As Humans Squabble, Nature Starts to Vent!

Tue, 2008-09-23 06:37Ross Gelbspan
Ross Gelbspan's picture

As Humans Squabble, Nature Starts to Vent!

The first evidence that millions of tons of a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide is being released into the atmosphere from beneath the Arctic seabed has been discovered by scientists.

Underground stores of methane are important because scientists believe their sudden release has in the past been responsible for rapid increases in global temperatures, dramatic changes to the climate, and even the mass extinction of species. In the past few days, researchers have seen areas of sea foaming with gas bubbling up through “methane chimneys” rising from the sea floor.

Many scientists fear the release of methane could accelerate global warming in a giant positive feedback where more atmospheric methane causes higher temperatures, leading to further permafrost melting and the release of yet more methane.

*Photo provided by Dave Cartier under the Flickr creative commons license. 

Comments

Bring it on! Will be nice not to have to heat my home in the winter and have a longer growing season.

positive feedback loop? meaning they expect we are going to keep warming until we become Venus or something? Why didn’t that happen in the MWP?

especially up there. That’s the first point. The second is that positive feedbacks need not be infinite. Consider any of the various positive feedbacks that occur in nature – I can’t think of any that continues unbounded. This doesn’t mean we should ignore it any more than the fact that the oxytocin positive feedback ends means that it is negligible (it ends when a baby is born).

Without references this appears alarmist. Give us references!

Dill Weed

on the link in the story, DW – it will take you to the article that names the sources.

Fern Mackenzie

RUN!!!!!!!!
Everybody RUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is it….. The big one!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

we need technology to harvest this stuff and burn it in power plants or cars. Wonder if that’s a possibility.

methane clathrates – it probably makes more sense to get at them before they bubble up.