...could a huge release of methane ever disrupt the planets ability to reproduce oxygen?
First some formulae... volume of sphere: V = (4/3)*pi*r^3 surface area of sphere: A = 4*pi*r^2 And one value which needs to be known... mean radius of earth in kilometers: 6370km Using these, we can easily calculate all of the values you wish. I will assume that by surface area, you want the surface area of the outer "shell" of that atmospheric layer. I will also assume that when you ask for the volume of an atmospheric layer, you want the volume of the layer itself, and not the volume of the entire Earth and its lower layers, plus that layer. To find that, we simply find the inner volume (Vi) of the Earth plus all the lower layers, and subtract this from the total outer volume (Vo). ----Troposphere, 15km A = 4pi(6370km+15km)^2 = 4pi(6385km)^2= 5.12x10^8km^2 (512 million square kilometers) Vo (troposphere) = (4/3)pi(6370km+15km)^3 = (4/3)pi(2.603x10^11)km^3= 1.09x10^12km^3 Vi (Earth) = (4/3)pi(6370km)^3 = (4/3)pi(2.585x10^11)km^3= 1.083x10^12 km^3 Vo-Vi (troposphere-Earth) = 7.67x10^9km^3 (7.67 billion cubic kilometers)
Originally posted by CaticusMaximus
reply to post by Vitchilo
Methane requires the presence of oxygen to burn, though. That puts a crimp in the "burn it" strategy, as once it reaches the surface, its already to diffuse to ignite, and it doesnt come from just one small hole or something, so piping it would be nigh impossible. A lot of the methane actually dissipates into the ocean as it rises, lowering oceanic oxygen levels. Thats one theory behind some major marine extinction events of the past.
Originally posted by ProudBird
reply to post by NoHierarchy
Or maybe.....just a natural process of the Earth's long-term climate?
Yeah, some might be due to human activity, but there is a great deal of science that shows the effects of Global Climate variations, long before Humans were a dominant technological species.
Don't get me wrong, I am ALL FOR investigation into Human activities and possible influences on our environment....gosh knows we are doing that, and HAVE done that, in "spades".
Just think about it ("climate alteration") in terms of spans of years that exceed the normal lifespans of people.
We must NOT "over-react" just yet. Much still to be learned....and as I've mentioned elsewhere.....it is usually a centuries-long process anyhow.
I have "faith" in only one thing.....technology, and Human inventiveness to achieve, through technology, its goals.
There are a number of bacteria that are involved in the process of anaerobic digestion including acetic acid-forming bacteria (acetogens) and methane-forming bacteria (methanogens). These bacteria feed upon the initial feedstock, which undergoes a number of different processes converting it to intermediate molecules including sugars, hydrogen & acetic acid before finally being converted to biogas. ...
The biological process of acidogenesis is where there is further breakdown of the remaining components by acidogenic (fermentative) bacteria. Here VFAs are created along with ammonia, carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide as well as other by-products. The process of acidogenesis is similar to the way that milk sours.
Meanwhile the sulfate-reducers would have pumped out a second gas, which for them is a waste gas: hydrogen sulfide (H¸2S), toxic both to marine organisms and those along affected coasts. The toxicity of hydrogen sulfide, in fact, is comparable to that of hydrogen cyanide (HCN), which is used in gas chambers. This toxicity is due to hydrogen sulfide's ability to combine with the iron found in numerous organic molecules, such as hemoglobin. Even the sulfate-reducers themselves are vulnerable to hydrogen sulfide poisoning, though the hydrogen sulfide gas typically combines rapidly with iron ions found in seawater, producing an insoluble black (iron sulfide) residue which colors the nearby sediments (Brock and Madigan, 1988, p. 578)....
In December of 2003, more than two hundred Chinese perished and some ten thousand needed medical assistance from a release of hydrogen sulfide triggered by an explosion at a natural gas field. An area some 25 square kilometers (10 square miles) in extent was affected.
The Chinese deaths point up one important characteristic of hydrogen sulfide: it is heavier than air...
Hydrogen sulfide may have played a major role in the end-Permian extinction...
In addition, however, the hydrogen sulfide may have breached its marine confinement and escaped into the atmosphere (Kump, 2005)