telephone from board the Akdemik 
Lavrentyev research ship.
"Methane torches" have been running up from the depth of the ocean with methane 
emitted into the air, Semiletov said. Possibly, methane comes from the depth of the 
Earth crust, which is a sign of a strong seismic activity in this region, Semiletov said.
Signs of global warming have been seen everywhere in the Arctic region. Sea 
temperatures are unusually high for this time of the year - almost three degrees Celsius 
above zero, which means that ice formation will slow down now, and that the overall 
age-old, ice-bound Arctic territory will narrow, Semiletov said.
The expedition in which 28 scientists from Russia and the United States take part, set out 
from Vladivostok in the beginning of September. The expedition includes experts of the 
Alaska Fairbanks Scientific Research Center and Georgia University, experts of the 
Russian Far Eastern branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
The Academic Lavrentyev research ship which carries the expedition is a modern 
geophysical complex, which enables to measure the amount of green house gases 
discharged into the air. The expedition intends to study areas of permanent frost deep 
at sea in the Chukotka, Bering and Far Eastern-Siberian seas and in the Laptev Sea. 
The expedition has moved to a distance of five nautical miles now, and is almost halfway 
through the assigned route.

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