A new study finds that tiny microbes inside rocks in the deep ocean are munching on methane.
Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas. Although it doesn’t remain in the atmosphere as long as carbon dioxide, while it's there, it is more than 80 times more potent than CO2. Methane is emitted by natural sources such as wetlands, as a byproduct of raising livestock, as well as from human activities, such as leakage from natural gas systems. It also is abundant in the ocean - largely in frozen reservoirs, but also seeping from deep within the earth's interior, through cracks in the ocean floor.
Little of that gas reaches the atmosphere, thanks to methane-eating microbes that live in seabed sediments near methane vents in the deep ocean.Al Gore is reportedly devastated at the news (oh, whose kidding--he doesn't actually read anything about science).