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Earth System Dynamics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

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© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Research article
18 Dec 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript is under review for the journal Earth System Dynamics (ESD).
Climatic impact of Arctic Ocean methane hydrate dissociation in the 21st-century
Sunil Vadakkepuliyambatta1, Ragnhild B. Skeie2, Gunnar Myhre2, Stig B. Dalsøren2, Anna Silyakova1, Norbert Schmidbauer3, Cathrine Lund Myhre3, and Jürgen Mienert1 1CAGE-Center for Arctic Gas Hydrate, Environment, and Climate, Department of Geosciences, UiT-The Arctic University of Norway, 9037 Tromsø, Norway
2CICERO-Center for International Climate and Environmental Research – Oslo, PB. 1129 Blindern, 0318 Oslo, Norway
3NILU – Norwegian Institute for Air Research, Instituttveien 18, 2027 Kjeller, Norway
Abstract. Greenhouse gas methane trapped in sub-seafloor gas hydrates may play an important role in a potential climate feedback system. The impact of future Arctic Ocean warming on the hydrate stability and its contribution to atmospheric methane concentrations remains an important and unanswered question. Here, we estimate the climate impact of released methane from oceanic gas hydrates in the Arctic to the atmosphere towards the end of the 21st century, integrating hydrate stability and atmospheric modeling. Based on future climate models, we estimate that increasing ocean temperatures over the next 100 years could release up to 17 ± 6 Gt C into the Arctic Ocean. However, the released methane has a limited or minor impact on the global mean surface temperature, contributing only 0.1 % of the projected anthropogenic influenced warming over the 21st century.
Citation: Vadakkepuliyambatta, S., Skeie, R. B., Myhre, G., Dalsøren, S. B., Silyakova, A., Schmidbauer, N., Lund Myhre, C., and Mienert, J.: Climatic impact of Arctic Ocean methane hydrate dissociation in the 21st-century, Earth Syst. Dynam. Discuss.,, in review, 2017.
Sunil Vadakkepuliyambatta et al.
Sunil Vadakkepuliyambatta et al.
Sunil Vadakkepuliyambatta et al.


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Short summary
Release of methane, one of the major greenhouse gases, from melting hydrates has been proposed as a mechanism that accelerated global warming in the past. We focus on Arctic Ocean warming as a robust case study for accelerated melting of hydrates, assessing the impact of Arctic methane release on global air temperatures during the next century. Contrary to popular belief, it is shown that methane emissions from melting hydrates from the Arctic seafloor is not a major driver of global warming.
Release of methane, one of the major greenhouse gases, from melting hydrates has been proposed...