"Frozen" Methane Escapes from the Sea Floor

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Science  07 Apr 2000:
Vol. 288, Issue 5463, pp. 68-69
DOI: 10.1126/science.288.5463.68

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The atmospheric concentrations of methane, a greenhouse gas, have been shown to increase in parallel with temperature increases in ice core records of glacial/interglacial cycles. Two different sources of this methane have been proposed: Methane hydrate stored in permafrost and on the sea floor, and bacterial processes in wetland environments. In this Perspective, Blunier discusses the implications of results reported by Kennett et al. of methane hydrate releases from the sea floor at times of rapid warming in the ice core records.