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Barent Sea Methane Craters Mapped

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posted on Jun, 1 2017 @ 10:39 PM
First off where is Rezlooper when you need him?
For newer members he/she has done extensive posts on the dangers of Methane Gas releases as a driver of Climate Change.

Everyone is fairly aware that the arctic regions hold massive amounts of unreleased methane gas which takes much less amounts than carbon dioxide to trap heat. Actually according to the article methane is 84 times more effective at trapping heat than carbon dioxide in the first decades after it's release. Yes, Decades! Aside from the large amounts held in land based permafrost, under the northern seas is also a vast amount that is largely ignored/hidden from view.

Karin Andreassen and her colleagues were funded through the Research Council of Norway with grant money earmarked for understanding methane release from the seafloor. It's well-known that methane bubbles up from the sediments under the ocean in the Arctic, Andreassen told Live Science, but these small seeps don't reach much higher than 650 feet (200 meters) into the water column above the ocean bottom. The gas dissolves back into the ocean water before it can reach the atmosphere.

Explosive methane eruptions might be much different. Andreassen and her team took the research vessel Helmer Hanssen to the Barents Sea off the northern coast of Norway. The researchers used a variety of techniques, such as collecting seafloor sediment samples. They also beamed acoustic and seismic signals to the ocean floor and subsurface and used the echoes to map the contours below.

The researchers discovered more than 100 giant craters, each up to 0.6 miles (1 kilometer) wide and nearly 100 feet (30 meters) deep, in an area of 170 square miles (440 square km). The scientists also discovered many previously undiscovered mounds, known as pingos. These pingos are lumps of methane hydrate, or methane gas frozen within a lattice of water molecules.

Now it appears to say the contribution of these methane releases are minimal but that's based on significant ocean ice coverage. As we know there has been less coverage of the northern oceans than there used to be. This discovery is recent, so I image there will be debate on just how this plays into what we already are learning about the methane pockets on the Russian Yamal Peninsula, and other arctic regions.

Best case scenario as the lack of sun spots ushers in a cold trend these releases "may" counteract the worst of the the proposed "mini-ice age" we're expecting. Or it could go the other way as Rezlooper has been concerned about, that it cascades into a chain of rapid methane releases much more than anyone could anticipate and throws us full into a rapidly drastic Global Warming.

Here's one of the previous threads by Rezlooper for those interested.

Here is a link to the original abstract "High-resolution 3D seismic investigation of giant seafloor craters in the Barents Sea".

While people are pounding Trump for pulling out of the Paris Accord we still don't understand the totality of whats all at play in our changing climate. JMO but more research needs to be done before anyone starts with definitive causes.

Importantly, Andreassen said similar blowouts could happen in the near future on account of climate change. Areas in front of retreating ice sheets in Greenland and West Antarctica could host underlying hydrocarbon reservoirs. These blowouts don’t happen very often, but their environmental impacts could be greater than the impacts of slow and gradual methane seepage, explained Andreassen. That said, it’s not clear if the abrupt and massive methane releases of the past reached the upper atmosphere.

“We have not documented that it could, yet,” she told Gizmodo.

More work is clearly needed to understand the nature and power of these historical blowouts, and to assess their environmental impacts. The finding also points to the need to further study the potential reserves of hydrocarbons beneath the ice sheets of West Antarctica and Greenland.

It’s important to point out that natural methane leaks aren’t exclusive to the Arctic. Last year, scientists mapped one of the longest active methane seeps on the planet—a strip extending from British Columbia to Northern California. Recent surveys have also documented hundreds of methane seeps along the Atlantic continental margin, and it’s assumed that thousands more could exist around the globe. Scientists are only starting to get a grip on how much methane is escaping from the bowels of the planet, and how it might be influencing our climate.

edit on 1-6-2017 by Caver78 because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 1 2017 @ 11:00 PM
Excellent thread! Have you study much about cronal holes? They may have a lot to do with the changes going on here at home. As well as throughout the solar system.

posted on Jun, 1 2017 @ 11:20 PM
a reply to: RogueWaterC1

Just a bare passing knowledge of coronal holes, sorry! I was more keeping track of the Arctic Oscillation's effects on changing ocean currents, messing up the Gulf Stream, and the methane craters in the Yamal peninsula of Russia. This new finding about Methane craters in the Barents sea probably plays into all this.

The coronal holes as best I understand it have multiple effects on our atmosphere that science is still discovering, plus our magnetic field is weakening and we don't totally understand that either. 640480e181.pdf
edit on 1-6-2017 by Caver78 because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 2 2017 @ 02:10 AM
a reply to: Caver78

I read about this on New Scientist yesterday - here. It's about time we got to read some positive news about the climate in the future.

They're saying we've got plenty to be concerned about, but methane releases are unlikely to be contributing factors. As it stands, we've got the highest levels of atmospheric methane in half a million years. It's more than doubled since the Industrial Age began (greater populations, more livestock, fewer wild herd animals, energy production etc). Climate scientists mark methane levels as significant factors in rising temperatures. These buried sinks of the gas won't be making things any worse.

I feel like waving a little flag.

posted on Jun, 4 2017 @ 09:06 AM
Methane sinks make a lot of sense when taken in context with our limited empirical data. I have stated for some time that, while I don't agree a warming trend has been absolutely proven to date, there are strong indications of recent warming. The amount is the true problem with absolute proof... our measurements are simply not sufficient to compensate for such a low signal-to-noise ratio with a high degree of confidence.

Methane, unlike carbon dioxide, is a very potent greenhouse gas. Like carbon dioxide, it also correlates strongly with the (inefficient) use of fossil fuels. In addition, sudden methane releases could easily be responsible for the mass die offs of fish and birds that were happening a few years back.

I believe, after perusing the article linked in the OP (and I reserve the right to adjust this opinion as more data is researched) that we may have discovered a limited positive feedback component. Such a component would cause the global target temperature to shift slightly. That's the bad news. The good news is that methane is temporary, slowly oxidizing in the atmosphere over time, and the amount available seems to be quite limited. Thus, we should see a slight warming trend toward a higher target temperature from higher methane release, but it would be limited and naturally reversible without extreme human intervention.

This is the pollution we should be focusing on.


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