Study: Arctic seabed methane stores destabilizing, venting

Mar 04, 2010

A section of the Arctic Ocean seafloor that holds vast stores of frozen methane is showing signs of instability and widespread venting of the powerful greenhouse gas, according to the findings of an international research team led by University of Alaska Fairbanks scientists Natalia Shakhova and Igor Semiletov.

The research results, published in the March 5 edition of the journal Science, show that the under the East Siberian Arctic Shelf, long thought to be an impermeable barrier sealing in , is perforated and is leaking large amounts of methane into the atmosphere. Release of even a fraction of the methane stored in the shelf could trigger abrupt climate warming.

“The amount of methane currently coming out of the East Siberian Arctic Shelf is comparable to the amount coming out of the entire world’s oceans,” said Shakhova, a researcher at UAF’s International Arctic Research Center. “Subsea permafrost is losing its ability to be an impermeable cap.”

Methane is a more than 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide. It is released from previously frozen soils in two ways. When the organic material—which contains carbon—stored in permafrost thaws, it begins to decompose and, under oxygen-free conditions, gradually release methane. Methane can also be stored in the seabed as methane gas or methane hydrates and then released as subsea permafrost thaws. These releases can be larger and more abrupt than those that result from decomposition.

The East Siberian Arctic Shelf is a methane-rich area that encompasses more than 2 million square kilometers of seafloor in the . It is more than three times as large as the nearby Siberian wetlands, which have been considered the primary Northern Hemisphere source of atmospheric methane. Shakhova’s research results show that the East Siberian Arctic Shelf is already a significant methane source: 7 teragrams yearly, which is equal to the amount of methane emitted from the rest of the ocean. A teragram is equal to about 1.1 million tons.

“Our concern is that the subsea permafrost has been showing signs of destabilization already,” she said. “If it further destabilizes, the methane emissions may not be teragrams, it would be significantly larger.”

Shakhova notes that Earth’s geological record indicates that atmospheric methane concentrations have varied between about .3 to .4 parts per million during cold periods to .6 to .7 parts per million during warm periods. Current average methane concentrations in the Arctic average about 1.85 parts per million, the highest in 400,000 years, she said. Concentrations above the East Siberian Arctic Shelf are even higher.

The East Siberian Arctic Shelf is a relative frontier in methane studies. The shelf is shallow, 50 meters or less in depth, which means it has been alternately submerged or terrestrial, depending on sea levels throughout Earth’s history. During Earth’s coldest periods, it is a frozen arctic coastal plain, and does not release methane. As the planet warms and sea levels rise, it is inundated with seawater, which is 12-15 degrees warmer than the average air temperature.

“It was thought that seawater kept the East Siberian Arctic Shelf permafrost frozen,” Shakhova said. “Nobody considered this huge area.”

Earlier studies in Siberia focused on methane escaping from thawing terrestrial permafrost. Semiletov’s work during the 1990s showed, among other things, that the amount of methane being emitted from terrestrial sources decreased at higher latitudes. But those studies stopped at the coast. Starting in the fall of 2003, Shakhova, Semiletov and the rest of their team took the studies offshore. From 2003 through 2008, they took annual research cruises throughout the shelf and sampled seawater at various depths and the air 10 meters above the ocean. In September 2006, they flew a helicopter over the same area, taking air samples at up to 2,000 meters in the atmosphere. In April 2007, they conducted a winter expedition on the sea ice.

They found that more than 80 percent of the deep water and greater than half of surface water had methane levels more than eight times that of normal seawater. In some areas, the saturation levels reached at least 250 times that of background levels in the summer and 1,400 times higher in the winter.

They found corresponding results in the air directly above the ocean surface. Methane levels were elevated overall and the seascape was dotted with more than 100 hotspots. This, combined with winter expedition results that found methane gas trapped under and in the sea ice, showed the team that the methane was not only being dissolved in the water, it was bubbling out into the atmosphere.

These findings were further confirmed when Shakhova and her colleagues sampled methane levels at higher elevations. Methane levels throughout the Arctic are usually 8 to 10 percent higher than the global baseline. When they flew over the shelf, they found methane at levels another 5 to 10 percent higher than the already elevated arctic levels.

The East Siberian Arctic Shelf, in addition to holding large stores of frozen methane, is more of a concern because it is so shallow. In deep water, oxidizes into carbon dioxide before it reaches the surface. In the shallows of the East Siberian Arctic Shelf, methane simply doesn’t have enough time to oxidize, which means more of it escapes into the atmosphere. That, combined with the sheer amount of methane in the region, could add a previously uncalculated variable to climate models.

“The release to the atmosphere of only one percent of the methane assumed to be stored in shallow hydrate deposits might alter the current atmospheric burden of methane up to 3 to 4 times,” Shakhova said. “The climatic consequences of this are hard to predict.”

Shakhova, Semiletov and collaborators from 12 institutions in five countries plan to continue their studies in the region, tracking the source of the methane emissions and drilling into the in an effort to estimate how much methane is stored there.

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JayK
2.5 / 5 (13) Mar 04, 2010
Positive feedback loops of greenhouse gases have always been one of the expected reactions to climate change. One way to see it earlier was CO2 output from Northern Hemisphere permafrost, but it was nothing compared to this.
Yevgen
3.4 / 5 (7) Mar 04, 2010
It looks like it is going to get toasty much earlier than we expected. Luckiliy many technologies are coming togeter which will reduce CO2 release and warming no matter if politicians want it or not - just because it will be cheaper.
Check out for example new solar cell discovery - 9%
efficiency, simple spin-coasting deposition (no need for expensive vacuum chemical vapour deposition)
accessible to any electrochemical lab, no rare elements, only Cu, Zn, S and a little Selenium (not that rare).

Kesterite cell:
http://www.physor...054.html
I am looking forward to buy one for my roof paying 0.1$/W.

Regards,
Yevgen
verkle
1.9 / 5 (14) Mar 04, 2010
Please...not another GW article. Don't try to give us more confidence that we can control the climate of the Earth...because we cannot. Man's thinking needs to be humbled, and not to become even more conceited.

Caliban
3 / 5 (6) Mar 04, 2010
Yevgen-
Hopefully, before long, the entire roof covering itself will be composed of some type of solar cell shingles or sheathing.
I hope that they can be manufactured with a very high "R Value"- it looks like it's gonna get hot!
deatopmg
2.2 / 5 (12) Mar 04, 2010
how long has this CH4 release been going on?
It is certainly isn't any warmer in the arctic today than it was in 1903 when Amundsen sailed thru the NW passage.
JayK
2.7 / 5 (9) Mar 04, 2010
deatopmq: read the article before you comment.
AlexJ
4.1 / 5 (9) Mar 04, 2010
Amundsen's voyage was over 3 years, and apparently not ice-free:
http://bit.ly/d1XxIz
The research seems to suggest that today's trends are pretty rapid and extensive. And they probably aren't done, given the inertia involved and the apparent dominance of amplifying feedbacks. The article also notes that methane is already at it's highest in 400,000 years. Still a secondary factor for now though.

Verkle, who said anything about "control"? That's a bit like saying someone who sets a forest fire has control. All we're doing is providing the rapid fossil carbon buildup to which the climate system responds. A massive experiment with the holocene biosphere.

On solar, what's needed is a reduced average cost per kW (and inexpensive storage or a major grid upgrade). For now, coal and oil remain the (relatively) low cost kings in the U.S. Putting a price on using the atmosphere as a fossil carbon sewer, and/or incentivizing the promising technologies for a given region, would be helpful.
mosahlah
2.6 / 5 (5) Mar 05, 2010
We've got to mine this stuff and burn it BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE! See? I can play these games too.
vanderMerwe
1.7 / 5 (6) Mar 05, 2010
If the watermelons in the "environmental movement" really gave a damn about the environment they'd have had us up in the arctic circle producing the methane out of those hydrate deposits a decade ago. That's the problem with them, though, they're watermelons, not environmentalists, viz, green on the outside, deep red on the inside. :-/
NameIsNotNick
4.4 / 5 (7) Mar 05, 2010
I see the anti-AGW trolls are once again hijacking any chance of sensible discussion...
JayK
3.9 / 5 (12) Mar 05, 2010
This is one of the most important stories I've seen on climate change, a complete positive feedback loop with quantifiable data that shows a massive increase in a greenhouse gas that is more potent than CO2 and the comments here have barely even acknowledged it, and unfortunately this appears to be true across the internet, no one really wants to confront this story head on, no one wants to acknowledge the changes that are going to happen because of this.

Good job, deniers, you've accomplished terminal apathy across the internet. I hope you're happy.
thermodynamics
5 / 5 (6) Mar 05, 2010
JayK: Your observations are excellent. Let me expand a bit. I am going to try to avoid any derogatory terms and stick to the science. One of the themes that seems to come up over-and-over is the idea that CO2, CH4, and other trace gases are not important because they are such a small part of the atmosphere. Because of the undeniable fact that they are just trace gases, those who do not have a background in heat transfer dismiss them as being unimportant. From their perspective these trace gases (measured in ppm) cannot have the effect of the major gases (O2 and N2). What they do not realize is that O2 and N2 have no impact on infrared radiation because they are symmetrical linear molecules and do not respond strongly to bending or rotation. What is not realized is that it is similar to an atmosphere that has no N2 or O2 and only the trace gases and water. That atmosphere would have a much lower pressure but would be similar in heat trapping ability (continued)
thermodynamics
4.3 / 5 (6) Mar 05, 2010
(continuation - I hate the 1000 character limit). I say similar because the N2 and O2 act to suppress convective transport and act as an insulator (but do not interact strongly with IR). The other theme argued is that water vapor is such a strong greenhouse gas that any meaningful approach to controlling temperatures must include it. The failure of that is that water vapor is controlled by temperature. The fact that we have huge open sources of water vapor makes the water vapor content uncontrollable. What we can control are the trace gases that humans are responsible for. I like to think that those who are arguing these points are just ignorant (in the technical nature of the word ignorant as: "I am ignorant of modern art" in that I have never studied it). This is not meant to be derogatory, just informative. Those who would like to can pick up a good book on Radiative Heat Transfer (I recommend the book by Modest). They can then become informed as opposed to ignorant
JayK
3.9 / 5 (7) Mar 05, 2010
Another science that can help understanding of this complex issue: optical propagation and reflection are useful tools to understand UV vs. IR absorption bands and how they are implicated in AGW, if your interests are in optics. The basic knowledge that UV radiation is absorbed by dark bodies and emitted back out as heat (dark object on a sunny day) is also a necessary basic idea that needs to be understood.
PPihkala
5 / 5 (5) Mar 05, 2010
I think that global warming is like forest fire. When it's in the beginning and is small, it's easier and cheaper to manage than later when it's been growing without intervention. So we should intercept CO2 rise now, not later when it has fueled all these accelerating effects like methane outgassing. Later we may not have any change making any meaningful effect, now hopefully we still can.
Caliban
3.3 / 5 (7) Mar 05, 2010
Well, guys,
I am satisfied that the science is solid, that AGW is real, and that we need a Game Plan to address it NOW. Relatively small increments of "A-Carbon" contribution drives and amplifies many other feedback processes, only two of which are discussed in the article.

It appears to me that most of those on the "denier" side attack AGW from the basis of percieved threat to their socioeconomic status. And we wonder why, when there is undoubtedly plenty of $$ to be made in green tech. I think mainly because there is bound to plenty of churn in the sector, as is usual with the development and deployment of new tech(s), and therefore plenty of money will be lost, too. So, to their way of thinking it is better to stick with the obsolete but still(if only for a little while longer) stable fossil-fuel driven economic model. Depressing
Loodt
1.4 / 5 (11) Mar 06, 2010
Yeah, AGW is a clear and present danger!

Everybody that agrees with this statement, turn off your computers now!

Methane, from trees, plants, cows, beetles, ants and permafrost, we are doomed!

Assemble around your rubbish bins, and beat your chests, and cry, repent, repent!

The rest of us can carry on with our lives!
operator
4.2 / 5 (5) Mar 06, 2010
loodt your understanding of things is a tad short isn't it, CH4 from trees, plants, ants? whats that about. bacterial decomposers, cows and termites yes.

firstly; you do understand the ecocline from boreal forest to tundra with permafrost don't you. trees don't expell CH4 but CO2 and O2, vegetation only breaks down and releases CH4 under anarobic conditions, an its not the plants that give off CH4 but the bacterial decomposers.

secondly; where have you read in any of the science press any reports calling for a ludite solution to climate change? ludicrous.

your response smacks of a certain religious zeal and shows a familar ignorance of the science (read "ignorance" as not being learned in the subject your posting about)

your top line is quite right though and this report is quite alarming.
Hansens paper on trace gasses some years ago warned about just this kind of scenario contributing towards positive feedbacks.
Loodt
1 / 5 (10) Mar 06, 2010
Operator,

And to which address do I send the cheque for the primary school lesson you gave? Saturday, your day off, and away from the kindergarden are you?

AGW is a crock.

CO2 is heavier than air and drops to ground at night!

Miners and Speleologists are dead scared of CO2 because it lurks and accumulates in the bowels of the earth, caves, shaft bottoms, and big enclosed tanks.

But it is only in Climate Science that CO2 gets wings, must be all the Red Bull its drinking!

And we start another scardy store with Methane, and the tundura, and the next item.

Maybe methane is the cause of the Terrestrial Gamma-Ray Flashes, only recently discovered?
operator
5 / 5 (6) Mar 06, 2010
loodt so you understand the transpiration processes of various organisms but have posted plain wrong attributes about it previously.

first time i've heard that CO2 drops to the ground at night, is that becuase the wind stops at night as well?

care to post any scienctificaly backed up responses or are you just going to subscribe to plain old odd philosophies here?

time is going to tell on this and sadly it looks like people like you are going to be proved very sadly wrong, not only that but the denier propaganda you post has very real detrimemental effects on very many peoples futures.
i do hope your religious mindset is prepared for the reprocusions of your actions
Windy_City_Kid
1.3 / 5 (3) Mar 06, 2010
This is not new information as Semiletov published these findings in a Russian science journal in 2007. The climate science community has been aware as the siberian research began in 2002

Other scientists working on the subsea methane threat are not yet ready to make a mountain out of a mole hill just yet.

http://www.scient...ime-bomb

I have not seen any scientific evidence that this is anything but natural. The Paleo record shows that Arctic temperatures were much higher than today during the mid-Pliocene and the Eemian Eras when Greenland was mostly free of ice. Specialists say that clouds, El Nino and ocean currents bringing tropical water North were the cause for a hotter Arctic during those times. This was followed by increased cloud cover and rapid cooling.
thermodynamics
5 / 5 (1) Mar 06, 2010
I need to correct one of my comments above. I said: "What they do not realize is that O2 and N2 have no impact on infrared radiation because they are symmetrical linear molecules and do not respond strongly to bending or rotation." What I need to point out is that CO2 is also a symmetrical linear molecule but it is not mono-atomic. It has vibrational modes that are strong in infrared regions where H2O is weak and H2O absorbs strongly where CO2 does not (or they are both strong in some of the same regions). The molecules N2 and O2 are not strong absorbers/emitters in the IR. I know this is a small distinction but I wanted to be accurate. This is the reason that O2 and N2 cannot be measured using FTIR but CO2 can.
Ronan
5 / 5 (5) Mar 06, 2010
CO2 is heavier than air and drops to ground at night!

Oxygen is heavier than air as well, you know; 32 g/mol vs. about 29 g/mol. That's why fires don't burn during the day, when oxygen becomes diluted throughout the atmosphere, and trees spontaneously burst into flame during the night when all the oxygen sinks down to the surface.

Or at least that's what WOULD happen, but of course the fires don't burn because Argon, a noble gas that exists at much higher concentrations in the atmosphere than CO2 and that has an atomic mass of 40 g/mol, plunges down to the surface during the night, easily replacing all other gases except for CO2 and a few other trace compounds. This is also why all animal life has evolved special organic scuba gear to enable to to survive through the asphyxiating night.

...Or perhaps convection is powerful enough in the troposphere and stratosphere to mix all gases throughout the lower atmosphere without much regard to molecular weight.
Just_some_guy
Mar 07, 2010
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
thermodynamics
5 / 5 (3) Mar 07, 2010
Ronan: That is a great comment. You have answered a lot of questions about the world around us. Do you have any more gems like this to keep us laughing at the strange posts that are made by the Luddites who seem to troll these pages. Thanks, I needed that laugh and I encourage you to keep it up.
Loodt
1.8 / 5 (5) Mar 07, 2010
thermodynamics,

You are living proof that evolution is real, actual and still happening today! Pity the AGW mob wants to stop that strong force of nature dead in its tracks!

Hyena blood then, so strong that you can't suppress it at times?
JayK
3.7 / 5 (6) Mar 07, 2010
Loody, if you don't have anything to contribute, why do you post? You obviously have no idea what this conversation is about, but you insist on imposing your ignorance on the rest of the people here that come to learn. Why?
Loodt
1 / 5 (7) Mar 07, 2010
JayK
There is plenty of research about the nocturnal/diturnal concentration of CO2 at stations that includes amongst others Wisconsin and the Amazons. Wisconsin uses an observation tower and in the Amazon jungle, balloons were used to collect the samples. The day to night CO2 concentration swing is 100 ppm, with the just before dawn period recording the highest CO2 concentration, provided its a still night. This is supposed to be common knowledge.

If there is still night, without winds and turbulence, the CO2 concentration increases by 100 ppm. What explains the increase of the CO2 in the before dawn period?

Unless you believe that CO2 keeps floating away up to the moon, where it eats the cheese and cause big holes!

If CO2 doesn't drop down to the ground, pray, why are all the trees, plants and grasses so green?

Ronan
5 / 5 (3) Mar 07, 2010
Loodt: After looking into what you said, I find that I shouldn't have been QUITE so dismissive earlier; apparently, there really is a noticeable variation in CO2 concentration between day and night (the highest swing I could find mentioned was ~40 ppm, not 100, but that, perhaps, is a minor quibble).

However, I'd like to point out that there's another explanation for the change in CO2 concentrations than day/night temperature differences (which wouldn't change gas distribution, in any case; that would change the density of the atmosphere, but it wouldn't do a dad-blamed thing to stratification). With the exception of CAM plants, which make up a minority of the total number of plant species, most plants only take in CO2 during the daytime, when the sun's shining and they can conduct photosynthesis. As a result, at night CO2 is not being consumed by much of anything, while still being produced by animals--so its concentration rises.
Loodt
2 / 5 (7) Mar 07, 2010
Ronan,

People can die in caves, underground excavations, wells, enclosed tanks because CO2 accummulates in the bottom. Ask any professional engineer in charge of workmen.

Ventilation in enclosed spaces is rather important.

CO2 sinks to the bottom, methane, Carbon monoxide, floats to the top of an excavation.

The Amazon study, done late 1990s, mentioned a maximum swing of 100 ppm.
JayK
3 / 5 (4) Mar 07, 2010
The information you are using is equivalent to an 8th grade science course, Loody. Gas in a free space with convection and other currents will mix more thoroughly.

Again, I ask, why are you here? You obviously don't have much of a background in anything science based, but you feel the need to harass others with your beliefs.

Maybe in the future, if you want to be taken seriously, you can actually use citations and useful science, rather than routine assertions that are meaningless.
Parsec
5 / 5 (3) Mar 08, 2010
Ok, we have an article describing large amounts of methane, a greenhouse gas which is 30x as powerful as CO2 being released in increasing concentrations in the arctic.

The response for the most part is ignorant claptrap about AGW and how science sucks because it tells us things we don't want to hear. I don't think any of this is going to reduce the emissions of methane, slow down global warming, or keep the guilt away when your children ask you why didn't you do something when you could.
thermodynamics
5 / 5 (2) Mar 08, 2010
Parsec: You bring up a very good point. Some of the comments are ignorant (this is not a derogatory word - it means that those who are ignorant do not have training or knowledge in a subject) such as strange comments about scientifically simple systems (the idea that CO2 falls out of the atmosphere at night comes to mind). However, those ignorant comments represent a significant portion of the public. It is not that we cannot slow down global warming (if we move soon), it is, rather that we do not have the will to do the difficult things that are needed to slow the CO2/CH4/etc... increases. Instead, we see people listening to other ignorant people and rallying to their sides because of clever sound bites and an inability to discern between science and astrology. It is a sad situation.
rushty
1.5 / 5 (2) Mar 08, 2010
man, guilt guilt going to die guilt ego. How about, WHY are these deposits destabilizing? How long has it been happening? Is it going on anywhere else in the ocean? You know, the 90% we know nothing about other than low-res 15 year old topography maps? If the climate is going to change any time soon, it's going to be from the inside out, not the other way around.
Loodt
1 / 5 (6) Mar 08, 2010
thermodynamics,Parsec,JayK

Kindly explain the nocturnal/diturnal swing of up to 100 ppm in CO2 concentration measured by scientists, without letting CO2 drop down to ground.

It is a sad day, and maybe a true reflection of the insular mind set of 'climate change' scientists, when the botanists doing research for the American Peanut Growers Association produces more relevant and useable science than the rest put together!

And now we have to worry about Methane!

What happened to ozone, and the hole and the melting south pole? Demons and dragons all around!

operator
5 / 5 (2) Mar 08, 2010
loodt not having seen the amazon report you've talked of i can only guess what the swings are about, and my guess would be plant respiration, giving that the tropical rainforests have some of the greatest mass of vegetation per sq meter the effect of diurnal plant respiration could account for the swing.
the botanists would be measureing and looking at an entirely different situation then the climate scientists though, obviously eh.

trying to bring it back onto topic though, this report isn't about plant CO2 respiration or diurnal CO2 swings in the amazon but about accelerating CH4 release in the arctic.

rushty im interested where you've got the figure of us not knowing 90% about, your not going to do a rumsfield here are you and talk about known unknows and unknown unknowns.
and yes theres reports of measurements from spitsburgen island and off the california coast. and again CH4 measurements seem to be rising, sound scientific literature around to read about this.
JayK
3 / 5 (4) Mar 08, 2010
Mentioning an article you probably didn't actually read isn't the same as a citation, Loodt.

As for the ozone hole? It is still there. Tazmania is almost empty of human habitation because of it. The South Pole stuff? Obviously you don't know anything about what you're talking, no one has recently claimed that the south pole is thawing. The Antarctic has one of the more complex climates of anywhere else.

Why don't you bring up the 4 authors that posted about global cooling in the 70's? That seems to be about your speed.
Loodt
1 / 5 (6) Mar 08, 2010
JayK,

When are you going to throw the fact that you have TWO ADVANCED DEGREES in my face? It appears as if you cannot get the recognition in your workplace and must use a forum like this to boost your very low self-esteem.

The hole in the ozone is closing, of late its being blamed for contributing to Global Warming!

I cannot talk about Tasmania, however, when I visited Torres del Paine, we stayed in Punta Areanas, much further South than Tasmania. Punta Areanas is a lovely bustling city with lots of young educated - with environmental qualifications - Chileans moving there to get away from the Urban Rat Race.

If you cannot answer the question about the nocturnal swing in CO2 concentration, without getting personal, just say so.

Now you can blast out details of your exceptional, and surely impressive, CV, over to you!
JayK
2.6 / 5 (5) Mar 08, 2010
Loodt,
without a citation to the work(s) that you are attempting to quote, I cannot agree or disagree with it. Right now, it is only your statement that there is a 100ppm nocturnal swing in CO2 in a single region of the Earth. I have nothing to go on but your word, which has shown incredible ignorance of the science at hand, and so has no credibility. Are there nocturnal swings? Probably. Are they different in different regions depending on fauna and temperature gradients. Probably. Have you given a citation for anything you've ever claimed? Absolutely not.

I'm more than willing to read anything you care to cite, why won't you do it?

But here is a challenge to you, would you please also cite where I have ever said anything about any degrees or certificates that I might have in order to shore up my opinions?
JayK
3 / 5 (4) Mar 08, 2010
BTW, I might also note that nocturnal swings have no effect on the overall average of atmospheric CO2 or CH4 concentrations. Loodt might be trying to insinuate that scientists might measure concentration at night in order to bolster their claims of increasing concentrations of gases that are known to cause warming, but that would just be ignorant of the issue and methods at hand. That isn't what you're claiming, is it, Loodt? The only thing that would need to be done to show climate scientists are using fake data would be to go collect it yourself using the same documented methods and publishing your conclusions. What's stopping you or anyone else from doing just that, Loodt? Where is your data?
FastEddy
2 / 5 (4) Mar 08, 2010
JayK: " Positive feedback loops of greenhouse gases have always been one of the expected reactions to climate change. One way to see it earlier was CO2 output from Northern Hemisphere permafrost, but it was nothing compared to this. ... "

Facts not in evidence: Any indication of a positive feedback loop. This may just be the top of the bell curve = the undersea Methane source(s) are certainly finite ... and there is some evidence that Methane may be increasing, planet wide, sources being local breakdowns of longer chain hydrocarbons to entry into the atmosphere from space.

Besides, this is good news for an energy hungry society, Methane being the best of natural occurring hydrocarbon gas, combustion producing just CO2 and water.

(JayK: From your other posts here, you seem to include possible problems with increased CO2 in the atmosphere ... which in this articles time frame of 400,000 years = Not!)
JayK
3 / 5 (4) Mar 08, 2010
@freeeddy: Did you read the article above? A warming East Siberian Arctic Shelf is showing signs of thawing, including the release of major CH4 reserves. CH4 is a powerful regional and global greenhouse gas. This constitutes a positive feedback loop where previous warming will cause future warming, both regional and eventually global.

Could you also include your hypothesis on collection of this CH4? I'm sure the energy companies would love to know exactly how they can create a system that would tap into these reserves of trapped CH4 that are spread out over much of the Arctic circle.

Maybe a big huge funnel constructed entirely by the egos of denialists?
JayK
3 / 5 (4) Mar 08, 2010
Citations: http://www.spring...lp78r53/ (pay for content)

Real Climate summary of tipping-points and positive feedback loops:
http://www.realcl...-return/

In the IPCC, 2007d:78 http://www.ipcc.c...port.htm

What else would you like?
Skeptic_Heretic
3 / 5 (3) Mar 08, 2010
You guys are kinda incorrect in your hammering on Loodt. There is a massive swing of CO2 as convection slows considerably at night vs the day. There is a large swing due to the settling of CO2 as he states, however, as you state JayK that is not as relevant to the discussion at play.

Now on the article, methane clathrates are always in danger of unsettling as each year they move closer and closer to the oceanic floor that is subducted along fault lines allowing massive amounts of Methane to escape from aqueous solution. This is a dangerous thing, there are some scientists that believed, (not sure if they still do) that clathrates could have been responsible for at least one mass extinction.
baudrunner
1.3 / 5 (3) Mar 08, 2010
CH4 release in the Siberian North East will create a new "Bermuda Triangle". These are areas where the release of methane gas bubble clouds from under the ocean floor causes drastic pressure changes in the sea and air above the venting areas, leading to plummeting airplanes and sinking ships that are literally sucked toward the ocean floor.

The guilt over global warming that everyone feels is partially subconsciously related to humanity's addiction to air travel, which is a ridiculously high contributor of CO2 while it actually uses the oxygen intake to eliminate O2 in the process. Ironically, in this day and age, nobody actually needs to fly, so unless we stop talking about the problem and actually address it, all this talk is just so much rhetoric.

I happen to like GW. It is currently about 10 degrees Celsius higher than what we used to consider the seasonal norm where I live, and I'm quite enjoying it.

frenchie
4 / 5 (4) Mar 12, 2010
Remember JayK you're arguing with someone who doesn't believe Methane has a solid state. Just let it go and ignore him.
Loodt
1 / 5 (5) Mar 12, 2010
frenchie,

What about that other lovely Climate Change Science mineral - Dry Ice?

As all solid states are now minerals!

Yeah, let's make our own rules and regulations up as we go along: -

Fly CO2 baby, fly up high!

Momma Gaia gave you wings!
Willis
5 / 5 (2) Mar 13, 2010
Guys, you really should learn to read the paper first ... nd so should Physorg. Here's what the paper says:

-"To discern whether this extensive CH4 venting over the ESAS is a steadily ongoing phenomenon or signals the start of a more massive CH4 release period, there is an urgent need for expanded multifaceted investigations into these inaccessible but climate-sensitive shelf seas north of Siberia."-

In other words, we just started studying this, so we don’t know whether permafrost is gaining or losing its ability to cap the methane.

So there is nothing in the study that claims that the methane stores are "destabilizing" as the headline claims. The study specifically says that we don't know if they are destabilizing or not.

These are layers of subsea permafrost. They were flooded at the end of the last ice age. They have been melting ever since then, and will continue to do so no matter what we do. No need to panic.