Ancient reserves of methane gas seeping from the melting arctic ice cap could directly affect people who live in coastal areas in Florida, a researcher says.
As permafrost in arctic regions thaws there is a release of the powerful greenhouse gas through vents from deep sites, Florida State University oceanographer Jeff Chanton said.
Until recently, he said, frozen soil and ice have served to plug or block these vents, but thawing has allowed the conduits to open, and deep geologic methane that causes climate warming is now escaping.
The seeping methane causes more melting ice, Chanton said, which causes sea levels to rise and could affect Florida coastal real estate values.
And it could happen sooner than people think, he said, possibly over the next 50 to 100 years.
"Methane is a very strong greenhouse gas that's grown three times faster than carbon dioxide since the industrial era," Chanton said.
"Along the flat Florida coastline, a 1-foot rise in sea level could cause anywhere from 10 to 100 feet of shoreline retreat -- erosion," Chanton said. "For us here in Florida, this is really important because we can expect the coast to recede."
A typical beach house on a receding shoreline could face peril, he said.
"It may not be there for your grandchildren," he said.
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