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Under certain pressure and temperature conditions gas molecules such as methane can crystallize with water molecules to an ice-like structure, so-called methane hydrates. At the MARUM institute in Bremen, scientists are working toward a better understanding of the role of methane hydrates for the deep-sea ecosystems, the global carbon cycle, and the stability of continental slopes. Methane hydrates have received special attention because the energy stored in them may be used by people in the future.
This week in Science, another team reports seeing the same thing during thousands of observations of the East Siberian Arctic Shelf on Russia’s north coast, which is even more worrisome because it’s a huge methane deposit.
The shelf, which covers about 800,000 square miles, was exposed during the last ice age. When the region was above sea level, tundra vegetation pulled carbon dioxide from the air as plants grew. That organic material, much of which didn’t decompose in the frigid Arctic, accumulated in the soil and is the source of modern methane [Science News]. Now underwater, it’s covered by a layer of permafrost. But that permafrost seems to be becoming unstable, thanks to the fact that the water on top of it is warmer than the air it was exposed to back when it was on dry land.
The study said about 8 million tonnes of methane a year, equivalent to the annual total previously estimated from all of the world’s oceans, were seeping from vast stores long trapped under permafrost
A tremendous release of methane gas frozen beneath the sea floor heated the Earth by up to 13 degrees Fahrenheit (7 degrees Celsius) 55 million years ago, a new NASA study confirms.
According to www.scientificamerican.com, with the rate of the oceans constant warming, oceans are releasing around 33 million tons of methane each year; and apparently this isn't the first time the Earth has seen such a rise in methane release. At an estimate of 16,000 years ago, the Earth felt the same peak of warming levels and global temperatures. www.sciencedaily.com also points out that scientists have data proving a huge methane release on a global scale that occurred around 600 million years ago.
Methane: Methane Methane Methane!
Originally posted by Megiddodiddo
Score = possitive methane effects 1 negative methane effects 1
"..and what's really scary now is that some Scientists are starting to voice concerns over the Methane being at levels That will kill millions of people. So this is no longer just an oil spill, this is a deathly hazard"