Henry Patton (left), Anna Silyakova and Christine Lockwood-Ireland make their way back to the ice pack in the Greenland Sea. Anna Silyakova was collecting ice cores from the sea ice to investigate methane-associated processes within, when the group was interrupted by a passing polar bear. They had to quickly abandon station and return to the safety of the research vessel Kronprins Haakon.
Methane is a greenhouse gas, and as it rises through the water column it gets captured within the sea-ice structure during ice formation. Although ice typically behaves as a barrier for gases to go through, sea-ice is often permeable and a great mediator of gas exchange in polar regions. Being porous, sea-ice provides paths for gases like methane to pass from the ocean surface to the atmosphere where it can make an impact on climate. So, after a polar bear break the scientists returned to the ice pack, albeit cautiously, and collected more samples.