English language media coverage


  • Latest: Ebullition and storm-induced methane release from the East Siberian Arctic Shelf, 24 November 2013
    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.
  • Latest from NewScientist: Arctic storms speed up release of methane plumes, 24 November 2013
    "Significant quantities of methane are escaping the East Siberian Shelf as a result of the degradation of submarine permafrost," says Natalia Shakhova of the University of Alaska in Fairbanks. She and her team collected data – at a great cost – to show that vast areas are releasing plumes of methane gas, which is escaping into the atmosphere.

  • Latest from livescience: Twice as Much Methane Escaping Arctic Seafloor, 24 November 2013 
    The Arctic methane time bomb is bigger than scientists once thought and primed to blow, according to a study published today (Nov. 24) in the journal Nature Geoscience.
  • Latest from Kitapsun: Arctic Storms, Warming Mean More Methane Released, 24 November 2013
    Underneath the Arctic Ocean sits a large reserve of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Understanding how much of that is making it to the atmosphere is an important but relatively new area of research. The latest findings published on Sunday in Nature indicate that more could be escaping than previously thought, thanks in part to stormy weather.
  • Latest from Reporting Climate Science: Global Warming Gast Escapes From Siberian Sea Bed, 24 November 2013
    Bubbles emanating from the East Siberian Shelf in the Arctic Ocean inject siginificant quantities of methane, a powerful global warming gas, into the water column, reports a new paper out today. Furthermore, the research reveals that storms cause this methane to escape into the atmosphere where it can potentially contribute to climate change.

International media coverage

The Guardian

  • Arctic thawing could cost the world $60tn, scientists say
    Rapid thawing of the Arctic could trigger a catastrophic "economic timebomb" which would cost trillions of dollars and undermine the global financial system, say a group of economists and polar scientists.

  • Ice free Arctic in two years heralds methane catastrophe - scientist
    A new paper in the journal Nature argues that the release of a 50 Gigatonne (Gt) methane pulse from thawing Arctic permafrost could destabilise the climate system and trigger costs as high as the value of the entire world's GDP. The East Siberian Arctic Shelf's (ESAS) reservoir of methane gas hydrates could be released slowly over 50 years or "catastrophically fast" in a matter of decades - if not even one decade - the researchers said.

  • Arctic methane catastrophe scenario is based on new empirical observations
    Last week, the journal Nature published a new paper warning of a $60 trillion price tag for a potential 50 Gigatonne methane pulse from the East Siberian Arctic Shelf (ESAS) over 10-50 years this century. The paper, however, prompted many to suggest that its core scenario - as Arctic permafrost thaws it could increasingly unleash dangerous quantities of methane from sub-ice methane hydrates in as quick as a decade - is implausible.

  • Seven facts you need to know about the Arctic methane timebomb
    Debate over the plausibility of a catastrophic release of methane in coming decades due to thawing Arctic permafrost has escalated after a new Nature paper warned that exactly this scenario could trigger costs equivalent to the annual GDP of the global economy.

Financial Times

  • Scientists warn on Arctic ‘economic time bomb'
    The rapidly melting Arctic is an “economic time bomb” likely to cost the world at least $60tn, say researchers who have started to calculate the financial consequences of one of the world’s fastest changing climates.

  • Arctic sea ice melting faster than expected, UN report finds
    The Arctic’s summer sea ice is set to nearly vanish in less than 40 years, according to the final draft of a sweeping UN climate change report that sharply revises past estimates of how fast the icy north is melting.


  • Climate sticker shock: Arctic thaw could cost $60 trillion
    That's trillion, with a "T," a figure rivaling the entire globe's economic output in 2012. And it's a tab that's far more likely to be paid by people living in the latitudes far below the Arctic Circle, said Gail Whiteman, a researcher at Erasmus University in the Netherlands. The developing nations of Asia and Africa face more risk of bigger storms, worse flooding and more intense droughts, she said.


The Independent

  • Methane gas can dramatically change the global climate
    Methane gas is one of the wildest of wild cards in the game of trying to assess future climate change. But among the many uncertainties, scientists know two things for sure: there is a vast amount of methane stored in the Arctic region, and if it were to be suddenly released into the atmosphere, it could dramatically change the global climate.

  • Methane meltdown: The Arctic timebomb that could cost us $60trn
    Release of gas trapped for thousands of years beneath frozen permafrost of Arctic is one of the most dangerous 'feedback' consequences of rapid warming

Huffington Post

  • Melting Arctic Ice Called 'Economic Time Bomb
    The rapidly melting Arctic is an “economic time bomb” that will cost $60 trillion or more over the next 10 years, say a group of European economic and science researchers.

  • Can We Stop the Clock on an Economic Time Bomb
    We've all done it. Putting something off because it doesn't seem like a priority is human nature. In the daily avalanche of to do lists, e-mails, and task juggling, it can take something drastic to grab our attention before we to decide to prioritise a problem.


Business Week


  • Scientists warn on Arctic ‘economic time bomb
    The rapidly melting Arctic is an "economic time bomb" likely to cost the world at least $60 trillion, say researchers who have started to calculate the financial consequences of one of the world's fastest changing climates.


  • Arctic Thawing Could Cost $60 Trillion
    Rapid warming of the Arctic could result in economic costs of $60 trillion – roughly the size of the entire world economy last year – according to a new analysis.


Audio: Arctic melt damage bill could hit $65 trillion: study


Business Insider


Yahoo Geekquinox



Toronto Telegraph

Canberra Times

The Sun




Response from Peter Wadhams, University of Cambridge to article in Washington Post, can be foundhere and here

Also see: "Arctic Methane Release Scenario May Be Very Misleading, Some Climate Scientists Argue", Huffington Post, 29 July, 2013

"Only cheaper ‘green’ fuels will force changes in energy use", Financial Times, July 29, 2013

Re: "Arctic methane forecast is far from implausible", Financial Times, August 1, 2013

CLIMATE REPORT: “Is the Unthinkable Now Possible?” With Chris Hope and Peter Wadhams

Tom Bowman talks with economist Chris Hope and oceanographer Peter Wadhams about how rapid changes in the Arctic could have devastating impacts on the rest of the world.

Listen HERE.


Press releases


"Climate science: Vast costs of Arctic change"
Methane released by melting permafrost will have global impacts that must be better modelled, say Gail Whiteman, Chris Hope and Peter Wadhams.


"Arctic methane release could cost economy $60 trillion: study"
A release of methane in the Arctic could speed the melting of sea ice and climate change with a cost to the global economy of up to $60 trillion over coming decades, according to a paper published in the journal Nature.

University of Cambridge

"Cost of Arctic methane release could be ‘size of global economy’ warn experts"

Erasmus University

"Cost of Arctic methane release could be ‘size of global economy’ warn experts"
“The global impact of a warming Arctic is an economic time-bomb”, says Gail Whiteman, Professor of sustainability, management and climate change at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM).

“The global impact of a warming Arctic is an economic time-bomb”, says Gail Whiteman, Professor of sustainability, management and climate change at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM). - See more at: www.rsm.nl/about-rsm/news/detail/2992-cost-of-arctic-methane-release-could-be-size-of-global-economy-warn-experts/

 "Enorme kostenpost door vrijkomen methaan Noordpool"
Het vrijkomen van methaan door het krimpen van het zeeijs op de Noordpool kost wereldwijd al snel zestig biljoen dollar, bijna de omvang van de wereldeconomie in 2012. Die berekening maken onderzoekers aan Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) en Universiteit van Cambridge deze week in een baanbrekend Commentaar (Comment) in het vooraanstaande wetenschappelijk vakblad Nature.

Arctic Sea Ice Forum