Gas bubbles create methane hydrate deposits, changing the climate

Gas hydrates are an ice-like substance in which gas molecules, usually methane, merge

into a single structure with molecules of frozen waterunder high pressure. These formations are widespread in nature - they account for a significant proportion of organic carbon. It is likely that in the future people will learn how to extract energy from them - however, scientists still do not fully understand how they are formed and developed.

In a new study, physicists created a computermodel of gas bubbles that pass through hydrate deposits. This is a common phenomenon, but which does not fit into existing physical theories.

The model made it possible to explain how gas hydratesform massive natural reservoirs - like the one under the Gulf of Mexico. In this reservoir, methane, the strongest greenhouse gas in the gaseous state, freely penetrates through hydrates in the bowels and enters the surface, and then into the Earth’s atmosphere.

Researchers have hypothesized that hydratesarise as a kind of natural barrier between gas and water, which allows gas to slowly seep into the water. Modeling showed that methane flowing through the bowels can accumulate in large hydrated reservoirs, which can have a significant impact on climate change, which has not yet been taken into account - and also become a target for new energy sources in the future.

We believe that this model will become an important tool for future research on the evolution of large, highly concentrated hydrated formations.

Dylan Meyer, lead author of the study

Previously scientists countedthat anthropogenic methane emissions were 40% higher than previously thought.