UNITED NEWS INTERNATIONAL (UNI) — Bacteria living deep under the ice in Antarctica might be silently helping our planet.
A new study suggests subglacial bacteria eat a powerful greenhouse gas and stop it from entering the atmosphere.
Scientists found the bacteria after drilling half-a-mile into the West Antarctic Ice Sheet to reach an ancient, untouched lake.
Microbes living in the upper lake sediment reportedly consume methane locked in the ice and chemically convert it into energy.
In doing so, they stop the gas from eventually entering the atmosphere where it can trap heat and potentially cause planetary warming.
A full analysis was recently published in the journal, Nature Geoscience. Climate scientists worry that as ice sheets melt, a large reservoir of trapped methane will be released into the atmosphere.
But if this discovery is correct, it could mean the gas doesn’t pose so much of a threat; all thanks to humble bacteria.