One of the great risks that the world faces with AGW is the very real possibility that human caused warming could cause feedbacks that would accelerate the process of warming/climate change and take it beyond any possible human control or mitigation. One such feedback would be the destabilization of undersea methane clathrates that would release enormous quantities of methane, which, being an even more powerful greenhouse gas (24x) than carbon dioxide, would cause accelerated warming which would then cause even more methane to be released, causing even more warming, and so on, and so on. There have already been indications that some methane is already being released from different places in the Arctic but now there is some research indicating that changes in the Gulf Stream Current are already causing some of the methane clathrate deposits to begin to destabilize along the Atlantic coastline. Climate-changing methane 'rapidly destabilizing' off East Coast, study finds NBC News By Miguel Llanos, NBC News Oct 24, 2012 (excerpts) A changing Gulf Stream off the East Coast has destabilized frozen methane deposits trapped under nearly 4,000 square miles of seafloor, scientists reported Wednesday. And since methane is even more potent than carbon dioxide as a global warming gas, the researchers said, any large-scale release could have significant climate impacts. Temperature changes in the Gulf Stream are "rapidly destabilizing methane hydrate along a broad swathe of the North American margin," the experts said in a study published Wednesday in the peer-reviewed journal Nature. Using seismic records and ocean models, the team estimated that 2.5 gigatonnes of frozen methane hydrate are being destabilized and could separate into methane gas and water. "It is unlikely that the western North Atlantic margin is the only area experiencing changing ocean currents," they noted. "Our estimate ... may therefore represent only a fraction of the methane hydrate currently destabilizing globally." The wider destabilization evidence, co-author Ben Phrampus told NBC News, includes data from the Arctic and Alaska's northern slope in the Beaufort Sea. And it's not just under the seafloor that methane has been locked up. Some Arctic land area are seeing permafrost thaw, which could release methane stored there as well. An expert who was not part of the study said it suggests that methane could become a bigger climate factor than carbon dioxide. "We may approach a turning point" from a warming driven by man-made carbon dioxide to a warming driven by methane, Jurgen Mienert, the geology department chair at Norway's University of Tromso, told NBC News. "The interactions between the warming Arctic Ocean and the potentially huge methane-ice reservoirs beneath the Arctic Ocean floor point towards increasing instability," he added.