Methane emissions from Siberian bogs are “time bomb,” scientists warn

Thawing Siberian bogs may be releasing up to five times more methane than previously thought, potentially creating a vicious cycle wherein more warming releases more methane, which causes more warming, which … well, you get the picture. “It is a ticking time bomb,” says Katey Walter, lead author of a study on the phenomenon in Nature. The focus of the study was yedoma, a type of permafrost that flash-froze 40,000 years ago, trapping carbon-rich plants. These days, the not-so-perma permafrost melts in summer; if it’s underwater, like in the Siberian lakes, the carbon is released as methane, which has 23 times more heat-trapping capacity than carbon dioxide. But, good news: the bogs only emit about 4 million tons of methane per year, compared to over 330 million tons contributed each year by human activity. Oh wait, that’s not good news at all.