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The Arctic is a freezer that’s losing power

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece here in Wired or enjoy below

🗞️ Driving the news:: The island's warming twice as fast as the rest of the Arctic, which itself is warming up to four and a half times faster than the rest of the world
• According to new research, this groundwater that is bubbling up as glaciers retrieve, can contain over 600,000 times the methane of a cup of water exposed to air

🔭 The context:  Scientists have recently discovered a significant climate feedback loop on the island of Svalbard, located halfway between mainland Norway and the North Pole
• The island's rapidly receding glaciers are causing the release of methane-rich groundwater (80 times as powerful as carbon dioxide), accelerating global warming

🌎 Why does it matter for the planet: With 2,300 tons of methane released annually from springs on Svalbard alone, this newly discovered source of emissions can considerably exacerbate global warming if it is found to be occurring in other parts of the Arctic as well

⏭️ What's next: There are ongoing research efforts to understand how different Arctic areas might produce and sequester methane differently
• While some microbes in the region might be sequestering methane, it's unclear whether these natural mechanisms can keep up with the increasing release of greenhouse gases due to warming

💬 One quote: “We are beginning to see this positive feedback loop. It’s happening now,” (Emily Stanley, Biogeochemist at the University of Wisconsin)

📈 One stat: The release of groundwater methane on Svalbard is equivalent to the methane emission of around 30,000 cows
• It is noted that this phenomenon is potentially widespread in the Arctic, which could lead to a substantial increase in global methane emissions

Click for more news covering the latest on Environmental Sustainability

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