posted on Feb, 28 2015 @ 12:20 PM
Termites also contain methanogenic microorganisms in their gut. However, some of these microorganisms are so unique that they live nowhere else in
the world except in the third gut of termites. These microorganisms also break down biotic components to produce ethanol, as well as methane
byproduct. However, unlike ruminants who lose 20 percent of the energy from the plants they eat, termites only lose 2 percent of their energy in the
process. Thus comparatively, termites do not have to eat as much food as ruminants to obtain the same amount of energy, and give off proportionally
Living plants (e.g. forests) have recently been identified as a potentially important source of methane, possibly being responsible for approximately
10 to 30 percent of atmospheric methane. A 2006 paper calculated emissions of 62–236 Tg a−1, and "this newly identified source may have important
implications." However the authors stress "our findings are preliminary with regard to the methane emission strength."
These findings have been called into question in a 2007 paper which found "there is no evidence for substantial aerobic methane emission by
terrestrial plants, maximally 0.3% of the previously published values."
While the details of plant methane emissions have yet to be confirmed, plants as a significant methane source would help fill in the gaps of previous
global methane budgets as well as explain large plumes of methane that have been observed over the tropics.
In wetlands, where rate of methane production are high, plants help methane travel into the atmosphere—acting like inverted lightning rods as they
direct the gas up through the soil and into the air. They are also suspected to produce methane themselves, but because the plants would have to use
aerobic conditions to produce methane, the process itself is still unidentified.
Methane gas from methane clathrates
At high pressures, such as are found on the bottom of the ocean, methane forms a solid clathrate with water, known as methane hydrate. An unknown, but
possibly very large quantity of methane is trapped in this form in ocean sediments. The release of large volumes of methane gas from such sediments
into the atmosphere has been suggested as a possible cause for rapid global warming events in the Earth's distant past, such as the
Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum of 55 million years ago, and the Great Dying.
Theories suggest that should global warming cause them to heat up sufficiently, all of this methane gas could again be released into the atmosphere.
Since methane gas is twenty-five times stronger (for a given weight, averaged over 100 years) than CO2 as a greenhouse gas; this would immensely
magnify the greenhouse effect.
Methane that gets frozen in permafrost – land that is frozen for several years at a time – is slowly released from bogs as the permafrost melts.
With rising global temperatures, the amount of permafrost melting and releasing methane continues to increase.
Although records of permafrost are limited, recent years (1999 to 2007) have seen record thawing of permafrost in Alaska and Siberia. Recent
measurements in Siberia show that the methane released is five times greater than previously estimated. Melting yedoma, a type of permafrost, is a
significant source of atmospheric methane (about 4 Tg of CH4 per year).
Studies have shown that there may have been some sudden and drastic climate changes in the past that may have happened over a period of decades.
Scientists know about this possibility by studying ice core records from Greenland and the pollen records from Europe. There was an inter-glacial
period that ended about 110,000 years ago with a sudden cooling event, and since then, there are a large number of other events that are
This is something that is quite disturbing to think about when you consider that these past events occurred naturally, without help from humans, and
now this time, we may be putting the match to the gas with all of our methane emissions from agriculture, oil and gas refining and other sources.
These past events occurred over just two or three decades in a natural process, probably from volcanic activity.
It is also believed that the Younger Hydras-to-Holocene period about 11,000 years ago was a time of great warming that only took a few decades marked
by a few sudden steps each taking about five years.
According to an article in Science Magazine, it is believed that over half of this 30 year period (about 15 years) is marked by a rapid global rise in
methane production at the same time suggesting, “the warming and moistening of climate (causing more methane output from swamps and other biotic
sources) was a globally synchronized change, with the water vapor content of the atmosphere as the most likely 'messenger' in this transition, by
virtue of its effect as a greenhouse gas.”
The ice core records show that normal temperatures that we currently know weren’t reached for an additional 1,500 years following the Younger Dryas,
or about 10,000 years ago. Temperatures remained a bit cooler than they are now. The Younger Dryas was most likely an extinction level event wiping
out most human civilization, especially in Europe. Some humans probably survived this time near warmer coastal areas where the oceans were a
moderating factor. It is believed that this time period was also the end of the Paleolithic culture (Cro-Magnon/Magdalenian.)
We may be heading into another Younger Dryas period when you pay attention to the alarmingly rapid increase of the methane we are now witness to. This
period only took up to 30 years and we’ve most certainly been in the first stages for at least seven years now since the rapid rise of methane began
in unison around the planet in 2007.