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Record greenhouse emission registered in Russian Arctic

In September, scientists from Russia, China, Sweden left for an expedition to study bio-chemical consequence from the thawing underwater permafrost in the East Arctic, along the Northern Sea Route

TOMSK, October 8. /TASS/. Scientists from Russia, China and Sweden find a record emission of greenhouse gas, caused by permafrost’s thawing in the Russian Arctic, the Tomsk Polytechnic University’s press service said.

The press service reported earlier that about 80 scientists from Russia, China and Sweden in September left for an expedition onboard the Akademik Keldysh research vessel to study ecology and bio-chemical consequences from the thawing underwater permafrost in the East Arctic and along the Northern Sea Route. The experts will be searching for major methane emissions, which may affect the planet’s climate, the press service said.

"The vessel went to the East Siberian Sea, where earlier the geo-physics research results pointed to seeps [gas fountains] - a demonstration of the underwater permafrost’s degradation and methane emissions," the press service said. "In the assigned area, [the scientists] conducted a vast complex of studies and saw a mighty methane emission."

The expedition participants used seismic-sonic tests to find the emission. The gas fountain’s area is about 4-5 square meters. In the sea, the scientists took samples of water and sediments.

"It is the biggest seep I’ve ever seen," the University’s Professor Igor Semiletov, the expedition’s head, told the press service. "Methane’s concentration there is … nine times higher than elsewhere on the planet."

"Nobody has registered anything of the kind," the scientist, who had participated in 45 Arctic expeditions, said.