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Massive Methane Release In the Arctic Region

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the polar-bears-have-bad-diets dept.

Earth 264

Taco Cowboy writes "Arctic methane release is a well recorded phenomenon. Methane stored in both permafrost (which is melting) and methane hydrates (methane trapped in marine reservoirs) are vulnerable to being released into the atmosphere as the planet warms. However, researchers who are trying to map atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations on a global basis have discovered that the amount of methane emissions in the Arctic region do not total up. Further research revealed that significant amounts of methane releases came from the Arctic ocean (abstract) — as much as 2 milligrams of the gas is released per square meter of ocean, each day — presumably by marine bacteria surviving in low-nutrient environments."

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Methane release (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39785907)

LOL.

frist psot

Re:Methane release (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39786499)

Someone must have a bad case of the taco shits in the arctic circle. Did someone deport a bunch of Mexicans up there?

It has to be... (2, Funny)

show me altoids (1183399) | more than 2 years ago | (#39785919)

Algae farts!

Re:It has to be... (3, Funny)

don depresor (1152631) | more than 2 years ago | (#39785949)

Not algae, Chtulhu farts!!!

Re:It has to be... (1)

Drey (1420) | more than 2 years ago | (#39786005)

I'd say shoggoths, if it were Antarctica.

Re:It has to be... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39786081)

Soooo coool *urp*

Re:It has to be... (4, Funny)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 2 years ago | (#39787425)

Let's see:
Red Sox wins World Series (2004 and 2007): check
Duke Nukem Forever released (2011): check
Dick Clark dies (2012): check
Antarctica releases methane gases (2012): check

The Mayans were right!

Re:It has to be... (1)

14erCleaner (745600) | more than 2 years ago | (#39786151)

It's the first indicator of an invasion from Titan [popsci.com] ! Kurt Vonnegut foresaw this happening decades ago.

positive feedback loop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39786025)

Unstoppable positive feedback loop ? So, is it too late to do anything ?

Re:positive feedback loop (2, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | more than 2 years ago | (#39786073)

Shhh. It's hard enough to get deniers(I hate that term, is there an less biased term that doesn't give them undue credibility like "skeptic" does) to understand the concept of a second derivative, and its importance to the whole thing. Involving diff-eq is just going to lose even more.

Re:positive feedback loop (-1, Troll)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39786191)

(I hate that term, is there an less biased term that doesn't give them undue credibility like "skeptic" does)

Anyone who thinks the word "skeptic" [reference.com] lends credibility is a dolt who fails at English, and should be treated as such.

Re:positive feedback loop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39786261)

It is you, my friend, who have failed at communicating why skeptic is somehow derogatory (or neutral? I am quite lost why skeptic is so obviously a negative attribute).

Re:positive feedback loop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39786283)

Scaregoat.

Re:positive feedback loop (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39786787)

Anyone who thinks the word "skeptic" [reference.com] lends credibility is a dolt who fails at English, and should be treated as such.

I'm skeptical of your understanding of the English language.

Re:positive feedback loop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39787267)

Carl would disagree with you most strongly if he were still with us and he was not a dolt.

Re:positive feedback loop (2)

akboss (823334) | more than 2 years ago | (#39787435)

(I hate that term, is there an less biased term that doesn't give them undue credibility like "skeptic" does)

Anyone who thinks the word "skeptic" [reference.com] lends credibility is a dolt who fails at English, and should be treated as such.

you even provided a link to the meaning of the word yet you failed to grasp how your meaning isnt correct.

1. a person who questions the validity or authenticity of something purporting to be factual. 2. a person who maintains a doubting attitude, as toward values, plans, statements, or the character of others.

Re:positive feedback loop (1)

repapetilto (1219852) | more than 2 years ago | (#39786635)

Most people who "believe in" AGW are the same...

Re:positive feedback loop (2)

i kan reed (749298) | more than 2 years ago | (#39787115)

Could you clarify? Is there some sort of skillset that you feel is lacking in the observations of people who would identify AGW as factual? I, of course, don't mean "people in the street" kind of way, but people making public arguments about AGW?

What I observe in debates I've seen are people saying things like changes in temperature exist in a natural cycle, we've seen them before, and that current temperatures are not unprecedented in nature. But these observations neglect the incredibly high second derivative of temperature over time in the past century or two.

Re:positive feedback loop (1, Informative)

HornWumpus (783565) | more than 2 years ago | (#39787403)

Second derivative? You are just repeating what you have heard! The data is noisy. The second derivative is much noisier.

You are thinking of the first derivative. Have you even passed real calculus? (not the business/CS major version)

Re:positive feedback loop (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39786639)

Shhh. It's hard enough to get deniers(I hate that term, is there an less biased term that doesn't give them undue credibility like "skeptic" does)

'False skeptic' is an accurate term for many deniers. They claim to be skeptical, but aren't willing to look at all the evidence as a true skeptic would do. Instead many strategically (or subconsciously) select the bit's and pieces that serve their goal of undermining the larger body of evidence for anthropogenic climate change. A true skeptic is open to being convinced by the evidence.
Parent post:

Re:positive feedback loop (2)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 2 years ago | (#39787067)

What wrong with calling them deniers? You have a bias against them, an entirely appropriate bias based on their behavior, so why try to hide it?

Re:positive feedback loop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39787555)

Shhh. It's hard enough to get deniers(I hate that term, is there an less biased term that doesn't give them undue credibility like "skeptic" does) to understand the concept of a second derivative, and its importance to the whole thing. Involving diff-eq is just going to lose even more.

You mean like the noted environmentalist James Lovelock: [wikipedia.org]

The problem is we don’t know what the climate is doing. We thought we knew 20 years ago. That led to some alarmist books – mine included – because it looked clear-cut, but it hasn’t happened,” Lovelock saidThe world has not warmed up very much since the millennium. Twelve years is a reasonable time ... it (the temperature) has stayed almost constant, whereas it should have been rising - carbon dioxide is rising, no question about that.

u kan reed, but u kant think.

Re:positive feedback loop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39786413)

Of course there's something we can do! If we assume the worst case scenario, and take this as a sign that we're about to see anther Permian-Triassic extinction event, we can start planning to live in a world that doesn't have enough oxygen for us to breathe over the next million years or so. We can deal with that. We have the technology. Of course, not being able to go outside without struggling for breath will suck, but we can deal with that too.

We might also consider trying to grab samples of absolutely every species we can see, and freeze them all somewhere. Many copies in many places. Some of the critters out there are quite cute and worth saving.

Re:positive feedback loop (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | more than 2 years ago | (#39787433)

When they come to get a few AC's please volunteer to be frozen.

Re:positive feedback loop (5, Interesting)

squidflakes (905524) | more than 2 years ago | (#39786497)

Its pretty much too late to do anything useful. There are some way out there schemes but the most positive effect for species survival now is figuring out how to sustain our population on a warming Earth. We're going to have to get used to more extreme weather limits and redo our calculations and weather models for starters.

I suspect that cephalopods are about to be in for a pretty wild ride. As the ocean acidifies, shell fish will have less and less protection as the calcium carbonate that makes up the bulk of their shells gets dissolved more rapidly than they can replace it. This may lead to a population boom which will be quickly turn in to a starvation scenario.

If this happens, large marine predatory fish will go through a smaller version of this, which could be followed by the replacement of these fish in their niche by large predatory cephalopods. (most likely the D. gigas or A. dux)

Of course, that's just a guess. Everything in the ocean that relies on calcium carbonate is in for a rough time. This includes fish teeth and cephalopod beaks.

Another whammy is that as the ocean acidifies, the calcium carbonate reacts with the acid to form calcium bicarbonate and carbon dioxide, further increasing the saturation of the surrounding water resulting in a lower pH and a more intense feedback loop.

Re:positive feedback loop (3, Insightful)

triffid_98 (899609) | more than 2 years ago | (#39786937)

Its pretty much too late to do anything useful. There are some way out there schemes but the most positive effect for species survival now is figuring out how to sustain our population on a warming Earth.

Nonsense. Once we finally run out of food and drinking water the inevitable nuclear holocaust should solve global warming straight away. Which works out great because we're overdue for both another global extinction event and another ice age. Three birds with one stone!

Re:positive feedback loop (1)

squidflakes (905524) | more than 2 years ago | (#39787061)

Its so simple! Its like we should have encouraged global nuclear war in the 80s instead of all of this namby-pamby SALT non-sense and wall removal.

Wow, what fools we were.

Re:positive feedback loop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39787287)

> I suspect that cephalopods are about to be in for a pretty wild ride. [...] This may lead to a population boom which will be quickly turn in to a starvation scenario.

I suggest seeing post re: Cthulhu above, and ask yourself - starvation scenario, or evolutionary push toward finally rising from the depths to devour / enslave our pitiful species?

Re:positive feedback loop (2)

Ichijo (607641) | more than 2 years ago | (#39787333)

Its pretty much too late to do anything useful. There are some way out there schemes but the most positive effect for species survival now is figuring out how to sustain our population on a warming Earth.

You mean like moving from sprawling, single family ranch-style homes [wikipedia.org] , which are expensive to cool, into the city? And planting trees and other vegetation in order to reduce the urban heat island effect? And switching to energy efficient appliances and using them at night in order to reduce cooling costs?

Seems the way to sustain our population on a warming earth is to do what we should have been doing all along.

Re:positive feedback loop (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#39787641)

It will stop eventually at a new equilibrium. Of course the coral reefs and many other species will be extinct but hey, mass extinctions happen all the time on this rock.

Submitter 'Taco Cowboy' is responsible.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39786043)

Too many tacos...

Methane Trapped in Ice (1)

na1led (1030470) | more than 2 years ago | (#39786071)

I bet a good amount is trapped in all that Arctic Ice. Human's also contribute a large part with Live Stocks, and Land Fills

Re:Methane Trapped in Ice (3, Interesting)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39786655)

Good news: We're still in the middle of an ice age. It's not as hot now as it was 2.5 million years ago (when there was no ice on the poles).

Re:Methane Trapped in Ice (1)

na1led (1030470) | more than 2 years ago | (#39786739)

Dinosaurs had tall trees for shade, not like the hot tar roads and black roof tops we have in the city.

Bottle it... (1)

unixisc (2429386) | more than 2 years ago | (#39786847)

...distribute it to all energy importing countries, and address as much of their energy needs as possible that way.

Ocean gun? (4, Interesting)

damburger (981828) | more than 2 years ago | (#39786085)

People have been concerned about the possibility of a Clathrate gun for a while. Is this another potentially lethal feedback loop?

And if it fires, or has already fired, will we notice immediately?

Re:Ocean gun? (1)

whathappenedtomonday (581634) | more than 2 years ago | (#39786333)

I wonder about that, too, but it looking at this [sciencemag.org] , it seems that watching ocean temperatures might help clear things up, despite of the underlying mechanisms seeming way too complicated for even advanced science and models to predict / assess.

Ninety-three percent of the heat trapped by increasing greenhouse gases goes into warming the ocean, not the atmosphere. So taking the ocean's temperature is the most comprehensive way to monitor global warming.

Re:Ocean gun? (1, Troll)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39786469)

>>>will we notice immediately?

It will be just like that movie Day After Tomorrow, where blizzard hurricanes suck the cold air out of the stratosphere and freeze people in mere seconds.

kidding..... The methane will get eaten by bacteria and then it will no longer be an issue.

I don't know what to believe any more. First I hear the ice poles are shrinking, and now I hear the icecaps are actually expanding in range. Global Warming should be renamed Global WTF.

Re:Ocean gun? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39786711)

now I hear the icecaps are actually expanding in range

Citation needed.

Re:Ocean gun? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39786789)

now I hear the icecaps are actually expanding in range

Citation needed.

He doesn't need one, you're responding to Glenn Beck. He's been awful lonely with no one to troll now that he's no longer on TV ... you say those hateful words one more time and so help him god he will burst out blubbering and sobbing about our future and your lack of patriotism. You communist!

Re:Ocean gun? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39786905)

The best way to monitor the state of scientific knowledge is to stick to reputable scientific publications and ignore what you read in the popular/mainstream media. Nature and Scientific American are good. If you are really into it, read the actual peer-reviews science.

If you do that, you will probably find less than a handful of published scientists in the field of study question the reality of man-made climate change (>3%). (And those few also happen to receive money from oil interests. Some of those few also claimed cigarette smoke isn't so bad... after receiving money from the tobacco industry.)

Re:Ocean gun? (1)

s.petry (762400) | more than 2 years ago | (#39787041)

Instead of taking Fox News or some other biased opinion as fact, simply search for and find results for yourself. Honestly, it's not that difficult since there are countless sources of data related to Global Warming.

It is worth pointing out that there are very sick people in the world that churn out papers claiming that Science is false. Read the science, not papers declaring Science to be wrong.

Last point: Even that same sick set of people, that want money more than anything else (yes, even a home for their grandchildren) now agree that Global warming is a fact. The argument has turned to whether or not people are responsible for it.

Re:Ocean gun? (0)

b4dc0d3r (1268512) | more than 2 years ago | (#39787499)

"Global Warming" has already been renamed "Climate Change". It initially looked like a warming trend, but the more we study the more we come to the conclusion that everything is relative. The only thing we know for sure is the climate is changing.

Re:Ocean gun? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#39787515)

I don't know where you've read that the icecaps are expanding, but wherever it is, stop reading it. It's only contributing to your ignorance.

Perhaps what you're referring to is the high altitude glaciers growing? And you're confusing it with the ice caps?

Re:Ocean gun? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39786715)

People have been concerned

Not the ones who are okay with Earth's average temperature steadily rising ...

Re:Ocean gun? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39787039)

Quote: People have been concerned about the possibility of a Clathrate gun for a while. Is this another potentially lethal feedback loop?
And if it fires, or has already fired, will we notice immediately?

Yes potentially. It has far more volume of discharge than bacteria or ice melt. But the discharge from any source has a feedback effect on the ice, and after that is depleted, the Clathrate gun (underwater guyser) and bacteria continue unmoderated as well. This is a real thing.

If the methane can be collected and liquified, the value of it as an energy source at $12 per mBTU would more than cover the cost of collection.

JJ

Re:Ocean gun? (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 2 years ago | (#39787449)

I do not know.
Neither I think [ted.com] does anyone else.
Maybe we should find out.

rot (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#39786135)

How much methane can you get by rotting stuff once it warms up enough to rot? Or is that the simple words version of "stored in ... permafrost"

Re:rot (4, Informative)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 2 years ago | (#39786277)

The rotting has long since happened. The most likely source are methane clathrates sequestered for ages and now getting destabilized.

Re:rot (-1, Flamebait)

HornWumpus (783565) | more than 2 years ago | (#39786419)

For definitions of 'most likely' that amount to 'best grant proposal scare story'.

The most likely explanation is that this is normal and is only just being observed and measured for the first time.

Re:rot (3, Insightful)

squidflakes (905524) | more than 2 years ago | (#39786523)

Its normal in that this has happened before in the past. The difference is that humans weren't depending on living on the Earth at the time.

Re:rot (4, Funny)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 2 years ago | (#39786801)

Sure. Grant money is the sole motivator of all scientific endeavor. All that cash must be the reason why all scientists are driving around in their shiny Ferraris, two bitches alternatingly sucking their cocks all the time, while snorting coke from the dashboard. Or something like that. Fascinating to see how the "poisoning the well" smear campaign by the usual conservative think tanks permeates the debate these days.

Re:rot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39787097)

Did you actually read the article before commenting? It sounds as though you've already decided you will only believe the results of this study if it supports your point of view.

Re:rot (0)

HornWumpus (783565) | more than 2 years ago | (#39787543)

Did you? Did any of the chicken littles?

Count the number of idiots on this forum who are convinced this is an 'unstoppable positive feedback loop', then re-read your own post.

excuse me. (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39786171)

no comment

BRAAAAAAP (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39786189)

Excuse me

Love,
Mother Earth

Not only Earth (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39786211)

Uranus also emits a lot of methane.

Sorry... (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39786215)

Too much hummus.

*BRAAAP*

Pardon.

Except... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39786233)

Except the planet has not been warming for the past 15 years. IIRC Phil Jones of the University of East Anglia CRU said this during an interview a year or two ago.

Re:Except... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39786563)

Wrong.

Re:Except... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39786839)

Right

methane ice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39786253)

Maybe the methane ice under the sea has started to melt? Where ever it's coming from, this will accelerate global warming exponentially..

global farting (1)

harvey the nerd (582806) | more than 2 years ago | (#39786273)

Everything, -body farts, including good ole' Mother Earth. pffffft, now another methane hydrate crystal. Sheep, swamps, anaerobic groundwaters, anaerobic seawaters....methane is a child of Nature. Get over it.

Re:global farting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39786443)

Who exactly are you telling to get over it, exactly? All the other comments are pretty mature, reasonable, and on topic. Projecting, maybe?

Methane is bad stuff (3, Informative)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | more than 2 years ago | (#39786297)

20 times better at trapping heat in the atmosphere. Warmer planet = more melting permafrost = more methane release = warmer planet.

http://www.epa.gov/methane/ [epa.gov]

Re:Methane is bad stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39786511)

20 times better at trapping heat in the atmosphere. Warmer planet = more melting permafrost = more methane release = warmer planet.

http://www.epa.gov/methane/ [epa.gov]

So why hasn't a feedback loop destroyed the earth?

Re:Methane is bad stuff (2)

coinreturn (617535) | more than 2 years ago | (#39786573)

20 times better at trapping heat in the atmosphere. Warmer planet = more melting permafrost = more methane release = warmer planet.

http://www.epa.gov/methane/ [epa.gov]

So why hasn't a feedback loop destroyed the earth?

The time constant > your lifetime.

Re:Methane is bad stuff (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39786755)

No, you're being a pedant. If what you're saying is true, Earth should already be like Venus is today, and should have been so millions of years ago.

It was a mostly tropical planet in dinosaur times. Why did it cool off again? Your prediction is that once it gets warm, it keeps getting warmer and warmer and warmer until it becomes a new sun, or whatever absurd conclusion you're making.

This is the most annoying thing about this "global warming" debate. It's a matter of politics now, not science. And the only politics people understand anymore is black vs white, far left vs far right.

Real sciences like climatology don't work that way. There are tons of variables, there's tons of experiments to run, there's a ton left to learn.

But instead you'd rather flip the bird at a guy who owns an SUV, blame everything on him, then look at your own smug face in the mirror while you beat off.

Because that's in line with your politics. Learning things, and trying to understand what is actually happening is not.

And it's like this now on every issue, big or small.

Idiocracy? We're living it.

Oh by the way, you're a liberal hippie fag, dont reply, because everything you say is either DEAD WRONG, or just self-masturbatory preaching to the choir.

The real truth is, you don't know. It is beyond your comprehension.

Re:Methane is bad stuff (1)

na1led (1030470) | more than 2 years ago | (#39787025)

If Earth had no Humans, I'm sure the environment would balance itself out, but with 7 Billion people, and all the damage we've done, I don't think the pendulum will be swing back anytime soon. Human's have already cut down more than a third of the forest, and we've polluted the oceans enough to increase the acidic level a significant amount. Look around you, you're not surrounded by jungle, it's millions of roads and black rooftops. We are destroying the planet, and if you think otherwise, then your the idiot fool!

Re:Methane is bad stuff (1)

MikeyC01 (231948) | more than 2 years ago | (#39787445)

Assuming the environment can "balance itself out", could "global warming" be the environment's way to increase the temperate zones on the planet in order to allow for more foliage to grow? Could the reported excess CO2 be the environment's response to feed the plant life in these new growing areas? Maybe the environment was cold and created homo sapiens to warm things up?

Maybe god created us because he wanted plastic?

*shrug*

Re:Methane is bad stuff (3, Insightful)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 2 years ago | (#39787281)

If what you're saying is true, Earth should already be like Venus is today, and should have been so millions of years ago.

No, what he's saying is that there is a positive feedback mechanism that will keep going until a particular part of that mechanism stops running. That would be the supply of methane in permafrost and at the bottom of the ocean.

Your prediction is that once it gets warm, it keeps getting warmer and warmer and warmer until it becomes a new sun, or whatever absurd conclusion you're making.

Straw man and hyperbole. He didn't say that. Furthermore, you're the only one making absurd predictions - and putting them in the mouths of other people.

But instead you'd rather flip the bird at a guy who owns an SUV, blame everything on him, then look at your own smug face in the mirror while you beat off.

No idea how you got that from a comment that essentially says "hey, you're timescale assessment is wrong." Could you be projecting?

Oh by the way, you're a liberal hippie fag, dont reply, because everything you say is either DEAD WRONG, or just self-masturbatory preaching to the choir.

Ignoring the liberal application of random insults and assumptions, you seem to a) engage in the same black-and-white thinking you were decrying two sentences earlier, and b) equate being right with self-masturbatory preaching. Can't handle the truth, can you?

The funny part is that you will be the least prepared for the coming trouble. Have fun. Liberals have guns, too.

Re:Methane is bad stuff (0)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 2 years ago | (#39787559)

Liberals have guns, too.

Not good liberals. All good liberals know that only government officials (and the bodyguards of famous, wealthy people) should be allowed to possess guns.

Re:Methane is bad stuff (2)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | more than 2 years ago | (#39786669)

Sorry, are you attempting to refute the possibility of such a feedback loop by pointing out that it hasn't happened yet?

Why not argue that bullets can't kill you because you've never been shot?

Re:Methane is bad stuff (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 2 years ago | (#39787497)

I can't speak for the grandparent, but no, it's more like arguing that because you didn't die from a bullet wound to the leg, you are unlikely to die from a subsequent bullet wound to the leg. Millions of years ago, the primordial atmosphere is believed to have been mostly methane and CO2. From that starting point, nature brought it to where it is today. In the absence of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, then, the suggestion that pushing it a fraction of the way back towards that state will cause a runaway greenhouse reaction when it did not occur under similar conditions in the distant past seems utterly absurd on the surface. It's an unbelievably extraordinary claim that would require extraordinary proof.

I don't refute that humans have changed the climate on Earth. I might even believe that if we continue to do what we're doing now, we may screw things up badly enough to make us uncomfortable as a species. However, given Earth's history, I'd rate the chances of a runaway greenhouse effect as somewhere between zero and... well... zero with some almost infinitesimally small margin of error. The odds are so small so as to be essentially a measurement error. It is billions of times more likely that some computer model overflowed the precision of a floating point value somewhere....

Re:Methane is bad stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39786621)

I believe the hype about methane is bunch of BS.

1. Methane half life in the atmosphere is only a few years to maybe a decade or two.
2. During that period, it will trap more heat than CO2 alone and it will increase temperature faster.
3. But when it disappears, CO2 will remain in the carbon cycle for millenia.

The only thing that changes is instead of going from pre-industrial equilibrium A to max-CO2 concentration equilibrium B in a sort of asymptotic function, the temperature will jump much faster toward B earlier in the curve. So instead of warming 10C over 1000 years, it will warm 5C over next 50-100 years, and then slow down and crawl up much slower towards 10C increase.

The bottom line, the only thing "worrying" is that AGW deniers will live to see their ignorance. I can live with that.

Heck, it may even allow the society to *notice* the big problem that AGW represents before things get really bad because of CO2 - and CO2 is much more difficult to remove from atmosphere than methane!

Re:Methane is bad stuff (0)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 2 years ago | (#39786895)

20 times better at trapping heat in the atmosphere. Warmer planet = more melting permafrost = more methane release = warmer planet.

http://www.epa.gov/methane/ [epa.gov]

From your source:

Methane (CH4) is a greenhouse gas that remains in the atmosphere for approximately 9-15 years. Methane is over 20 times more effective in trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide (CO2) over a 100-year period and is emitted from a variety of natural and human-influenced sources. Human-influenced sources include landfills, natural gas and petroleum systems, agricultural activities, coal mining, stationary and mobile combustion, wastewater treatment, and certain industrial process.

"Methane is over 20 times more effective in trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide (CO2) over a 100-year period" and "Methane (CH4) is a greenhouse gas that remains in the atmosphere for approximately 9-15 years".

Am I the only one who sees a huge logic flaw in that 100-year figure given the 9-15 year figure? How do the intelligent people here on Slashdot keep their bullshit meter from flying off the handle?

Re:Methane is bad stuff (1)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 2 years ago | (#39787171)

20 times better at trapping heat in the atmosphere. Warmer planet = more melting permafrost = more methane release = warmer planet.

http://www.epa.gov/methane/ [epa.gov]

From your source:

Methane (CH4) is a greenhouse gas that remains in the atmosphere for approximately 9-15 years. Methane is over 20 times more effective in trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide (CO2) over a 100-year period and is emitted from a variety of natural and human-influenced sources. Human-influenced sources include landfills, natural gas and petroleum systems, agricultural activities, coal mining, stationary and mobile combustion, wastewater treatment, and certain industrial process.

"Methane is over 20 times more effective in trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide (CO2) over a 100-year period" and "Methane (CH4) is a greenhouse gas that remains in the atmosphere for approximately 9-15 years".

Am I the only one who sees a huge logic flaw in that 100-year figure given the 9-15 year figure? How do the intelligent people here on Slashdot keep their bullshit meter from flying off the handle?

Modding this "Overrated" does not make it any less true.

Re:Methane is bad stuff (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 2 years ago | (#39787043)

The fine summary suggested this is marine bacteria farts rather than stored methane from clathrates being released.

I would be a lot more worried if it were clathrates.

Weed need SIMPLE answers to questions... (2)

gregmark (750089) | more than 2 years ago | (#39786301)

... that I think naturally come up with stories like this. Despite my science background from college (marine bio, actually, but I never use it), I find it hard to answer questions that true science novices might have such as:

(o) Why is methane bad? It's one of the gases that get trapped in the atmosphere and prevent light from escaping, which warms the planet. Um... I think.

(o) If it floats ups into the upper atmosphere, doesn't it just float into space? Uh.... no. Gravity.... I think.

(o) So those trapped gases must have been in the air at some point, millions of years ago, and then planet did just fine. So what's there to worry about? Uh.....

Sounds great it my brain, but when I vocalize it I realize how easy it is for uninitiated to suspect bullshit and assume there isn't anything to worry about, that this is just a ploy to funnel more money into the coffers of the science research community. Very frustrating.

Re:Weed need SIMPLE answers to questions... (4, Informative)

TheSeventh (824276) | more than 2 years ago | (#39786571)

(o) So those trapped gases must have been in the air at some point, millions of years ago, and then planet did just fine. So what's there to worry about? Uh.....

Yeah, the planet did fine, but it didn't support human life at the time. So, if human life is something you would like supported, then maybe there is a problem.

Re:Weed need SIMPLE answers to questions... (4, Insightful)

Caratted (806506) | more than 2 years ago | (#39786651)

Millions of years ago, the climate (read: atmosphere) would've killed large mammals reliant on an oxygen rich environment (which is what is happening now, slowly but surely). The problem isn't that life would not be able to "get by just fine." It's that if the geology of Earth shifts back towards a carbon-rich environment, it won't be conducive to living comfortably, as a human. This is my understanding, anyway.

The argument over whether or not it is a natural occurance is a big one (and worth having, IMO), but global warming nay-sayers choose to be ignorant of the fact that the "natural" environment of yester-millenia would literally kill them in a few short, labored gasps.

Re:Weed need SIMPLE answers to questions... (1)

na1led (1030470) | more than 2 years ago | (#39786797)

They didn't have millions of roads and buildings - Millions of years ago. Even if it was warmer back then, at least you had some good shade. I don't think all the tar roads, and black roof tops are going to do well with 140F temperatures.

Re:Weed need SIMPLE answers to questions... (1)

Caratted (806506) | more than 2 years ago | (#39787143)

Again, that's not really the problem. It's not about whether or not we are the causation. The problem is that if the atmosphere shifts back towards the state it was in pre-ice age, we are going to be unable to breathe as we know it. The breathing masks you see in so much SF, that you can only do without for so long? They're based in some reality.

Re:Weed need SIMPLE answers to questions... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39786915)

Just speculating here... CO2 is present in the atmosphere in trace amounts, maybe 400ppm. If all the Carbon trapped in the crust was returned to the atmosphere (from whence it came, by the way) as CO2, I don't think mammalian respiration would be affected. The change in available O2 would be very small.

Re:Weed need SIMPLE answers to questions... (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#39786719)

If you're a marine bio major you should know 1 and 3. Especially 3.

Re:Weed need SIMPLE answers to questions... (1, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 2 years ago | (#39786807)

(o) So those trapped gases must have been in the air at some point, millions of years ago, and then planet did just fine. So what's there to worry about? Uh.....

Nothing if you're a Gaea-worshiping hippie. Mother Earth will be just fine.

Most of us have concerns a lot more specific than just "the planet" doing fine.

Stupid title (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39786385)

Makes it sound like there was just a MASSIVE release of methane, when that isn't what the article is about.

Answers the question... (1)

JestersGrind (2549938) | more than 2 years ago | (#39786431)

What happens moments after Santa says pull my finger?

Pardon Me (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 2 years ago | (#39786455)

I assumed that the north pole would be far enough away from polite society to let loose, but apparently I've just made an ass of myself once again.

shopping nike free 2 (-1, Offtopic)

rickshaw_boy (2591203) | more than 2 years ago | (#39786531)

free run 2 [freerunsall.com]

What can I say? (1)

RazorRaiser (895600) | more than 2 years ago | (#39786533)

Chilli is good cold weather food.

Ah ha (1)

strikeleader (937501) | more than 2 years ago | (#39786535)

So now Al Gore can blame the fish for global warming.

nike free run (-1, Offtopic)

rickshaw_boy (2591203) | more than 2 years ago | (#39786565)

nike free runs = www.freerunsall.com

Not actually massive ... (1)

s21825 (946313) | more than 2 years ago | (#39786645)

From the friendly article: “While the methane levels we detected weren’t particularly large, the potential source region, the Arctic Ocean, is vast, so our finding could represent a noticeable new global source of methane,”

Let's use it (1)

phorm (591458) | more than 2 years ago | (#39786675)

How combustible is high-pressure methane VS something like propane?
Most "natural gas" contains a fairly significant chunk of methane and is often piped for home furnaces, stoves, heaters, etc.
So with all this methane, why not find a way to capture, compress, and use it. Seems that this algae is essentially doing what may of the biogas projects are intended for anyways.

Some perspective (5, Informative)

nukeade (583009) | more than 2 years ago | (#39786699)

So I wondered just how much methane 2 mg/m^2/day is, and here's the breakdown:

2 mg/m^2/day times the area of the Arctic ocean (13,986,000 km^2) is 27,972,000 kg/day, or about 10.2 Tg/year.

10.2 Tg/year can be compared on this chart [wikipedia.org] to other sources. This is not an insignificant amount, but is an order of magnitude less than just the contribution from farm animals.

I'm not a climate scientist, and can't say what this may or may not mean for AGW, but it puts the size of the emission into perspective.

NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT! Methane is NATURAL! (1)

StefanJ (88986) | more than 2 years ago | (#39786923)

Yes, it's a perfectly NATURAL gas! Environmentalist commie tree huggers who say otherwise are HYPOCRITES who actually HATE NATURE!

Our BODIES produce methane all the time, to GREAT COMEDIC EFFECT!

And it's PLANT FOOD! (Assuming the plants are from Zeta Gamma VII, which happens to be the home world of our new alien terraforming overlords.)

Lots of jokes but the truth less funny (4, Insightful)

Grayhand (2610049) | more than 2 years ago | (#39787017)

No need to waste time over the cause, I think those two camps are entrenched and few will change their minds on the actual cause. The fact is the feedback loop is already starting which means it's likely self-perpetuating or soon will be. It also means the increase can be much greater than any of the projections since no one is sure how much methane can be released so most haven't factored it in to projections. It's unlikely that the climate change can be stopped but that's no reason to not limit CO2. There was always a much bigger issue that rarely gets mentioned and that's ocean acidification. Acid oceans kill fish and coral and we don't get our oxygen and food from rain forests we get most of the oxygen and a lot of our food from the oceans so killing them is a bad idea.

I thought I smelled something. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39787117)

I thought I smelled something.

Vladinator? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39787419)

Perhaps Vlad, Reza, and Marticock moved up there?

It is a possibility you know

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