New study shows that oceans with worms and clams enhance the release of methane into the atmosphere up to eight times more than oceans without them
Scientists have shown that ocean clams and worms are releasing a significant amount of potentially harmful greenhouse gas into the atmosphere.
The team, from Cardiff University and Stockholm University, have shown that the ocean critters are producing large amounts of the strongest greenhouse gases – methane and nitrous oxides – from the bacteria in their guts.
Methane gas is making its way into the water and then finally out into the atmosphere, contributing to global warming – methane has 28 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide.
A detailed analysis showed that around 10 per cent of total methane emissions from the Baltic Sea may be due to clams and worms.
The researchers estimate that this is equivalent to as much methane given off as 20,000 dairy cows. This is as much as 10 per cent of the entire Welsh dairy cow population and 1 per cent of the entire UK dairy cow population.