Where the glaciers retreat, methane is released on Svalbard. Image: picture alliance / imageBROKER
In the Arctic, another threat could come from melting glaciers. Because their ice has so far sealed harmful greenhouse gases that are now being released.
Predicting the climate of the future is also associated with many uncertainties due to so-called feedback loops. If permafrost soils thaw as a result of rising temperatures, the greenhouse gas methane stored in them is released, for example, which in turn causes even greater warming. A British-Norwegian research team has now discovered another positive feedback of this kind on the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard.
In the journal “Nature Geoscience” they describe how springs form in the run-up to shrinking glaciers, which transport groundwater containing methane to the surface and methane into the atmosphere. “New exit routes are opening up that were previously sealed off by the glacial ice,” says lead author Gabrielle Kleber from the University of Cambridge.
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