Scientists Solve the Paradox of Why Oceans Exude So Much Methane – NYT Green Blog

“The discovery goes a long way to providing the missing piece of the ocean methane puzzle. “Yes we’ve solved an interesting little mystery,” Dr. Metcalf said. “But I think it’s much more than that.”

“While 4 percent of the world’s methane “doesn’t sound like a lot,” he said, methane is 20 times as potent as carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas. Understanding the sources of methane and where it is stored is therefore critical in accurately assessing climate changes, he explained.

“Dr. Metcalf pointed out that some scientists have advocated fertilizing the ocean to stimulate the growth of algae that would absorb carbon dioxide. But it’s “really essential to fully understand the system before you even think about manipulating it,” he said.”

Well, no kidding. We’re still discovering mechanisms that affect things like atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases. Before we undertake measures designed to tweak these systems to our supposed benefit, we’d sure as hell better know exactly what we’re doing.

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