FAIRBANKS, Alaska (CBS Seattle) – Researchers at the University of Alaska are warning of a methane burp in the Arctic that could potentially cost the world an estimated $60 trillion.

A recent analysis of the cost of Arctic melting helped the team of researchers calculate the whopping price tag of the possible geological event, reportedly amounting to as much as an entire year of Earth’s gross domestic product, in addition to causing what they described as a “climate catastrophe.”

According to the website New Scientist, Igor Semiletov and Natalia Shakhova of the University of Alaska at Fairbanks have found that the release of trapped greenhouse gases also could allegedly move forward the globally degenerative effects of global warming by approximately 35 years.

Semiletov and Shakhova found that 50 billion tons of the methane gas could be released inside of a decade, causing a 1.3-degree rise in global temperatures and increasing Earth’s methane content by as much as 12 times, New Scientist learned.

Reuters is reporting that human health and crop output estimates could additionally be affected by the release.

Gail Whiteman, an author of another report on the matter and a professor at Erasmus University, said that “the global impact of a warming Arctic is an economic time-bomb.”

In a study recently published in the journal Nature and obtained by Reuters, Whiteman and other researchers from both Erasmus University and the University of Cambridge also noted that the gas, if released into the atmosphere, could “speed up sea-ice retreat, reduce the reflection of solar energy and accelerate the melting of the Greenland ice sheet.”

The duo at the University of Alaska warned that the potentially catastrophic burp was unpredictable in nature.

“[The release is] highly possible at any time,” Shakhova was quoted as saying by New Scientist.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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