Sandia Labs part of research team uncovering an artic mystery

Albuquerque News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Sandia National Laboratory scientists are part of an international research team working on a project in the arctic ocean. According to a news release, 25 international researchers are currently studying frozen land underneath the ocean’s surface called “submarine permafrost.”

The release states that the “submarine permafrost” is beginning to rise. Scientists also say it’s releasing large amounts of methane and carbon into the air. The researchers are studying the long-term environmental impact.

Sandia National Laboratories geosciences engineer Jennifer Frederick, one of the authors of the study, said the amount of greenhouse gases in submarine permafrost, humans have released about 500 billion tons of carbon into the atmosphere since the Industrial Revolution.

According to the news release, researchers predict that submarine permafrost is not a ticking time bomb and could take hundreds of years to emit its greenhouse gases. “It’s expected to be released over a long period of time, but it’s still a significant amount,” said Frederick. “This expert assessment is bringing to light that we can’t just ignore it because it’s underwater, and we can’t see it. It’s lurking there, and it’s a potentially large source of carbon, particularly methane.”

The study was coordinated through the Permafrost Carbon Network, which has more than 400 members from 130 research institutions in 21 countries.

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