The methane bomb

Discussion in 'Environment' started by Chris, Mar 6, 2010.

  1. Chris
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    Chris Gold Member

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    Huge quantities of methane below the Arctic seabed are showing signs of destabilising, according to research conducted in the East Siberian Sea.

    Scientists aboard Russian icebreakers have discovered that methane is leaking from the sub-sea permafrost far faster than had been previously estimated, raising concerns that climatic tipping points may have been reached.

    As a greenhouse gas, methane is 25 times more powerful than carbon dioxide but emissions from subsea permafrost are not included in climate change prediction models.

    “The sub-sea permafrost should act as a cap or seal, preventing leakage,” Natalia Shakhova, of the University of Alaska, told The Times. “Beneath it there is methane that has accumulated at high pressure. But the permafrost is losing its ability to be an impermeable cap.”

    After water vapour and carbon dioxide, methane is the most significant of the gases that cause the atmosphere to retain heat. Levels have doubled since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution but 40 per cent of sources are natural, resulting from the decomposition of organic material in wetlands and other areas.

    The permafrost that covers vast tracts of land in the far North is thawing, steadily adding methane to the atmosphere. The Arctic has warmed at about twice the rate of the rest of the planet. Climate scientists are concerned that as rising temperatures melt more permafrost, the added methane will raise temperatures further and so cause a wider thaw.

    Methane frozen beneath Arctic seabed destabilising, scientists warn - Times Online
     
  2. del
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    del BANNED

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    from the thread title, i thought you'd acquired some self awareness.
     
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  3. Big Black Dog
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    Big Black Dog Gold Member Supporting Member

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    This thread is a bomb...
     
  4. Old Rocks
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    Old Rocks Diamond Member

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    The amount of methane stored beneath the Arctic is calculated to be greater than the total amount of carbon locked up in global coal reserves so there is intense interest in the stability of these deposits as the region warms at a faster rate than other places on earth.

    Orjan Gustafsson of Stockholm University in Sweden, one of the leaders of the expedition, described the scale of the methane emissions in an email exchange sent from the Russian research ship Jacob Smirnitskyi.

    "We had a hectic finishing of the sampling programme yesterday and this past night," said Dr Gustafsson. "An extensive area of intense methane release was found. At earlier sites we had found elevated levels of dissolved methane. Yesterday, for the first time, we documented a field where the release was so intense that the methane did not have time to dissolve into the seawater but was rising as methane bubbles to the sea surface. These 'methane chimneys' were documented on echo sounder and with seismic [instruments]."


    The methane clathrates are melting - Tech Support Forums - TechIMO.com
    At some locations, methane concentrations reached 100 times background levels. These anomalies have been seen in the East Siberian Sea and the Laptev Sea, covering several tens of thousands of square kilometres, amounting to millions of tons of methane, said Dr Gustafsson. "This may be of the same magnitude as presently estimated from the global ocean," he said. "Nobody knows how many more such areas exist on the extensive East Siberian continental shelves.
     
  5. RadiomanATL
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    RadiomanATL Senior Member

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    Sorry 'bout that.

    Like I said, too much Mexican for lunch.
     
  6. Barb
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    Barb Carpe Scrotum

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    From Chris:
    This is nothing but the truth.

    Methane frozen beneath Arctic seabed destabilising, scientists warn - Times Online

    Funny stuff, huh? The abyssal regions of the world's oceans sequester immense amounts of methane, and methane is a huge concern regarding global climate change. We're old, it doesn't much matter to us does it? What happened though, to the idea of leaving the world better than we found it? Become quaint, did it? Ho hum, and all that, SOME of the kids will live?
     
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