Methane has been trapped in the sea floor in many arctic regions for thousands of years, captured in particles of ice with methane molecules locked inside. With the arctic oceans warming, this ice has begun to melt and release the stored methane. This contributes even more to global warming, because methane is a greenhouse gas even more potent than carbon dioxide. If this cycle is allowed to continue for too long, it could lead to an un-stoppable feedback loop that scientists have warned could create “runaway global warming.” This is just one of the reasons why it is so essential that we begin reducing worldwide greenhouse emissions immediately.
Methane hydrates described in the other answer are in sea-floor sediments far beyond the arctic regions. Most basins that generate hydrocarbons at all have methane hydrates in their sediments, including the Gulf of Mexico – it was release and re-freezing of methane hydrates that clogged one of the attempts at plugging the leaking BP well in summer 2010.
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