The University of Copenhagen has published new research showing that Greenland absorbs more of the greenhouse gas methane than it emits.
“Since 2000, more than 65,000 tonnes of methane have been removed from the atmosphere per year in the ice-free dry regions of Greenland, and 9,000 tonnes per year have been released from wetlands,” the university said. Announced. statement.
The findings, published in the journal Nature Communications Earth & Environmental, are encouraging because methane, the second biggest cause of global warming after CO2, is particularly harmful to the environment.
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According to the United Nations, this effect accounts for about 30 percent of the increase in average temperatures since the Industrial Revolution.
Geologist Bo Elberling, who led the study, said the Greenland phenomenon is “partly due to the arid landscape that prevails in Greenland, where methane from the atmosphere is consumed by the upper layers of the soil.” Ta.
Part of the reason, Elberling said, is that “Greenland’s ice-free areas have only been ice-free since the last ice age, which stores large amounts of carbon, as can be measured elsewhere in the Arctic.” It means there was nothing to do.” ”.
On average, the ice-free dry region of Greenland consumes more than 65,000 tons of methane from the atmosphere each year. Photo: AFP
Methane absorption is possible thanks to a “unique microbial community” that lives in the upper layers of the Arctic soil.
“These microorganisms take advantage of methane that seeps into the soil from the atmosphere and convert it into carbon dioxide (CO2),” the university said.
He added that while CO2 is also a greenhouse gas, its impact is “much weaker than methane, so the conversion of methane to carbon dioxide is good climate news.”
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At the same time, the researchers concluded that Greenland “is unlikely to influence the total amount of methane in the world’s atmosphere or have a decisive impact on the Arctic methane budget.”
“Greenland’s uptake of methane is simply too low compared to other known methane sources,” the statement said, citing places like Siberia.
Methane persists in the atmosphere for 12 years, compared to centuries for CO2, but its greenhouse effect is 25 times more powerful than that of CO2.
In the Arctic, it is released into the atmosphere as a result of thawing permafrost.