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A Closer Look at the Russian Arctic Vent

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posted on Apr, 1 2015 @ 11:18 AM
This chapter of the Fever Rising series takes a look at the East Siberian Arctic Shelf where there are many plumes of methane gas releasing. To look back at the first 28 chapters, check the last thread and there are links back to all the previous chapters. The Phenomenon of Eagle Alaska

Chapter 29: A Closer Look at the Russian Arctic Vent

One of the most disturbing trends cropping up in the world today is the massive release of methane gas in the East Siberian Arctic Shelf. A research team, led by Igor Semiletov of the Russian Academy of Sciences, has been studying the Arctic shelf off the coast of Siberia for decades. In the past he stated that they had found methane bubbles off the seabed that were in the tens of diameters, but in 2010, they had discovered massive bubbles a kilometer in size. He found hundreds of them over a 10,000 square kilometer area, but estimated that there were more likely hundreds of thousands of them stretching across the East Siberian Arctic coast, which is more than 2 million square miles.

"Earlier we found torch-like structures like this but they were only tens of metres in diameter. This is the first time that we've found continuous, powerful and impressive seeping structures more than 1,000 metres in diameter. It's amazing," Dr Semiletov said. The doctor went on to say that he was impressed with the sheer size and high density of the plumes.

These ‘torch-like structures’ are massive continuous seeps of methane gas from frozen clathrates under the sea floor of the Arctic Ocean. As the waters warm, the frozen methane deposits melt, thus, releasing from their ancient resting places where they have been stored for thousands of years. These plumes go directly into the atmosphere where they affect climate change at a rate 20 times that of carbon dioxide. Methane molecules are 70 times more effective at trapping the sun’s heat than a CO2 molecule, but luckily, methane molecules break down in the atmosphere at a much faster rate, so scientists estimate that it’s actually 20 times more potent.

The Arctic region is already one of the fastest warming places on earth. As I’ve shown several times in this book, the jet stream is carrying warm ocean air considerably north over Arctic regions, which include the East Siberian shelf and Alaska over the North Pacific, and Greenland over the North Atlantic. Both regions are suffering from an alarming rate of permafrost melt. If the pattern continues, what we should fear the most can ultimately happen, the trapped frozen methane could suddenly melt and release, causing disastrous climate change.

If this were too happen, the damage would be irreversible and life on this planet as we know it would cease to exist. We would cross a tipping point that would lead to an explosive world around us with fireballs of toxic gas erupting unpredictably, seismic and volcanic activity surging and human and animal die-offs on a scale beyond comprehension. The world beneath our feet would literally become unstable with earth crustal movement in the form of massive sinkholes, landslides and cracks. The soaring heat and atmospheric moisture would create a world where bacteria would thrive, causing known diseases to flourish and new life-threatening ones to emerge.

Most of the information for this chapter came from a 2011 article in the Independent. Here is a small part of the article with some additional information.

Vast methane 'plumes' seen in Arctic ocean as sea ice retreats
From, Dec. 13, 2011
By Steve Connor

Natalia Shakhova, a colleague at the International Arctic Research Centre at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, said that the Arctic is becoming a major source of atmospheric methane and the concentrations of the powerful greenhouse gas have risen dramatically since pre-industrial times, largely due to agriculture.

However, with the melting of Arctic sea ice and permafrost, the huge stores of methane that have been locked away underground for many thousands of years might be released over a relatively short period of time, Dr Shakhova said.

"I am concerned about this process, I am really concerned. But no-one can tell the timescale of catastrophic releases. There is a probability of future massive releases might occur within the decadal scale, but to be more accurate about how high that probability is, we just don't know," Dr Shakova said.

"Methane released from the Arctic shelf deposits contributes to global increase and the best evidence for that is the higher concentration of atmospheric methane above the Arctic Ocean," she said.

"The concentration of atmospheric methane increased unto three times in the past two centuries from 0.7 parts per million to 1.7ppm, and in the Arctic to 1.9ppm. That's a huge increase, between two and three times, and this has never happened in the history of the planet," she added.

The Siberian Arctic vents may be releasing 17 million tons of methane gas into the atmosphere each year. Previously, it was commonly held that the nearby Siberian wetlands were the primary source of methane release in the Northern Hemisphere, but now the Arctic vents may be. Put them together and it is no wonder that the Arctic region has the fastest warming temperatures on the planet. The warmer air temperatures are now contributing to rapidly warming temperatures of the deep sea water. This is like having your finger on the trigger and squeezing just enough to add some tension on the firing pin. If we squeeze much harder, we could fire the Clathrate Gun. We’re playing Russian roulette with climate change and the climate change deniers won’t understand that until the gun goes off.

It isn’t just the sea floor hydrates that should concern us. The Siberian permafrost is also melting at unprecedented levels. A study was performed from 2003 through 2007 and researchers discovered that methane escaping from under the permafrost increased 31% over the five years of the study. According to a 2010 article in the Guardian, “The discovery follows a string of reports from the region in recent years that previously frozen boggy soils are melting and releasing methane in greater quantities. Such Arctic soils currently lock away billions of tons of methane leading some scientists to describe melting permafrost as a ticking time bomb that could overwhelm efforts to tackle climate change.”

According to the study, scientists believe that it only takes a small increase in temperature to cause a large release of methane gas. The Siberian wetlands were only a small part of the global methane emissions, until recently.

I will conclude this chapter with some eye-opening information from the Guardian article.


posted on Apr, 1 2015 @ 11:19 AM
Arctic permafrost leaking methane at record levels, figures show
The Guardian, Jan. 24, 2010
By David Adam
Global warming is occurring twice as fast in the Arctic than anywhere else on Earth. Some regions have already warmed by 2.5C, and temperatures there are projected to increase by more than 10C by 2100 if carbon emissions continue to rise at current rates.

Palmer said: "This study does not show the Arctic has passed a tipping point, but it should open people's eyes. It shows there is a positive feedback and that higher temperatures bring higher emissions and faster warming."

The change in the Arctic is enough to explain a recent increase in global methane levels in the atmosphere, he said. Global levels have risen steadily since 2007, after a decade or so holding steady.

According to the article, methane emissions from the Arctic increased by 31% from 2003-07. The increase represents about 1m extra tons of methane each year.

Their study also showed that just over half of all methane emissions came from the tropics, with some 20 million tons released from the Amazon river basin each year, and 26 million tons from the Congo basin. Rice paddy fields across China and south and south-east Asia produced just under one-third of global methane emissions, some 33 million tons.

Just 2% of global methane comes from the Arctic. Although, the region showed the largest increases over that five-year study. The 31% increase was enough to cause a 7% increase in the global average.

Keep in mind that these studies were performed seven years ago and that its figures may be off some at this point with methane emissions increasing in certain areas, such as in the Arctic regions. In the study, they stated that only 2% of global emissions came from the Arctic, but those numbers are sure to be higher in 2014.

What I found most interesting is that these researchers believe that it was the Arctic release of methane that started the world wide methane increase in 2007. The same increase I have been referring to numerous times throughout this book. Methane release leveled off in the late 1990’s until 2007, when it drastically started releasing throughout both hemispheres. They discovered that methane increased 31% in the Arctic region over five years, up to 2007, at which time methane began releasing across the globe at unprecedented levels.

They may be right. The world wide release of methane may have been kick-started by Arctic release, but I’m not so sure simply because of what the MIT scientists claimed in their article that I printed in Chapter 4. They pointed out that methane began releasing in both hemispheres at the same time but according to them it should have taken a full year for emissions released in the Northern Hemisphere to reach the Southern Hemisphere. They stated that a vast majority of methane is produced in the Northern Hemisphere compared to the Southern Hemisphere, but the rising levels were recorded in both hemispheres at the same rate. That’s definitely something to ponder.

posted on Apr, 1 2015 @ 09:35 PM
Is it possible to just light it on fire and let it burn off? Or is that worse than letting it vent?

posted on Apr, 1 2015 @ 11:03 PM
a reply to: Rezlooper

For goodness sake, we NEED to mine this stuff now!

posted on Apr, 3 2015 @ 07:55 AM
a reply to: NiZZiM

It would convert to CO2, so not worse because CO2 is much less effective at trapping heat.

posted on Apr, 3 2015 @ 07:57 AM
a reply to: chr0naut

The Japanese say they are doing it already off their coasts. But, you have to wonder just how much fugitive gas is escaping, just like with fracking. Up to 9% of the gas from below is escaping into the atmosphere rather than being captured. And there's also the risk of a major escape. Not sure what's worse, to mine it and take our chances or sit back and do nothing.

posted on Apr, 3 2015 @ 08:15 AM

originally posted by: NiZZiM
Is it possible to just light it on fire and let it burn off? Or is that worse than letting it vent?

When you burn methane, it combines with oxygen CH4 + 2O2 ==> CO2 + 2H2O

Carbon dioxide and water vapor. Both are AGW components in the atmosphere.

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