Frozen methane 'rapidly destabilizing' off East Coast

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Frozen methane 'rapidly destabilizing' off East Coast

Postby Jeff » Sat Oct 27, 2012 9:36 am

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

By Miguel Llanos, NBC News
Oct 24

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."

... ... tudy-finds
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Re: Frozen methane 'rapidly destabilizing' off East Coast

Postby brainpanhandler » Sat Oct 27, 2012 12:09 pm

Morbidly curious about worst case scenarios:

BOE: Quantifying Catastrophe … Now with CH4!!!


Bottom line – given the IPCC AR4 ECS and a gaussian distribution for fossil fuel consumption centered on an additional 6000 Gt CO2, we are quite likely going to see a return to a Miocene climate with global temps running about 4C warmer and CO2 near 500 PPM. If there is strong methane feedback, we may see a return to early Cenozoic conditions with warming over 6C and CO2 concentrations above 1000 PPM.

This leads to questions about decay rates. Does CO2 have an “effective” half life driven by ocean cycling? Biosphere? Geology? Will the resulting changes in albedo, glacial and ice sheet melting, and changes in ocean chemistry put an effective end to the Quaternary? Or will glacial cycles reassert themselves ending even this interglacial now known as the Anthropocene? ... -with-ch4/

This quote appears on his blog:

The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.
-H.P. Lovecraft
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Postby wintler2 » Sat Oct 27, 2012 6:33 pm

Sea temp at depth will be different of course, but its a glimpse. I see y'all rolled out the red carpet down the US east coast for hurricane/tr.storm Sandy.
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Re: Frozen methane 'rapidly destabilizing' off East Coast

Postby ninakat » Thu Nov 01, 2012 3:37 pm

Gulf Stream might be releasing seafloor methane
Greenhouse gas may be flowing into ocean waters off U.S. east coast
By Tanya Lewis, Science News
Oct. 24, 2012
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