WASHINGTON (CBS DC) — After scientists from Stockholm University discovered “vast methane plumes escaping from the seafloor” in the Arctic Ocean this week, climatologist Dr. Jason Box remarked that if even a portion of the carbon moves into the atmosphere, “we’re f’d.”
Box took to Twitter to voice his frightened opinion of the plume of methane Box describes to Vice Motherboard as “a potent greenhouse gas that traps heat more powerfully than carbon dioxide, the chief driver of climate change.”
If even a small fraction of Arctic sea floor carbon is released to the atmosphere, we're f'd.—
Jason Box (@climate_ice) July 29, 2014
“If even a small fraction of Arctic sea floor carbon is released to the atmosphere, we’re f’d,” Box posted to Twitter from Copenhagen.
Box is a professor of glaciology at the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland and has been studying the Arctic and the current study of large amounts of leaked methane in the Arctic, but scientists suggest that the bubbles would dissolve before they reach the surface of the water. Some of the methane is over 20 times more potent than CO2 for trapping heat.
The gas leaking from the seafloor may have developed as a result of collapsing clusters of methane trapped in frozen waters due to low temperatures and high pressure.
Stockholm University scientists described the gas leak as “somewhat of a surprise,” but Dr. Box took that reaction much further.
“We’re on a trajectory to an unmanageable heating scenario, and we need to get off it,” Box told Vice Motherboard. “We’re f—– at a certain point, right? It just becomes unmanageable. The climate dragon is being poked, and eventually the dragon becomes pissed off enough to trash the place.”
Dr. Box said that conventional thought suggests the bubbles would dissolve before reaching the surface and microorganisms would consume the methane. However, Box argues new heat-trapping gases are alarming because the Arctic is warming at a rate faster than nearly everywhere else on Earth.
Box adds that while the process may be slow, it is sure to be perilous over time.
“I may escape a lot of this,” Box told Motherboard, “but my daughter might not. She’s three years old.”