Exclusive: expedition discovers new source of greenhouse gas off East Siberian coast has been triggered

Scientists have found evidence that frozen methane deposits in the Arctic Ocean – known as the “sleeping giants of the carbon cycle” – have started to be released over a large area of the continental slope off the East Siberian coast, the Guardian can reveal.

High levels of the potent greenhouse gas have been detected down to a depth of 350 metres in the Laptev Sea near Russia, prompting concern among researchers that a new climate feedback loop may have been triggered that could accelerate the pace of global heating.

Why are methane hydrates considered ‘sleeping giants’ for the climate?

Related: The end of the Arctic as we know it

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