Scary. So, how much time left till the start of dying?
Well, we are seeing mass die-offs in the animal kingdom, more in recent years I believe. Certainly marine life has been affected, and birds. There
have been human deaths from gas escapes in villages in Africa, but not from methane gas, but from toxic hydrogen sulphide gas seeping up out of the
ground and suffocating the people of the village.
If you think of the planet as a sealed room full of oxygen, but the floor is cracked and methane is seeping into the room and floating up to the
ceiling, where it spreads out. Some of the methane is oxidised by the oxygen so we end up with 3 main gases in the room, and traces of others: oxygen,
methane, and carbon dioxide. The methane is still seeping into the room, but the oxygen is not being replenished, so in time, pretty fast in this
scenario, one would soon find it difficult to breathe, and eventually one would fall unconscious and suffocate.
Now apply this scenario to planet-scale...it is going to take years, but bear in mind that we only breathe oxygen, all other gases tend to be
detrimental to our health and consciousness. Planet-wide, oxygen is being replenished, and as long as oxygen holds sway against the other gases, we
can survive. The thing is, we have reduced the oxygen replenishment mechanisms on the planet. The seas acting as sinks for carbon dioxide are
saturated, which is why we are seeing slight temperature variations around the globe. What we don't want is methane to be released into the
atmosphere. It is a far stronger greenhouse gas, and takes oxygen out of the atmosphere leaving carbon dioxide.
Of course there are other gases, but we can't breathe them. The imperilment lies in the ratio of oxygen to other gases, particularly methane and
carbon dioxide. Our life environment is just one layer in various layers of the atmosphere. From sea level to around 8000 metres, very much like a
sealed room, only planet-size. The time it would take for methane to become the dominant atmospheric gas could take up to 2000 years, but extinctions
of oxygen-breathing life forms would probably start occurring long before that.
What has been causing mass bird deaths? Did they fly into a dense methane bubble in the atmosphere, become unconscious and drop to the ground? Similar
occurrences of large shoals of fish and marine mammal deaths, can we attribute these deaths to methane and carbon dioxide causes? If it becomes
evidential that we can, then I would say we're in trouble. One would expect to see marine and flying animals suffer first as oxygen begins to lose its
If we are only seeing methane release in the northern hemisphere, that alone would be a clue to man's direct influence, as the northern hemisphere has
been the dominant industrial polluter. If methane release is occurring globally, then the cause may be more natural, with man's influence adding only
slightly. Whatever is driving the release is not good, let's hope it abates.
edit on 31/10/13 by elysiumfire because: (no reason given)