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Daily News Analysis


24th June, 2024 Geography


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Picture Courtesy:  https://www.indiatoday.in/environment/story/nord-stream-pipeline-leak-methane-released-in-baltic-sea-remains-in-water-2555684-2024-06-20

Context: The Nord Stream pipeline incident in September 2022 led to one of the largest unintentional releases of methane ever recorded, with significant environmental implications for the Baltic Sea region.

Key Highlights of the study conducted by researchers from the University of Gothenburg

  • Magnitude of Methane Release: The explosions along Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines resulted in the release of methane gas into the Baltic Sea. While some methane reached the surface, forming visible plumes, a substantial amount dissolved into the seawater.
  • Amount Dissolved: The study estimated that between 10,000 to 50,000 tonnes of methane remained dissolved in the Baltic Sea waters. This dissolved methane is a concern due to its potent greenhouse gas effects, contributing significantly to climate change.
  • Environmental Impact: High levels of bacterial activity observed in follow-up expeditions suggested that microbes were actively breaking down the dissolved methane. However, the long-term impacts on marine life, particularly phytoplankton and zooplankton, are still uncertain and require further investigation.
  • Climate Impact: Even though methane was released in large quantities, the stable stratification of the Baltic Sea water prevented major mixing. This stability means that dissolved methane could persist in the water for extended periods, potentially decades, before slowly diffusing into the atmosphere and contributing to greenhouse gas effects.
  • Implications for Monitoring: The study highlights the importance of long-term monitoring and modelling of dissolved methane reservoirs in oceans. Understanding these reservoirs is crucial for assessing their climate impacts and developing strategies to mitigate future incidents.

Baltic Sea

  • The Baltic Sea is a significant body of water in Northern Europe.
  • It is a semi-enclosed inland sea extending from the latitude of southern Denmark to near the Arctic Circle.
  • The sea separates the Scandinavian Peninsula from continental Europe.
  • It is bordered by several countries: Sweden, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Finland, Estonia, Germany, Denmark, and Russia.
  • The sea contains three major gulfs:
    • Gulf of Bothnia to the north.
    • Gulf of Finland to the east.
    • The Gulf of Riga slightly to the south of the Gulf of Finland.
  • The Baltic Sea is connected to the White Sea via the White Sea Canal and to the North Sea’s German Bight through the Kiel Canal. It also connects to the Atlantic Ocean through the Danish Straits.
  • The Baltic Sea is renowned as the world’s largest brackish inland water body.
  • Its salinity levels are lower than those of the world's oceans due to a significant inflow of fresh water from surrounding lands and its relatively shallow nature.
  • The Neva River is the largest river that drains into the Baltic Sea, flowing through Russia.


India Today



Q. Which of the following bodies of water is NOT directly connected to the Baltic Sea?

A) North Sea

B) Barents Sea

C) Kattegat Sea

D) Gulf of Finland

Answer:  B