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Climate-changing methane 'rapidly destabilizing' off East Coast, study finds...

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posted on Oct, 25 2012 @ 08:16 PM
A changing Gulf Stream off the East Coast has destabilized frozen methane deposits trapped under nearly 4,000 square miles of seafloor, scientists reported Wednesday. And since methane is even more potent than carbon dioxide as a global warming gas, the researchers said, any large-scale release could have significant climate impacts.

Temperature changes in the Gulf Stream are "rapidly destabilizing methane hydrate along a broad swathe of the North American margin," the experts said in a study published Wednesday in the peer-reviewed journal Nature.

Using seismic records and ocean models, the team estimated that 2.5 gigatonnes of frozen methane hydrate are being destabilized and could separate into methane gas and water.

It is not clear if that is happening yet, but that methane gas would have the potential to rise up through the ocean and into the atmosphere, where it would add to the greenhouse gases warming Earth.

The 2.5 gigatonnes isn't enough to trigger a sudden climate shift, but the team worries that other areas around the globe might be seeing a similar destabilization.

"It is unlikely that the western North Atlantic margin is the only area experiencing changing ocean currents," they noted. "Our estimate ... may therefore represent only a fraction of the methane hydrate currently destabilizing globally."

And it's not just under the seafloor that methane has been locked up. Some Arctic land area are seeing permafrost thaw, which could release methane stored there as well.

"We may approach a turning point" from a warming driven by man-made carbon dioxide to a warming driven by methane, Jurgen Mienert, the geology department chair at Norway's University of Tromso, told NBC News.

"The interactions between the warming Arctic Ocean and the potentially huge methane-ice reservoirs beneath the Arctic Ocean floor point towards increasing instability," he added.

One of the big unknowns is the magnitude of rapid methane escape from the ocean floor, and how natural filter systems react and affect the future ocean, its environment and the climate.

Another unknown is what caused the Gulf Stream changes.

Of course research to collect more data is needed....

"Multiple events can play a factor, such as changing sea level or an addition of cold/fresh water from the north," Phrampus said, adding he was hopeful that the changes might be "reversible under their own influence."
edit on 25-10-2012 by snarky412 because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 25 2012 @ 08:21 PM
Ah, the Global Warming Hoax arises again.

What is carbon good for? Plant Growth.

What is methane good for? Fertilizer for plant growth.

should we be so concerned by this?

Global warming stopped 16 years ago, reveals Met Office report quietly released...

Global Warming agenda

posted on Oct, 25 2012 @ 08:24 PM
reply to post by Northwarden

*clap* *clap*

Way to troll.

Let's not get carried away now. This article talks about METHANE, not Co2. Methane, if you've been paying attention, is far more destructive than Co2 in warming the planet.

posted on Oct, 25 2012 @ 08:25 PM
all the oil from bp had to end up somewhere lol

posted on Oct, 25 2012 @ 08:28 PM
First, it is worth noting that the study is based on a computer model.

How the Gulf Stream changes with time and what effect these changes have on methane hydrate stability is unclear. Here, using seismic data combined with thermal models, we show that recent changes in intermediate-depth ocean temperature associated with the Gulf Stream are rapidly destabilizing methane hydrate along a broad swathe of the North American margin.

Second, the changes in the Gulf Stream which their model suggests are not new.

Our analysis suggests that changes in Gulf Stream flow or temperature within the past 5,000 years or so are warming the western North Atlantic margin by up to eight degrees Celsius and are now triggering the destabilization of 2.5 gigatonnes of methane hydrate (about 0.2 per cent of that required to cause the PETM). This destabilization extends along hundreds of kilometres of the margin and may continue for centuries.

Interesting though. The ramifications are disturbing.

posted on Oct, 25 2012 @ 08:39 PM
reply to post by VaterOrlaag

It's far from trolling : if you follow the issues (and not saying you haven't), that's the summary from one side of the arguement and the side which I determine holds the truth of it. In a nutshell is fine, when the semantics of the entire fraud issue of carbon taxes takes a long explanation which has already been covered.

Every cow and human on the planet produces Methane as a waste by-product. Manure is used on fields to fertilize crops. Co2 is breathed out by every cow and human on the planet and assimilated by most of our plant-life to produce oxygen. So, is the cure to plant forests, or listen to thousands of payed-for scientists concoct multi-billion geo-engineering "cures"?

posted on Oct, 25 2012 @ 08:49 PM

Originally posted by Northwarden
Ah, the Global Warming Hoax arises again.

What is carbon good for? Plant Growth.

What is methane good for? Fertilizer for plant growth.

should we be so concerned by this?

Global warming stopped 16 years ago, reveals Met Office report quietly released...

Global Warming agenda

They tried to hide the earth's natural methane contribution, by blaming the release on AGW. This was all supposed to be taxed by our personal 'carbon footprint'. My guess is the news story is being touted to cover the butt of the frackers. They loose much more 'gas' into air space than they can capture.

bono, his 'father' al gore, and the breath-tax advocates such as sheryl toilet-paper crow have all disappeared, awaiting the next version of 'aids' to be invented before re-emerging back into the limelight. A lot of persons with feelings of low self esteem love stuff like AGW, 'aidshoax™' etc..... They can never get enough of it.

You should be glad, north warden. I am.
edit on 25-10-2012 by davidmann because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 25 2012 @ 09:00 PM
reply to post by Northwarden

It's not stating "Global Warming".....which I don't fall for Al Gores B.S.any way.

But climate change does happen and to me, there is a difference between the 2.

Mother Earth has always evolved and will continue to change and evolve....

I merely thought this article might be of some interest to some people, that's all, nothing more.

much respect

posted on Oct, 25 2012 @ 09:11 PM
Unfortunately, the first two meanings make it a little ambiguous on here, otherwise I might have had another train of thought. In the same spirit continuing, I think you meant the first?

AGW Anthropogenic Global Warming
AGW Anti-Global Warming
AGW Access Gateway
AGW Art Gallery of Windsor (Ontario, Canada)
AGW Accelerated Global Warming
AGW All Going Well
AGW Atmospheric Gravity Waves
AGW Actual Gold Weight
AGW A Girl's World (online magazine)
AGW Alt.Games.Warbirds (forum)
AGW Application Gateway (telecom)
AGW Actual Gross Weight
AGW Automatic Girth Welder
AGW Autonomous Guided Weapon
AGW Acoustic Gravity Wave
AGW Angelgeschäft Wehnemann (German angling equipment retailer)
AGW Anganwadi Worker (India)
AGW Allowable Gross Weight
AGW Accident Generated Water
AGW Andrée Gérard Wolff (French clothing retailer)
AGW Agendus for Windows (software)
AGW Art Gallery Worldwide

submit new definition

I think a topic brought up about climate change issues, and "as they affect us" should include a mention to the politics and therefore intents behind the issue. For that, I'd continue reading some in this recent article from the journal.

Is the global warming scare the greatest delusion in history?

By Christopher Booker

The scare over man-made global warming is not only the scientific scandal of our generation, but a suicidal flight from reality.

To grasp the almost suicidal state of unreality our Government has been driven into by the obsession with global warming, it is necessary to put together the two sides to an overall picture – each vividly highlighted by events of recent days.

On one hand there is the utterly lamentable state of the science which underpins it all, illuminated yet again by “Climategate 2.0”, the latest release of emails between the leading scientists who for years have been at the heart of the warming scare (which I return to below). On the other hand, we see the damage done by the political consequences of this scare, which will directly impinge, in various ways, on all our lives.
edit on 25-10-2012 by Northwarden because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 25 2012 @ 09:11 PM
reply to post by snarky412

Very possibly the cause of all the sink hole problems happening I think.

posted on Oct, 25 2012 @ 09:13 PM
reply to post by Phage

Possibly the effects from the BP oil spill plus the use of Corexit?

Just a thought...

posted on Oct, 25 2012 @ 09:31 PM
Sorry for what could have been deemed off-topic. This could be more productive! Food for thought anyway.

Industrial Uses

Methane, in the form of natural gas, is used in a variety of industries. It's a common fabric, plastic, anti-freeze and fertilizer ingredient. Industrial natural gas consumers include companies that make pulp and paper. Food processors, petroleum refineries and companies that work with stone, clay and glass, use the energy it releases. Methane-based combustion helps businesses dry, dehumidify, melt and sanitize their products. The use of methane natural gas in commercial settings also resembles home uses.

Home Uses

Natural gas is cheaper than electricity, according to the Natural Gas Supply Association. They affirm it is the "lowest-cost conventional energy source available for residential use." Home uses vary. Some consumers use the methane in natural gas as a source of energy while cooking. Others use it to heat and cool their homes.

Distributed Generation

Through a process called distributed generation, the methane in natural gas can create electricity. Microturbines (heat engines) and natural gas fuel cells can produce enough electrical energy to power a home. While distributed generation technology remains in its infancy, it has a promising future. The Natural Gas Supply Association predicts that distributed generation will offer homeowners energy independence. The first system of this kind was installed in a Latham, New York, home. The home strictly relies on a fuel cell and its natural gas line for its energy needs.

Read more: Uses of Methane Natural Gas |

posted on Oct, 25 2012 @ 09:34 PM
reply to post by Northwarden

No, it's people like you that to deny things that any rational human being would not ignore.

Regardless of Who/What caused the planet to warm, we should stop arguing over semantics and look at the facts, not right-wing spin drivel.
edit on 25-10-2012 by VaterOrlaag because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 25 2012 @ 09:41 PM
reply to post by VaterOrlaag

Facts are a channel I'm on man. Be as subjective about what I am as you want, it's looking as objectively on topic as it needs to be looked at, and that cuts down to size a lot of issues that people enjoy making needless overhead about.

posted on Oct, 25 2012 @ 09:42 PM
couldn't get video to upload......
edit on 25-10-2012 by snarky412 because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 25 2012 @ 11:55 PM
There is a lot of conjecture on this thread about the global warming implications of methane, but some important points are being overlooked. While a slow release is not dangerous, a rapid release is a whole other story as you will see in my points below.

1 - Methane hydrate is held in ice somewhat like CO2 is held in a soda. Temperature and pressure are big factors in its containment and/or release. Another factor is disturbance. It can be released by "shaking it up" just like shaking a soda can. If the methane hydrate is coming close to release due to rising temperature or falling pressure it can be released in massive quantities from the slightest disturbance and the release can cascade from the initial disturbance to spread over all areas that are near to being warm enough.

2 - While not poisonous, methane will not support life if that is all there is to breathe. A large enough release in a short time could kill off all air breathing life in the area in only a few minutes. This possibility puts global warming a little farther down the list of worries about methane hydrate.

3 - Not only will methane not support life but in the proper mix with air can be extremely explosive. So a massive release into the atmosphere anywhere near where humans live will most likely find an ignition source at some point after it reaches an explosive mix. And a really massive release in the ocean could also be set off by lightening as well. It is just such an event that is thought to be responsible for at least one of the past extinction events by scientists who study such things.

While global warming is a point of contention, the danger presented by a really massive ocean release of methane is not. And one of the "hot spots" for methane release that could also spread to the ocean is the unstable area around the B P Macondo well disaster in the gulf.
edit on 26-10-2012 by happykat39 because: clarified a point

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