Researchers at the University of Gothenburg found that the methane level near the gas pipeline leak was about a thousand times higher than normal, and scientists collected samples for further analysis.
The University of Gothenburg has organized a five-day scientific expedition into the northern stream accident zone. Gaseous methane is dissolved in water, but when it reaches the surface, it is re-activated into gas and released into the atmosphere. As long as the high level of methane in the Baltic Sea remains, it depends on currents and when the leakage stops.
Methane emissions were detected on 26 September and the gas has since continued to leak from the pipe into the water. According to Katarina Abrahamsson, the director of the study, it was important for scientists to reach the scene of the accident as soon as possible in order to assess the environmental effects. Within 54 hours, the research vessel took about 200 water samples.
Researchers have found that gas levels in the Baltic Sea fences have exceeded the norm more than a thousand times; in order to map the spread of methane, scientists have conducted the fence at 20 different locations between 9 and 18 km apart; unfortunately, it is not yet possible to make a complete picture, because because of the short time frame for the expedition, scientists have not been able to obtain permission from Denmark, so all research has been carried out only in Swedish territorial waters.
It is not yet clear what effect high levels of methane can have on marine life is added by scientists. For example, in water, there are bacteria that can oxidize gaseous methane to grow and reproduce. To draw the final conclusions, scientists plan to investigate the presence of different DNAs in water samples.