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The Arctic Is Leaking Methane

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the thar-she-blows dept.

Earth 303

registerShift and other readers sent in news that the Arctic Ocean seabed is leaking methane. "...climate experts familiar with the new research reported in Friday's issue of the journal Science that even though it does not suggest imminent climate catastrophe, it is important because of methane's role as a greenhouse gas. Although carbon dioxide is far more abundant and persistent in the atmosphere, ton for ton atmospheric methane traps at least 25 times as much heat. ... [One scientist] estimated that annual methane emissions from the East Siberian Arctic Shelf total about seven teragrams. (A teragram is 1.1 million tons.) By some estimates, global methane emissions total about 500 teragrams a year. ...about 40 percent is natural, including the decomposition of organic materials in wetlands and frozen wetlands like permafrost."

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Fuel? (4, Interesting)

hackwrench (573697) | more than 4 years ago | (#31370272)

So can it be capped and used for fuel?

Re:Fuel? (3, Interesting)

carlhaagen (1021273) | more than 4 years ago | (#31370380)

Wouldn't it just be easier to collect the staggering amounts of methane byproduct from all our cattle and other livestock? Surely the methane resources in these "establishments" are far more manageable than those of an arctic plain.

Re:Fuel? (5, Funny)

ItsJustAPseudonym (1259172) | more than 4 years ago | (#31370448)

"Hey Elsie, pull my hoof. Moo."

Re:Fuel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31370724)

"Hey Elsie, pull my hoof. Poo."

FTFY.

Re:Fuel? (3, Insightful)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 4 years ago | (#31370704)

Are you volunteering to plug in all the nozzles?

The problem with this plan is two-fold:
1) The gas isn't centralized. Where it is (say, sealed garbage dumps), methane is already harvested and used.
2) Setting this up is far, far more expensive than just buying your gas from the local utility company. Why would anybody bother if it doesn't save them money and they have to attach balloons to cow asses for the rest of their lives?

Re:Fuel? (1)

SQLGuru (980662) | more than 4 years ago | (#31370912)

I think this would be a matter of logistics. Capturing all of the output of millions of cows or capturing the output from one region of Earth. And then shipping said product to processing facilities. Sure, the cows could be used, but I think it would be easier to deal with the planet.

game over man, GAME OVER! (1)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 4 years ago | (#31371044)

If I was a misanthrope who really wanted to piss in everybody's cornflakes, I'd take a trawler and a few dozen cases of dynamite and cruise along the Northern Canadian coast, blasting that methane loose from the sea floor. Talk about your low-budget ways to destroy^W ruin the world. I really don't see why the Dread Pirate Roberts, err, Osama hasn't tried this, I mean overlooking the whole being dead for nine years thing.

Let It Burn! (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31370392)

Methane being 25 times more hazardous to the climate than CO2 then surely even burning it in-situ would be ecologically sound byproduct is CO2 + 2H20

Re:Let It Burn! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31370492)

Forgot to mention that nuking the arctic is the only solution to this most trying problem.

Re:Let It Burn! (4, Funny)

agw (6387) | more than 4 years ago | (#31370648)

Forgot to mention that nuking the arctic is the only solution to this most trying problem.

Right. Do it from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

Re:Let It Burn! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31370946)

I am tempted to register to mod you insightful, unfortunately I would never live down being a Slashdot geek amongst my colleagues here at the UN climate research group.
My best wishes to your solution and know that are hopes are with you, If you wouldn't mind also allowing a few projectiles to stray thus taking care of secondary issues we would be eternally grateful.

These include but are not limited to;
1) Tilikum: a most pressing danger to our fragile species
2) The North American continent although Al Gore would suffice - as they seem to produce the majority of green house gasses prevalent to our atmosphere.
3) Iceland: Could do with a little orbital warming as I had heavily invested in reality with hopes of global warming having a positive effect on presently frosty weather.
We anticipate that your project should also have the benefit of aiding our Hokey puck graph be a better fit - currently a laughing stock of the general public.

Warm regards
Mr Pachauri
Head of UN climato-illogical research

Re:Let It Burn! (3, Funny)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#31371004)

Forgot to mention that nuking the arctic is the only solution to this most trying problem.

Clearly the arctic is in on conspiracy to try to make it seem like the earth is warming.

It's well-known that the Earth itself has a liberal bias.

Re:Let It Burn! (2, Interesting)

pydev (1683904) | more than 4 years ago | (#31370622)

Methane being 25 times more hazardous to the climate than CO2 then surely even burning it in-situ would be ecologically sound byproduct is CO2 + 2H20

That's not true. Methane's half-life in the atmosphere is so short that it is not a significant risk; in a year, all that methane is going to be CO2 anyway and only 1/25th as potent for global warming.

CO2 is risky because it has a half-life of over a century.

Re:Let It Burn! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31371056)

Since it would get converted to CO2 anyway, it'd be best to convert it to CO2 immediately as GP said, so it doesn't trap 25 times more energy during the time it stays in the atmosphere, moron.

Re:Let It Burn! (0, Flamebait)

Kuroji (990107) | more than 4 years ago | (#31371102)

You're forgetting that the manmade global warming advocates like to latch onto every alarmist headline that they can and tout it everywhere. Such statements of fact merely get in the way of their agenda.

Can you say -1 flamebait, kids? I knew you could. Won't be the first time I get modded down for speaking the truth.

Re:Fuel? (4, Interesting)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 4 years ago | (#31370422)

In most cases, probably not. The methane is seeping out at low local concentrations over a vast area - there is no huge concentrated deposit like it is the case with oil or natural gas. Instead it is dissolved at low concentrations in the soil. Pure, concentrated methane hydrate deposits exist and might be useable for fuel extraction, though. Those are usually deeper in the oceans, where the hydrate is stabilized by water pressure. Getting the stuff to the surface without prematurely releasing the methane due to the pressure reduction is non-trivial, though. I suppose oil and natural gas are too cheap to make harvesting such methane hydrate deposits economically viable at the moment.

Re:Fuel? (1)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 4 years ago | (#31370468)

In most cases, probably not. The methane is seeping out at low local concentrations over a vast area - there is no huge concentrated deposit like it is the case with oil or natural gas. Instead it is dissolved at low concentrations in the soil. Pure, concentrated methane hydrate deposits exist and might be useable for fuel extraction, though. Those are usually deeper in the oceans, where the hydrate is stabilized by water pressure. Getting the stuff to the surface without prematurely releasing the methane due to the pressure reduction is non-trivial, though. I suppose oil and natural gas are too cheap to make harvesting such methane hydrate deposits economically viable at the moment.

I thought methane was a natural gas? But then, i'm not a chemist.

Re:Fuel? (2, Interesting)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 4 years ago | (#31370538)

Natural gas is indeed mostly methane, with some ethane, propane, CO2 in the mix. I was using the term to refer to fossil gas mostly associated with oil deposits and the like. I just looked it up and found that the distinction between fossil gas, methane clathrates and swamp gas seems not to be that strong in English, which is not my first language.

Re:Fuel? (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#31370708)

So we need a huge canopy to collect all the methane in...

Quick! Someone call the Scientologists!

Re:Fuel? (2, Informative)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 4 years ago | (#31370568)

Yes [technologyreview.com]

Obviously this comment is too short to be informative as I wrote it quickly. Gah.... I wish Slashdot would grow a bit over this time limitation for posts...

Shoo-wee! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31370298)

Somebody light a match!

So am I. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31370302)

N/T

1 teragram is not 1.1million tons (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31370304)

It is 1 Million tonnes.
it is 1 Megaton
it is 10^12 gram
it is 10^9 Kilogram
it is very easy to multiply with 10 in a 10 digit-system, so learn to do it right?

Re:1 teragram is not 1.1million tons (2, Insightful)

Xiph (723935) | more than 4 years ago | (#31370342)

That's what happens when you convert from metric to imperial, round up, then convert back to metric.
It is shoddy journalism and very poor of the submitter not to catch it when copy pasting.

Hi kDawson.

Re:1 teragram is not 1.1million tons (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31370406)

Uhhh, 1 teragram is 1,102,311.31 tons. How is that not 1.1 million tons? And how is that shoddy journalism again? Or are you pissed because they're not expressing it with the correct number of sigfigs or something?

Re:1 teragram is not 1.1million tons (3, Informative)

bloobloo (957543) | more than 4 years ago | (#31370602)

Having to worry about short tons vs long tons mean that the US system is bizarre.

Re:1 teragram is not 1.1million tons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31370640)

I fully agree that metric v imperial is goofy. Metric makes so much more sense. But for whatever reason, Imperial is standard in America, so it makes perfect sense that an American newspaper reporting to an American audience would use the system most commonly used in America.

Re:1 teragram is not 1.1million tons (1)

juasko (1720212) | more than 4 years ago | (#31370888)

No it does not even americans have notised the usefullness of the metric standard and is becoming the standard measurement system in many institutions as NASA and the military. Just quit the crap and use a useful system. Imperial is not a system at all why you have to use all those conversion tables.

Re:1 teragram is not 1.1million tons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31370964)

While NASA and the U.S. Military are American, that does not equate to Americans in general wanting to use the metric system.

US tons are lighter than the rest of the world (5, Funny)

YA_Python_dev (885173) | more than 4 years ago | (#31370460)

1 teragram is exactly 1 milion metric tons, but it's also approximately 1.1 million funny American tons.

Re:US tons are lighter than the rest of the world (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31370542)

You can take your big fat british tonnes and shove them. USA USA USA!

Re:US tons are lighter than the rest of the world (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#31370722)

Indeed. Thanks for pointing out that it's metric tonnes, silly American tons.

Don't forget; Lazy as well as backward.

Re:US tons are lighter than the rest of the world (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31370906)

Actually, the British long ton is less obvious. A long ton is 35 cubic feet of salt water. An American short ton is 2,000 (avoirdupois) pounds.

Re:US tons are lighter than the rest of the world (5, Funny)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 4 years ago | (#31371054)

Or in more US friendly units, it's 22 your mommas.

Re:1 teragram is not 1.1million tons (1, Funny)

imakemusic (1164993) | more than 4 years ago | (#31370696)

You might say the journalism was hella lame.

Re:1 teragram is not 1.1million tons (1)

krobe (944780) | more than 4 years ago | (#31370346)

tons as in 2000 pounds not tonnes

Re:1 teragram is not 1.1million tons (1)

zerosomething (1353609) | more than 4 years ago | (#31370692)

Don't blain US for all of this. The 'long ton' is British we just rounded it to 2000 pounds instead of 2240 pounds. I would certainly rather have a tone of British ail then a ton of American light beer but I'd rather move a short ton than a long ton or metric tonne (which is only about 36lb short of a long ton).

Re:1 teragram is not 1.1million tons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31370746)

Or maybe tebigram as in 2^40 grams, not teragram.

Re:1 teragram is not 1.1million tons (0, Offtopic)

Asshat_Nazi (946431) | more than 4 years ago | (#31370690)

I needed to get my fuck on last night so I headed to the bar. There wasn't much available, but I was able to find this one chick. She was a little too fat and her skin was kinda greasy, but whatever, I just needed a nut-hole for the night. When we got home and I got her granny panties off, she had this funky smell, somewhat like unbaked bread. Weird. Anyway, I did the deed.

Today I wake up and there is a mushroom growing out of the end of my penis. I can't break it off because the roots going way down inside. I don't know what to do!

Help slashdot!

Re:1 teragram is not 1.1million tons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31370850)

Here you go:

STUFFED MUSHROOM CAPS

4 oz. sour cream
2 c. Ritz crackers (crushed)
2 oz. butter
1 can crabmeat
2 oz. minced onion
4 shakes Tabasco sauce
Salt and pepper
Stems of mushrooms (chopped up tiny)

In large frying pan, mix all ingredients and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Place washed caps in shallow baking dish filling very full with stuffing. Bake in 350 degree oven about 20 minutes. Lower heat to 150 or 200 degrees. Bake 10-15 minutes.

Re:1 teragram is not 1.1million tons (1)

GargamelSpaceman (992546) | more than 4 years ago | (#31370814)

374 million yotta-yocto-angstrom-parsecs

Are we not able to ... (1)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | more than 4 years ago | (#31370314)

Are we not able to bottle this up, and use it as a source of gas, for vehicles, it seems a waste that all this methane is being
seeped out, and yet we are not catching it, bottling it up and using it for ourselves...?

Re:Are we not able to ... (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#31370508)

Low concentrations over a substantial area, much of it dissolved in seawater.

Unless Maxwell's demon would be willing to take the job, it'd probably take more energy to collect than it would produce when burned. It isn't even concentrated enough to just burn off on site(which, given the relative efficacy of methane and carbon dioxide as greenhouse gasses, would be desireable).

If there were just a single hole in the ground somewhere, leaking methane, this would be an opportunity. Low but alarming concentrations over a substantial area of ocean are completely useless as an energy source; but still a potentially massive emitter.

Re:Are we not able to ... (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 4 years ago | (#31370750)

"Low but alarming concentrations over a substantial area of ocean are completely useless as an energy source"

But can singe your eyebrows [youtube.com] .

You know who else is leaking methane? (0, Offtopic)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#31370320)

Yo' momma. ::rimshot:: ::in before the other yo momma jokes::

That explains the smell... (1, Funny)

epdp14 (1318641) | more than 4 years ago | (#31370330)

It wasn't the Russians after all.

Re:That explains the smell... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31370424)

It wasn't the Russians after all.

Nope. It's the 'ole blame the cat or dog routine - only using an entire global area.

You see, when you really have to let one go, you wait for the dog or cat to walk in and everyone assumes it's the animal. Worked for me last night. Yogurt, fresh greens, chili, and being 45 years old (stinky old man farts) and Pee U! My wife looks down at the cat and asks "Did you change her diet again. Geeze she stinks!"

It's very important to have pets when you're old and gassy - it prevents much embarrassment. I may have to sell that idea to PETA. Have some naked hot chick with a clothes pin on her nose, an old guy, and an animal with a caption:

"Save a cute furry animal and save your pride!"

excuse me (1)

MrKaos (858439) | more than 4 years ago | (#31370344)

better out than in

It's the waste of... (0, Flamebait)

carlhaagen (1021273) | more than 4 years ago | (#31370348)

...past civilizations, possibly arctic such (today we have evidence of the poles once having a warm, tropic climate) emerging for us, as a form of price to pay for our ancestors' cimres; these past civilizations' crimes against Gaia. And we, in turn, are of course doing a great job of leaving nice presents behind for future civilizations to suffer from.

Re:It's the waste of... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31370390)

Oh shut the fuck up. Why don't you do yourself a favor and catch a bullet if you believe that bullshit. Crimes against Gaia? What is this an episode of Captain Planet? Consider that the Earth is by default a complicated and dangerous place when you account of the atmosphere, water, and tons of living things that want to eat you. So really catch a fucking bullet.

Re:It's the waste of... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31370560)

wow thats some serious amount of locked up basement-dweller frustration and aggression there. *ring ring* its the cluephone, for you: "the guy is probably trolling up some discussion". you ate it with hair and everything.

Re:It's the waste of... (1, Flamebait)

ItsJustAPseudonym (1259172) | more than 4 years ago | (#31370502)

All that methane was locked-up in the ice long ago. In those times, humans had much less of an impact on the environment, so the methane probably came from natural sources. Therefore, it is not from "our ancestors crimes".

The fact that it is being released NOW, however, is due to current effects, which may indeed be anthropogenic in origin. i.e. We're screwing ourselves now.

Re:It's the waste of... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31370652)

We also know north america used to be under a few km of ice. What's your point besides demonstrating that you're a complete tool?

Re:It's the waste of... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31371034)

old man.

Nothing to see here.... (2, Informative)

Van Cutter Romney (973766) | more than 4 years ago | (#31370370)

Seen already [slashdot.org] .

...but can we do something about it?

Re:Nothing to see here.... (5, Insightful)

Khomar (529552) | more than 4 years ago | (#31370506)

...but can we do something about it?

Sure. Give them millions of dollars of grant money to do more research while we pass legislation to make manufacturing even more difficult in America so we can export the rest of our jobs to China where they can ignore all environmental laws. Of course, at present rate, the world-wide economy will soon be completely shot, so after we kill off a couple billion people from the resulting unrest, diseases, and famines, our human contribution will be greatly reduced... to negligible effect.

So no. Not really.

Re:Nothing to see here.... (3, Interesting)

PakProtector (115173) | more than 4 years ago | (#31370706)

Parent is insightful, +5.

We have, as a nation, in the name of Corporate Greed and the Maximization of Profit, destroyed our manufacturing sector, which was the world's greatest after WW2. We have ceased to create real Wealth, and now we produce only imaginary Wealth. Not everyone can be a Doctor or a Lawyer or an Engineer. We need actual jobs that actually produce things.

Our entire system is based on a redistribution of wealth; we take it from the many and concentrate it into the hands of the few.

Re:Nothing to see here.... (1)

confused one (671304) | more than 4 years ago | (#31370940)

excuse me... As an Engineer who works in the manufacturing sector, I take umbrage with part of your statement. Engineers produce things. I like building stuff. I just don't work every day on the production line. My hat's off to those folks that do.

That line should probably read "Not Everyone can be a Manager or a Lawyer or an Accountant."

Otherwise, I agree with you, we need to bring the manufacturing jobs back to the U.S.

Old news (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31370396)

Researchers have measured methane in the region before. Of course, now you can't find those reports because they're buried by this press release.

Re:Old news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31370584)

Mod parent up.

For those of us wondering... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31370412)

"A teragram is 1.1 million tons."

This is US (short) tons. Of course it is simply 1 million (metric, real) tons.
Let the unit war begin! Soon we will have passenger jets and mars probes crashing left and right.

Re:For those of us wondering... (1)

Whalou (721698) | more than 4 years ago | (#31370986)

Soon we will have passenger jets and mars probes crashing left and right.

Note to self: Stay in the center.

Scientists find Earths butthole! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31370430)

And it's reeking of methane!

Next task, ask Al Gore why it's so dam cold!

Chuck (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31370434)

Man, it's just a shame global warming isn't real. Then this story may actually have some relevance.

Re:Chuck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31370844)

You are mistaken - global warming is real!

Now it's a draw :)

This will NOT stand!! (4, Funny)

navygeek (1044768) | more than 4 years ago | (#31370442)

Quick! Someone make an impassioned plea to the U.N. to write a strongly worded letter informing the Arctic that its actions are unacceptable and intolerable. We must not abide this clear violation of greenhouse gas limitation policy. Please, be sure the letter is *strongly worded*!!!

Let me get this straight (5, Funny)

kiick (102190) | more than 4 years ago | (#31370446)

The ice cap is farting?

Re:Let me get this straight (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31370664)

No, the whales underneath it are eating too many bean burritos.

Re:Let me get this straight (4, Funny)

McNihil (612243) | more than 4 years ago | (#31370748)

Not only that, it is doing it in our general direction!

Re:Let me get this straight (1)

AdamThor (995520) | more than 4 years ago | (#31370784)

Global Warming Stinks!

Re:Let me get this straight (1)

confused one (671304) | more than 4 years ago | (#31370794)

Which tells us Earth's hind end is the northern hemisphere.

Re:Let me get this straight (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31370860)

I blame the polar cows!

Re:Let me get this straight (1)

Maniacal (12626) | more than 4 years ago | (#31370900)

No. It was the dog.

Re:Let me get this straight (3, Funny)

Wiarumas (919682) | more than 4 years ago | (#31371018)

Yes, the ice cap is farting. Slowly, silent, and deadly. Isn't there a slang word that can be turned into a buzzword for that? Ah, yes: silent but deadly. It should make its way into white papers soon.

Re:Let me get this straight (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31371068)

No, it just bought an iPhone with a fart app to be as popular as the other continents.

Correction (5, Informative)

neuromountain (1255052) | more than 4 years ago | (#31370486)

It should be noted that 100-year global warming potential is around 23 -- the 20-year GWP is actually about 72. So the effects of permafrost thawing and possible release of any clathrate methane and the real warming impact in the short-term will be more extreme.

For clarity (4, Interesting)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 4 years ago | (#31370494)

7 teragrams = 7,000,000 metric tons.

Far easier to think about if you work in units people are used to.

To compare to something in human terms:

The British Emerald is the largest LNG carrier I can find and can carry somewhere in the region of 77500 metric tons of gas (155,000 cubic meters with LNG having a density of about 0.5 kg/L).

So this is something like approximate to the largest natural gas tanker in the world releasing it's entire load into the air about 90 times over.

any corrections to figures welcome.

Re:For clarity (4, Informative)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#31370756)

Only one correction:

So this is something like approximate to the largest natural gas tanker in the world releasing it's entire load into the air about 90 times over per year.

Re:For clarity (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31370870)

The EPA estimates: "Globally, ruminant livestock produce about 80 million metric tons of methane annually"

That's an order of magnitude more than the estimated amount of methane leaking from the Arctic.

Re:For clarity (2, Insightful)

Bartles (1198017) | more than 4 years ago | (#31370954)

Where does the methane that the animals fart out come from? I would think animal methane is carbon neutral.

Inaccurate headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31370498)

The Arctic isn't leaking methane.

The Earth is farting.

Another myth blown. I thought Washington, DC was the Earth's rectum.

It's from the under ocean citys (2, Funny)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#31370518)

It's from the under ocean citys

Oblig: Rapture is leaking! (1)

svtdragon (917476) | more than 4 years ago | (#31370760)

Steinman, I know Medical Pavilion is your manor, but you might want to cogitate on this: ocean water is colder than a witch's tit. You don't heat the pipes, the pipes freeze; pipes freeze, pipes burst. Then Rapture leaks. Now, I realize you're a posh sort of geezer and, frankly, I don't give a toss if you piss or go fishing. But once Rapture starts leaking, the old girl's never gonna stop, and then I'll be sure to tell Ryan he's got you to thank.

-Bill McDonagh

/oblig

Re:It's from the under ocean citys (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#31370770)

Poseidon needs to lay off the Shrimp Masala.

Re:It's from the under ocean citys (3, Funny)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31371106)

Poseidon? Cthulhu need so lay off his Poseidon Masala! ^^

So Much Evidence And Yet Business Interests Resist (4, Insightful)

curmudgeon99 (1040054) | more than 4 years ago | (#31370544)

What a bunch of stupid humans we are. We're killing our planet and yet we have to fight these stupid, selfish, self-serving idiots who want to pollute a little longer, so they can buy that Hummer or McMansion. There is going to be hell to pay and all the Sen James Inhofe's of the world will suddenly disappear into the shadows.

Re:So Much Evidence And Yet Business Interests Res (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31370632)

Why don't you go do something about it and kill off everyone you see.

The Earth will thank you for it...

"Natural" methane? (3, Insightful)

BetterSense (1398915) | more than 4 years ago | (#31370556)

I wonder what exactly "natural" methane is. When it comes from decomposing matter in permafrost, it's "natural" methane, when it comes from the digestion process of human-bred ungulates it's "unnatural" methane? I find it interesting how nothing humans do is considered "natural" despite that we are born here, eat here, shit here, and die here. I wonder just what is so "unnatural" about the human race, especially considering that we now supposedly reject magical thinking that he is divinely created and now believe he is an advanced ape. Yet his impact on his environment is always "unnatural" and impure and somehow different than that of any other species.

Re:"Natural" methane? (2, Insightful)

klingens (147173) | more than 4 years ago | (#31370922)

It is natural insofar as humanity didn't do anything to create it. While the cow herds are expressly bred and raised by humans. A wild cow or zebra or gnu are natural too, even when they produce exactly the same methane.
In Nature, the amount of cattle raised by humans is not sustainable. It only works for us since we specially grow feedstock using fertilizer and pesticide to get a bigger crop than naturally possible.

Sustainable (5, Insightful)

copponex (13876) | more than 4 years ago | (#31370972)

Nature seeks states of equilibrium. The question is not whether we are a part of nature. The question is whether we are hurtling the earth's climate toward a state of equilibrium that destroys our civilization.

This does not require the entire earth to become inhospitable. But if there are enough strains on world resources, it will end up putting us through decades of misery which may result in catastrophic wars, food shortages, and the loss of all coastal communities.

Famines have killed millions in the past, and are still killing millions in Africa. Right now we have easily exploitable resources that allow us to enjoy a certain quality of life, but we are dangerously close to depleting a number of those resources to new low states of equilibrium. Add in unpredictable droughts, rising sea levels, and the loss of many glaciers that supply freshwater through natural processes, and you can see why people are worried.

Re:"Natural" methane? (1)

Bartles (1198017) | more than 4 years ago | (#31370988)

A natural source of CO2 is a source than cannot be taxed, regulated, or otherwise controlled by people claiming salvation from the impending apocalypse. That is the only distinction.

And so (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31370570)

am I.

Who farted??? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31370610)

Mother Earth!!! *shocked look* *holds nose in disgust*

Factoid: My captcha is "intimacy" - not something normally associated with passing gas.

A simple question. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31370620)

Earth radiates at around 10 micrometers wavelength. As far as I can tell, methane has no absorption bands near there. So, why is it reckoned that methane is a potent greenhouse gas? Curious minds want to know.

Re:A simple question. (5, Informative)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 4 years ago | (#31370820)

Earth radiates at around 10 micrometers wavelength. As far as I can tell, methane has no absorption bands near there. So, why is it reckoned that methane is a potent greenhouse gas? Curious minds want to know.

Three responses come to mind:

1) Earth radiates across a range of wavelengths, not at a sharp 10 micron peak.

2) Methane is supposed to have 25x the radiative forcing of CO2 per unit mass. A methane molecule has a mass 16/44 that of carbon dioxide, so a kg of methane produces almost 3x the molecules produced by a kg of carbon dioxide.

3) A particular absorption peak or the peak emission wavelength doesn't matter. The important thing is the power change caused by the integral over all wavelengths of absorption multiplied by emission energy at each wavelength. Here that is for methane. [wikipedia.org]

Suicidal? (1)

D Ninja (825055) | more than 4 years ago | (#31370778)

If I remember correctly, there was a story on here recently about cows that produce less methane and, thus, are better for the environment and won't cause global warming. So, is the fact that the Arctic releasing methane proof that it is suicidal? (Or maybe the Arctic is just Mother Nature farting a little...)

Bovine emissions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31370782)

They failed to mention that another large source of methane is the digestive systems of all of the worlds bovine.

Stop Decomposition! (1)

Ngarrang (1023425) | more than 4 years ago | (#31370806)

It is destroying our planet!

OMG (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31370878)

we're all going to die...

What's the big deal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31370978)

I have teragram emissions every time I eat Taco Bell.
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