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Greenhouse gas from ocean floor studied

SOUTHAMPTON, England, Sept. 19 (UPI) -- Researchers studying how the greenhouse gas methane escapes from the arctic sea floor say they've found widespread pockets and channels it moves through.

Researchers from Britain's National Oceanography Center, working on a research ship off Norway, said understanding methane's origin in the arctic area and its routes to the sea floor has important implications for global climate change, an NOC release said Monday.

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A range of new technologies to probe the seabed beneath areas where methane gas was found to be escaping show gas in some places is trapped and in some places is traveling upward through narrow fractures and pipes to the seafloor, researchers said.

"Methane gas escaping from the arctic seabed might make an important contribution to global climate change, but we need to understand the origin of this gas and its escape route to work out how the amount of gas escaping might change as the ocean warms," Tim Minshull of the University of Southampton said. "We now have very clear images of the gas escape routes and also of many places where gas is trapped and not yet escaping."

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