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Thread: methane gas frozen on ocean floor, is this true, and what happens if it melts ???

  1. #1 methane gas frozen on ocean floor, is this true, and what happens if it melts ??? 
    Forum Ph.D.
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    I heard the following global warming theory, could it be possible ?

    Under the ice on the north pole is methane gas frozen in the ground (methane is much more powerful than carbon in the greenhouse effect)

    The theory says that (all) the ice on the north pole melts (as scientists say the north pole ice is already starting to melt)

    This extra methane makes planet Earth warmer, and another chain of events happen, and methane gas frozen on the sea floor gets out.

    This methane (from the sea floors melted ice) makes Earth (like Venus) 700 deg. with rain storms of sulfuric acid.

    is there methane frozen in the sea floor ?
    is there enough methane there to make Earth like venus ?


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  3. #2  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    Technically it is not exactly methane. It is called methane clathrate, and it is a crystalline form of methane bonded with water molecules.

    Anyway, the answer is yes. There is a vast amount of this stuff on the ocean floor, where it is very cold and the pressure is very high. No-one exactly knows what will happen if the ocean warms enough to release the gas. Maybe runaway global warming. Maybe something less severe.


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  4. #3  
    Forum Professor Wild Cobra's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chad
    This extra methane makes planet Earth warmer, and another chain of events happen, and methane gas frozen on the sea floor gets out.
    I seriously doubt there would be enough to make a notable difference.
    Quote Originally Posted by chad
    This methane (from the sea floors melted ice) makes Earth (like Venus) 700 deg. with rain storms of sulfuric acid.
    That would be impossible. Not only is Venus' atmosphere mostly CO2, more than 95%, but it is so much thicker also. The atmosphere is about 93 times more dense.
    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    No-one exactly knows what will happen if the ocean warms enough to release the gas. Maybe runaway global warming. Maybe something less severe.
    Some have theorized that some existed in the famed Bermuda Triangle, and large releases sunk ships, and large methane gas clouds caused planes to have engine failure.

    Just a hypothesis, but probably as good as any.
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    There are huge deposits of methane hydrates in permafrost and on the ocean floor (e.g., Methane hydrates contributed to the BP disaster.) It could be the largest potential source of fossil fuels, but more of it is so deep and would be very difficult to extract.

    There's enough there to complete change climate to MUCH WARMER, even catastrophically warm, but that is extremely unrealistic or unlikely. Some work has looked at methane hydrates as a potential cause of the Paleocene/Eocene thermal maximum the climatic response to a massive methane release from gas hydrates

    That's still not enough to create a Venus style run-away greenhouse.

    Current models of climate change, are starting to factor in release of that locked in the permafrost and shallow ocean deposits as the planet warms and the methane produces a positive feedback loop, assuming we don't deliberately extract this fuel. Given our current projections the contribution of added methane adds another half-degree C or so this century. (see Archer, Buffett, and Brovkin, 2008) Ocean methane hydrates as a slow tipping point in the global carbon cycle
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    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
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    There's a pretty good semi-technical discussion of ocean floor and permafrost hydrates and their probable impact on climate change here:

    RealClimate: Methane hydrates and global warming

    It concludes:

    not an obvious disaster-movie plot, but a potential positive feedback that could turn out to be the difference between success and failure in avoiding ‘dangerous’ anthropogenic climate change.
    This article is a few years old now and maybe the paper Lynx Fox linked to contains more recent updates. The Arctic is certainly one of the more problematic areas because of the more rapid warming that is occurring at the poles than elsewhere.
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    The methane hydrates positive feedback effect has been portrayed as a kind of potential 'Armageddon scenario'. It's even gained credibility for a mechanism to explain mass extinction events. It's all pretty hypothetical, though.

    There's plenty of evidence of undersea methane bubbling up to the surface, much of it captured on video. But I don't think anyone has a clue what the magnitude of the feedback effect might be. It could be very significant. or it could be negligible.
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  8. #7  
    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wild Cobra View Post
    Some have theorized that some existed in the famed Bermuda Triangle, and large releases sunk ships, and large methane gas clouds caused planes to have engine failure.
    another theory i've read is that a massive surge of gas bubbles decreases the density of the water/gas mixture to the point that ships may no longer be buoyant and hence sink - this could, however, be any gas and does not need to be methane
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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    The methane Hydrate deposits at depth in the oceans seems believable but the bermuda triangel stuff is likely bunk. Before we postulate that it is the mechanism of ship loss we need to be sure there have been ship losses. Hard data of a greater incidence of ship losses in the triangle seems tobe hard to come by. One debunker publicly offered to pay $10000 for every scheduled commercial flight that was lost in the triangel, to anyone who would pay him $1 for each scheduled commercial flight that got through. No takers.
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    Forum Professor Wild Cobra's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Current models of climate change, are starting to factor in release of that locked in the permafrost and shallow ocean deposits as the planet warms and the methane produces a positive feedback loop, assuming we don't deliberately extract this fuel.
    I'll bet they don't factor in the oceans reabsorbing most of it to maintain equilibrium.
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  11. #10  
    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
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    Empirically, the oceans seem to be absorbing less CO2 than the models predict. The positive feedback is likely to be greater than current models show.
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  12. #11  
    Forum Professor Wild Cobra's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bunbury View Post
    Empirically, the oceans seem to be absorbing less CO2 than the models predict. The positive feedback is likely to be greater than current models show.
    I'll bet it's because the models likely don't account for the eliptical orbit of the earth, the southern hemisphere being notably closer in the orbit, and having more water than the northern hemisphere. Now factor in the direction and speed of the oceans currents, and the fact that solar intensity has increased ion the neighborhood of 0.18% since the 1700's.

    Warmer waters mean a change in equilibrium of gasses in water.

    From a scientists blog:



    A few paragraphs below the article I linked in that image:

    C. GREENHOUSE CATASTROPHE MODELS (GCMs)

    Since the industrial revolution, man has been dumping CO2 into the atmosphere at an accelerating rate. However the measured increase in the atmosphere amounts to only about half of that manmade CO2. This is what National Geographic called, “The Case of the Missing Carbon”. Appenzeller [2004].


    Climatologists claim that the increases in CO2 are manmade, notwithstanding the accounting problems. Relying on their greenhouse gas theory, they convinced themselves, and the vulnerable public, that the CO2 causes global warming. What they did next was revise their own embryonic global climate models, previously called GCMs, converting them into greenhouse gas, catastrophe models. The revised GCMs were less able to replicate global climate, but by manual adjustments could show manmade CO2 causing global warming within a few degrees and a fraction!


    The history of this commandeering is documented in scores of peer-reviewed journal articles and numerous press releases by the sanctified authors. Three documents are sufficient for the observations here, though reading them is rocket science. (An extensive bibliography on climate, complete with downloadable documents, covering the peer-reviewed literature and companion articles by peer-published authors is available on line from NASA at http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/.) The three are Hansen, et al., [1997], Hansen, et al., [2002], and Hansen, et al., [2005]. Among Hansen’s many co-authors is NASA’s Gavin Schmidt, above. He is a frequent contributor to the peer–reviewed literature, and he is responsible for a readable and revealing blog unabashedly promoting AGW. http://www.realclimate.org/.


    The three peer-reviewed articles show that the Global Climate Models weren’t able to predict climate in 1997. They show that in the next five years, the operators decoupled their models from the ocean and the sun, and converted them into models to support the greenhouse gas catastrophe. They have since restored some solar and ocean effects, but it is a token and a concession to their critics. The GCMs still can’t account for even the little ice age, much less the interglacial warming.
    Just shows their modelling is still way off, if you ask me.
    Last edited by Wild Cobra; October 21st, 2011 at 07:04 PM.
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  13. #12  
    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wild Cobra View Post
    I'll bet it's because the models likely don't account for the eliptical orbit of the earth
    Have you written to the IPPC and told them about their error? I'm sure they'd be pleased to have this tip because right now their scratching their heads trying to figure out why.
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  14. #13  
    Forum Professor Wild Cobra's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bunbury View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Wild Cobra View Post
    I'll bet it's because the models likely don't account for the eliptical orbit of the earth
    Have you written to the IPPC and told them about their error? I'm sure they'd be pleased to have this tip because right now their scratching their heads trying to figure out why.
    LOL... well, my humble opinion is that they have their agenda, and don't use what may blow their agenda apart. They know their predictions could be more reliable if they accounted for such simple things, but also don't want it ruining their agenda.

    You know what I mean though, right? The earth is closer to the sun in early January than it is in early July by enough that it receives 6.9% more energy from the sun. Of all the IPCCC literature I read, they don't seem to cover anything regarding the uneven heating of the hemispheres, or land vs water applicable to the orbit of our earth.
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  15. #14  
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    Your propensity to assume you know more than the thousands of scientist amazes me sometimes. Orbital parameters have been part of models for decades and used extensively not only to study todays climate but that of the past. Here's just a tidbit.
    The Last Interglacial Part Two - Why was it so warm?

    Of the nearly two dozen of models used by the IPCC (they dont' have one of their own) it's probably safe to say that ALL of them account for season insolation differences depending on tilt and season.

    There's also been specific work about your question:
    A model for orbital pacing of methane hydrate destabilization during the Palaeogene : Nature Geoscience : Nature Publishing Group
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