While Eli counts the Weasel as a frienemey (they jump about stupidly and eat bunnies you know), the Rabett does think that he is a tad too attracted to the economically attractive counterfactual. Still, on many things we are friends in fur, and on the immediate threat of methane emissions bubbling out of the Arctic ocean in moderate agreement.
There are others pushing that peanut, amongst the now most active, Natalia Shakhova from the Russian Academy of Sciences in Vladavostok, and, humor abounds in such things, the University of Alaska Fairbanks who works out of the Akasofu Building. Shakhova and colleagues have published a new paper in Nature
Vast quantities of carbon are stored in shallow Arctic reservoirs, such as submarine and terrestrial permafrost. Submarine permafrost on the East Siberian Arctic Shelf started warming in the early Holocene, several thousand years ago. However, the present state of the permafrost in this region is uncertain. Here, we present data on the temperature of submarine permafrost on the East Siberian Arctic Shelf using measurements collected from a sediment core, together with sonar-derived observations of bubble flux and measurements of seawater methane levels taken from the same region. The temperature of the sediment core ranged from −1.8 to 0 °C. Although the surface layer exhibited the lowest temperatures, it was entirely unfrozen, owing to significant concentrations of salt. On the basis of the sonar data, we estimate that bubbles escaping the partially thawed permafrost inject 100–630 mg methane m−2 d−1 into the overlying water column. We further show that water-column methane levels had dropped significantly following the passage of two storms. We suggest that significant quantities of methane are escaping the East Siberian Shelf as a result of the degradation of submarine permafrost over thousands of years. We suggest that bubbles and storms facilitate the flux of this methane to the overlying ocean and atmosphere, respectively.with paper flaking going on over at Climate Central. Eli has some questions about this paper, to be discussed later, for example mixing from storms could enhance solvation and reaction of the methane in the ocean as well as release it to the atmosphere, but here, the Bunny would simply point to methane column density (the amount of methane between the surface and the top of the atmophere) as measured by the SCIAMACHY probe during the summers between 2003 and 2005, the time of year, when, according to Shakhova the emissions from the Siberian coast would be strongest
UPDATE: Here is another map showing the same thing. Note that the major emissions are across the middle of Siberia, not as one of our fans said, near the Siberian coast