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  • Methane Melt Off in Siberia

    Here are two articles from the Mother Jones website. The first discusses recent findings about increased methane venting in the Arctic.

    Arctic seabed stores of methane are now destabilizing and venting vast stores of frozen methane—a greenhouse gas 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide. The paper, in the prestigious journal Science, reports the permafrost under the East Siberian Arctic Shelf—long thought to be an impermeable barrier sealing in methane—is instead perforated and leaking large amounts of methane into the atmosphere.
    http://motherjones.com/blue-marble/2...e-melt-siberia

    The article posits that this has the potential to cause increased global warming: "Melting of even a fraction of the clathrates stored in that shelf could trigger abrupt climate warming."

    A second article atributes the increased methane increase to the melting of permafrost, caused by global warming:

    The same kind of feedback loops are present in the climate, and one of the worst is the melting of the permafrost. Permafrost locks up huge amounts of methane, an especially potent greenhouse gas, and the danger is that as the globe warms, the permafrost will melt and release its methane. This will cause the globe to warm even more, which will melt the permafrost even more, and the loop will continue explosively until the permafrost is gone and tremendous amounts of methane have been released.
    http://motherjones.com/kevin-drum/20...climate-change

    Doc, I believe you've posted on permafrost before. Got anything on methane levels as it relates to these articles?

  • #2
    Mother Jones is an even worse source for science articles than it is for economic articles.

    There is no such thing as “permafrost under the East Siberian Arctic Shelf.” Permafrost is on land.

    While there is a fair amount of methane locked up in permafrost, it's a drop in the bucket compared to sea floor methane hydrates (clathrates). A clathrate occurs when one molecule forms a lattice or cage around another compound. Methane hydrates are clathrates of CH4 molecules trapped in a lattice of H2O (ice).

    Atmospheric methane (CH4) levels have been essentially flat for more than a decade; varying from 1770-1800 ppb (parts per billion).

    The only mechanisms that can trigger a sudden release of sea floor methane hydrates are:
    Tectonic – Earthquakes, plate movement, etc. can disrupt the sea floor and “shake loose” the methane molecules from their ice cages.

    Volcanic – Submarine eruptions and shallow intrusive volcanic events can melt the clathrathes and release the trapped methane. This might have been the mechanism for the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (~57 mya) and one of the very few genuine examples of ocean acidification in the geologic record.

    Glacio-Eustatic – Glacial episodes in the Pleistocene caused sea level to drop by ~130 meters. The drop in sea level would subaerially expose some methane hydrate deposits and causes other deposits to shoal (become shallower), raising the water temperature. The glacio-eustatic sea level fall could theoretically have released massive volumes of methane to the atmosphere. One school of thought says that this is what triggers the interglacial episodes (like the one we live in). Although no one has been able to find any clear geochemical evidence that this has actually happened.

    No amount of “anthropogenic global warming” can release Arctic sea floor methane hydrates. The oceans do not warm from the bottom-up... Unless the source of the warming is volcanic. The oceanic thermocline is very steep...



    Once you get below the surface layer, solar (and atmospheric) heating don't affect the water temperature in any significant way. The Arctic thermocline is very shallow (when it even exists).
    Watts Up With That? | The world's most viewed site on global warming and climate change.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by The Doctor View Post
      Mother Jones is an even worse source for science articles than it is for economic articles.

      There is no such thing as “permafrost under the East Siberian Arctic Shelf.” Permafrost is on land.

      While there is a fair amount of methane locked up in permafrost, it's a drop in the bucket compared to sea floor methane hydrates (clathrates). A clathrate occurs when one molecule forms a lattice or cage around another compound. Methane hydrates are clathrates of CH4 molecules trapped in a lattice of H2O (ice).

      Atmospheric methane (CH4) levels have been essentially flat for more than a decade; varying from 1770-1800 ppb (parts per billion).

      The only mechanisms that can trigger a sudden release of sea floor methane hydrates are:
      Tectonic – Earthquakes, plate movement, etc. can disrupt the sea floor and “shake loose” the methane molecules from their ice cages.

      Volcanic – Submarine eruptions and shallow intrusive volcanic events can melt the clathrathes and release the trapped methane. This might have been the mechanism for the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (~57 mya) and one of the very few genuine examples of ocean acidification in the geologic record.

      Glacio-Eustatic – Glacial episodes in the Pleistocene caused sea level to drop by ~130 meters. The drop in sea level would subaerially expose some methane hydrate deposits and causes other deposits to shoal (become shallower), raising the water temperature. The glacio-eustatic sea level fall could theoretically have released massive volumes of methane to the atmosphere. One school of thought says that this is what triggers the interglacial episodes (like the one we live in). Although no one has been able to find any clear geochemical evidence that this has actually happened.

      No amount of “anthropogenic global warming” can release Arctic sea floor methane hydrates. The oceans do not warm from the bottom-up... Unless the source of the warming is volcanic. The oceanic thermocline is very steep...



      Once you get below the surface layer, solar (and atmospheric) heating don't affect the water temperature in any significant way. The Arctic thermocline is very shallow (when it even exists).
      Thanks.

      Comment


      • #4
        The paper itself is behind the Science paywall; but Science News has a pretty good article about it... Arctic seafloor a big source of methane


        They are most likely observing natural gas seeps. The Gulf of Mexico, for example, is loaded with natural oil and gas seeps...


        Gas Hydrates

        Scientists find hydrates around hydrocarbon seeps in the Gulf of Mexico. The seeps often signal the presence of oil and gas reservoirs far below the seafloor.
        They continually misuse the word "permafrost"... Permafrost is frozen. The sea floor is not frozen.

        The warmth of the seawater, as well as heat flowing up from within the Earth, has thawed the seafloor permafrost, releasing the methane, the researchers speculate. The warmth of the seawater, as well as heat flowing up from within the Earth, has thawed the seafloor permafrost, releasing the methane, the researchers speculate. “We don’t know how long it’s been bubbling like this,” Shakhova adds.

        Sonar images show plumes of methane bubbling from the seafloor, indicating that the gas originates in sediments there. Other measurements show that the methane isn’t generated in the water by microbes or brought to the seas by rivers, Shakhova says. Shakhova adds.
        “We don’t know how long it’s been bubbling like this"... It's most likely "been bubbling like this" since the end of the Pleistocene. There wasn't someone monitoring the East Siberian Arctic Shelf who one day found gas seeps where none had previously existed. This is like the Antarctic ozone hole, they went looking for something and found it... But there's no evidence that it wasn't there before anyone looked for it.
        Last edited by The Doctor; 08 Mar 10, 11:59.
        Watts Up With That? | The world's most viewed site on global warming and climate change.

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        • #5
          Julia Whitty is normally highly regarded in most circles? I'll post something in the political section to confirm this and keep this area science only .
          How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic: http://grist.org/series/skeptics/
          Global Warming & Climate Change Myths: https://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

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          • #6
            The oil and gas potential of the East Siberian Arctic Shelf is nothing new...
            Russian oil and gas offshore

            Most estimates [Granberg et al., 1993; Malovitski et al., 1994] suggest that promising oil- and gas-bearing areas are found on about 90% of all Russian shelves. They cover 5.2-6.2 million square kilometers. Potential recoverable hydrocarbon resources of the Russian continental shelves are estimated within 90 to 100 billion tons of oil equivalent. Natural gas resources account for 80% of them.

            Practically everywhere on the Russian shelf, the affinity between the offshore petroleum-bearing provinces and corresponding geological structures of the adjoining inland areas is found. Global experience indicates that in such cases, the oil and gas potential of the shelf fields is higher than that of the onshore accumulations.

            [...]

            The shelves of the Far East and Eastern Siberia have especially good prospects for large-scale and long-term developments of the offshore oil and gas fields. The promising areas in these regions (excluding Sakhalin and its shelf) are estimated at about 1.5 million square kilometers. Potential recoverable resources are estimated at billions of tons of conventional fuel. These reserves are concentrated mostly in the Sea of Okhotsk and the Bering, Chukchi, and East-Siberian Seas. Here, more than 20 oil- and gas-bearing and potentially oil- and gas-bearing basins of different geotectonic nature have been discovered.

            LINK

            The USGS reports that the "undiscovered conventional oil and gas resources of the Arctic are estimated to be approximately 90 billion barrels of oil, 1,669 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, and 44 billion barrels of natural gas liquids." Natural seafloor oil and gas seeps are among the reasons that the area is though to have huge potential for oil and gas exploration.
            Watts Up With That? | The world's most viewed site on global warming and climate change.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
              Julia Whitty is normally highly regarded in most circles? I'll post something in the political section to confirm this and keep this area science only .
              Julia Whitty could be more highly regarded than the Pope... It still wouldn't alter the science... Nor would it turn Ms. Whitty into a scientist...
              Whitty is environmental correspondent at Mother Jones and a blogger at The Blue Marble.

              A former filmmaker, her more than 70 nature documentaries have aired on PBS, Nature, The Discovery Channel, National Geographic, Outdoor Life Channel, Arts & Entertainment, and with many other broadcasters worldwide. Whitty is on the Board of Advisors of BlueVoice. She lives in California.

              LINK
              Science couldn't care less about how people feel about things. Science isn't about feelings, desires, hope or belief... Science is about a systematic process to understand the world and universe around us.
              Last edited by The Doctor; 08 Mar 10, 12:58.
              Watts Up With That? | The world's most viewed site on global warming and climate change.

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              • #8
                Well... You can "teach an old dog new tricks"...
                Subsea permafrost, such as in the Laptev Sea, was formed under subaerial conditions during the last glacial periods and subsequently underwent submersion due to postglacial sea-level rises. As western part of the Beringian landmass the shallow Siberian shelves became subaerially exposed during glacial maxima. During ensuing postglacial global sea-level rises the region gradually changed from a terrestrial permafrost landscape into shallow marine shelf environments. Geochemical, micropaleontological, and sedimentological data obtained through sediment coring and drilling not only reveal the strong influence of this transformation process on the shelf environment for the time since the last glacial period, they also clearly confirm the existence of permanently frozen, and ice-bearing sediments below a soft, marine sediment package of Holocene age.

                LINK
                There is a layer of permafrost buried under a sequence of Holocene-aged unfrozen sediments on the Arctic continental shelf. It’s mind boggling that it could have remained frozen for 12,000 years sandwiched between warmer sediments above and below it.

                The permafrost formed on land during the last glaciation and was apparently buried so quickly by marine sediments during the Holocene transgression that it was essentially "fossilized."
                Last edited by The Doctor; 08 Mar 10, 16:52.
                Watts Up With That? | The world's most viewed site on global warming and climate change.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by The Ibis View Post
                  Here are two articles from the Mother Jones website. The first discusses recent findings about increased methane venting in the Arctic.


                  http://motherjones.com/blue-marble/2...e-melt-siberia

                  The article posits that this has the potential to cause increased global warming: "Melting of even a fraction of the clathrates stored in that shelf could trigger abrupt climate warming."

                  A second article atributes the increased methane increase to the melting of permafrost, caused by global warming:



                  http://motherjones.com/kevin-drum/20...climate-change

                  Doc, I believe you've posted on permafrost before. Got anything on methane levels as it relates to these articles?
                  Since Doc has loudly and constantly proclaimed global warming to be a myth, there can be no methane venting as a result.

                  Probably a lot of thawed out mammoth farts, instead...

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post
                    Since Doc has loudly and constantly proclaimed global warming to be a myth, there can be no methane venting as a result.

                    Probably a lot of thawed out mammoth farts, instead...
                    "Loudly?"... I was typing when I said that...
                    Watts Up With That? | The world's most viewed site on global warming and climate change.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by The Doctor View Post
                      "Loudly?"... I was typing when I said that...
                      But did you type in ALL-CAPS?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by The Ibis View Post
                        But did you type in ALL-CAPS?
                        I only type in ALL-CAPS when I am trying to be LOUD. If I put the ALL-CAPS in BOLD... I'm shouting.

                        When I do this...

                        ALL-CAPS!!!

                        ... I'm typing so loudly that my eyes bulge out!

                        Watts Up With That? | The world's most viewed site on global warming and climate change.

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