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Natural Forces at Work

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posted on Feb, 28 2015 @ 12:18 PM
Here is Chapter 10: Natural Forces at Work of my book, Fever Rising. The rest of the series to date can be found on these threads;

The Mystery of the Clintonville Booms
The Jumping Jack Flash Hypothesis
The Rise of Deadly Methane Gas
The Truth about Atmospheric Methane and it's Role in Global Warming
Methane and Fracking, part 1
Methane and Fracking, part 2
What is Hydrogen Sulfide?
Hydrogen Sulfide's Role in Global Warming

Chapter 10: Natural Forces at Work

At one time, about 3.5 billion years ago, there was more than 1,000 times the methane in the atmosphere as there is today. Most of this methane came from volcanic activity. It was during this time that the first life forms on earth appeared, ancient bacteria that added to the methane levels by converting hydrogen and carbon dioxide into methane and water.

It was much later that oxygen actually came into being a part of the atmosphere as photosynthetic organisms evolved. Without the oxygen, methane thrived by having a much longer life span and in a much higher concentration.

Over time the methane levels decreased as more oxygen increased. There is naturally more methane in the northern hemisphere from both natural sources and man-made because there is more land mass in the northern hemisphere where much of the methane is produced deep underground or in wet lands. The levels vary but are at their lowest in the late summer due to removal by the hydroxyl radical.

Over the course of hundreds of thousands of years, methane levels are naturally checked and kept in balance because of the reaction of the gas with the hydroxyl radicals formed from singlet oxygen atoms and water vapor. Methane is created near the surface of the planet and is carried into the stratosphere by rising air in the tropics where it reacts with the hydroxyl radical.

420,000 years of ice core data from Votosk, Antarctica research station. Current period is at left. From top to bottom
● Levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) ● Relative temperature
● Levels of methane (CH4) ● O isotope of oxygen
● Solar variation at 65˚N due to en:Milankovitch cycles (connected to O)

This natural regulation is currently being unchecked by human influence. Take for example that more methane is being produced by vast wetlands in Canada, Russia and the Arctic than has been the natural production which in turn creates more global warming due to the higher methane levels. The methane produced in these wetlands comes from naturally occurring bacteria. Why are the bacteria producing more methane than usual? It’s because the temperatures are rising. It’s turning into a vicious cycle. Higher temperatures make the bacteria more efficient at creating the methane while the more methane created causes the temperatures to raise.

This diagram below shows the flow of methane from sources in the atmosphere as well as the sinks that consume methane and some information about the diagram follows.

Global Methane Cycle
From Wikipedia

A. Permafrost, glaciers, and ice cores – A source that slowly releases methane trapped in frozen environments as global temperatures rise.
B. Wetlands – Warm temperatures and moist environments are ideal for methane production. Most of the methane makes it past methane-consuming microorganisms.
C. Forest fire – Mass burning of organic matter releases huge amounts of methane into the atmosphere.
D. Rice paddies – The warmer and moister the rice field, the more methane is produced.
E. Animals – Microorganisms breaking down difficult to digest material in the guts of ruminant livestock and termites produce methane that is then released during defecation.
F. Plants – While methane can be consumed in soil before being released into the atmosphere, plants allow for direct travel of methane up through the roots and leaves and into the atmosphere. Plants may also be direct producers of methane.
G. Landfills – Decaying organic matter and anaerobic conditions cause landfills to be a significant source of methane.
H. Waste water treatment facilities – Anaerobic treatment of organic compounds in the water results in the production of methane.
I. Hydroxyl radical – OH in the atmosphere is the largest sink for atmospheric methane as well as one of the most significant sources of water vapor in the upper atmosphere.
J. Chlorine radical – Free chlorine in the atmosphere also reacts with methane.

There are many natural sources for methane, but the two main sources are the result of microorganisms anaerobically converting organic compounds into methane. This is known as methanogenesis. Fermentation occurs in anaerobic conditions due to the lack of oxidants.

These methanogens do their best work in warm moist conditions, such as soils. They also produce methane in the digestive tracts of animals, including humans. Here is an article from Wikipedia that describes the natural sources of methane.

Natural sources of atmospheric methane
From Wikipedia

Methanogens are methane producing microorganisms. In order to produce energy, they use an anaerobic process called methanogenesis. This process is used in lieu of aerobic, or with oxygen, processes because methanogens are unable to metabolise in the presence of even small concentrations of oxygen. When acetate is broken down in methanogenesis, the result is the release of methane into the surrounding environment.

Wetlands account for approximately 20 percent of atmospheric methane through emissions from soils and plants. Wetlands counteract the sinking action that normally occurs with soil because of the high water table. When the water table is low, the methane generated within the wetland soil has to come up through the soil and get past multitudes of methanotrophic bacteria. When the water table is higher, then the methane produced in the soil can more easily diffuse through the water and escape into the atmosphere.

Ruminant animals, particularly cows and sheep, contain bacteria in their gastrointestinal systems that help to break down plant material. Some of these microorganisms use the acetate from the plant material to produce methane, and because these bacteria live in the stomachs and intestines of ruminants, whenever the animal “burps” or defecates, it emits methane as well. The amount of methane emitted by one cow is equivalent to the amount of methane that 2.5 acres of methanotrophic bacteria can consume.


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 less methane.

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 documented.

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.

posted on Mar, 1 2015 @ 05:47 AM
Good post. Surprised there isn't any replies yet. S&F.

posted on Mar, 1 2015 @ 07:44 AM
a reply to: MichiganSwampBuck

Thanks. Yeah, I thought the same thing. I guess I should have said "Man made forces at work" and then I would have been pounded!

posted on Mar, 2 2015 @ 06:49 PM

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 documented.

the above quote makes me think of all the fuss about getting Ice core samples from both poles. It seems to me that no expense is spared for bases in the Arctic and Antarctic at this time.

I found this article and I have indeed already read something similar years ago but now it takes on a new meaning.

This was started back in the 70's but really I wonder what they were looking for?

Regards, Iwinder

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