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Br Cornelius

Acceleration of Methane release

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http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/shock-as-retreat-of-arctic-sea-ice-releases-deadly-greenhouse-gas-6276134.html

Just as the scientists have been predicting would happen - tipping points anyone.

The reason the scientists have been concerned so far, despite the relatively minor effects of AGW up to now, is because they understand that the tipping points been described in this article will mean that the earths climate will suddenly and unexpectedly lurch into another stable meta-state - which is almost totally impossible to predict and plan for.

Br Cornelius

Edited by Br Cornelius

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http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/shock-as-retreat-of-arctic-sea-ice-releases-deadly-greenhouse-gas-6276134.html

Just as the scientists have been predicting would happen - tipping points anyone.

The reason the scientists have been concerned so far, despite the relatively minor effects of AGW up to now, is because they understand that the tipping points been described in this article will mean that the earths climate will suddenly and unexpectedly lurch into another stable meta-state - which is almost totally impossible to predict and plan for.

Br Cornelius

Now for the question:

Is this something new, or are we just discovering something that has been ongoing for decades, or even centuries?

If it is an on-going process, the results don't mean much. But if it is a new development, it could mean the climate system has been destabilized, that warming is now self-perpetuating. And that could well mean there is no way to stop it.

Either way, looks like some more research is in order. We should be watching for increases in atmospheric methane for confirmation.

Doug

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Sorry chaps, it was me. Pickled egg & beer for lunch

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from the article

"Scientists estimate that there are hundreds of millions of tonnes of methane gas locked away beneath the Arctic permafrost, which extends from the mainland into the seabed of the relatively shallow sea of the East Siberian Arctic Shelf"

methane quickly breaks down in the atmosphere to co2 in a few years.

multiply "hundreds of millions of tons" by 1.76 to get the co2 quantity from the methane.

so how much is "hundreds of millions of tons" of co2?

not much - about the same volcanoes emit every year, and a hundred times less than human emissions of co2/year.

so if ALL the methane in the area described in the first sentence of this post were to be emitted to the atmopshere instantly, it would be the equivalenty of 3 days current human emissions.

scare over.

anyone want to challenge the numbers, be my guest.

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from the article

"Scientists estimate that there are hundreds of millions of tonnes of methane gas locked away beneath the Arctic permafrost, which extends from the mainland into the seabed of the relatively shallow sea of the East Siberian Arctic Shelf"

methane quickly breaks down in the atmosphere to co2 in a few years.

multiply "hundreds of millions of tons" by 1.76 to get the co2 quantity from the methane.

so how much is "hundreds of millions of tons" of co2?

not much - about the same volcanoes emit every year, and a hundred times less than human emissions of co2/year.

so if ALL the methane in the area described in the first sentence of this post were to be emitted to the atmopshere instantly, it would be the equivalenty of 3 days current human emissions.

scare over.

anyone want to challenge the numbers, be my guest.

You should look into the CO2 equivalence of methane. Depending on how you calculate it estimates are a minimum of 20x as powerful over 100yrs, and considerably more over a 20yr time frame. So where did you get your 1.76 - by a simple multiplication assuming a near instantaneous breakdown of CH4 to CO2 - it simply isn't like that little fish - and you should know these basic facts by now.

From the American EPA;

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.

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

And from Wiki;

Methane in the Earth's atmosphere is an important greenhouse gas with a global warming potential of 25 compared to CO2 over a 100-year period (although accepted figures probably represents an underestimate[28]). This means that a methane emission will have 25 times the effect on temperature of a carbon dioxide emission of the same mass over the following 100 years. Methane has a large effect for a brief period (a net lifetime of 8.4 years in the atmosphere), whereas carbon dioxide has a small effect for a long period (over 100 years). Because of this difference in effect and time period, the global warming potential of methane over a 20 year time period is 72. The Earth's atmospheric methane concentration has increased by about 150% since 1750, and it accounts for 20% of the total radiative forcing from all of the long-lived and globally mixed greenhouse gases (these gases don't include water vapour which is by far the largest component of the greenhouse effect).[29] Usually, excess methane from landfills and other natural producers of methane is burned so CO2 is released into the atmosphere instead of methane, because methane is a more effective greenhouse gas. Recently, methane emitted from coal mines has been successfully utilized to generate electricity.

You made the same basic fundamental mistake regarding CO2 residence time in the atmosphere.

If you keep getting these simple basic facts wrong - should you be surprised that you keep getting the bigger picture wrong as well ?

Br Cornelius

Edited by Br Cornelius

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You should look into the CO2 equivalence of methane. Depending on how you calculate it estimates are a minimum of 20x as powerful over 100yrs, and considerably more over a 20yr time frame. So where did you get your 1.76 - by a simple multiplication assuming a near instantaneous breakdown of CH4 to CO2 - it simply isn't like that little fish - and you should know these basic facts by now.

the 1.76 is the amount of co2 produced from the breakdown of methane, 1g of methane will breakdown to 1.76g of co2. you have just misunderstood what I said because you have difficulty with reading comprehension.

nowhere did I assume methane breaks down instantly to co2, I said precisely "methane quickly breaks down in the atmosphere to co2 in a few years.", read it again. if you want to go with 10 years instead of a few years, then you are just splitting hairs and my point still stands. so do you agree that there is no reason to wet the bed?

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the 1.76 is the amount of co2 produced from the breakdown of methane, 1g of methane will breakdown to 1.76g of co2. you have just misunderstood what I said because you have difficulty with reading comprehension.

nowhere did I assume methane breaks down instantly to co2, I said precisely "methane quickly breaks down in the atmosphere to co2 in a few years.", read it again. if you want to go with 10 years instead of a few years, then you are just splitting hairs and my point still stands. so do you agree that there is no reason to wet the bed?

So you have deliberately chosen not to consider its actual greenhouse effect over its effective residence time in the atmosphere.

That to me seems worse - as it smacks of cherry picking.

Br Cornelius

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the 1.76 is the amount of co2 produced from the breakdown of methane, 1g of methane will breakdown to 1.76g of co2. you have just misunderstood what I said because you have difficulty with reading comprehension.

Would you mind explaining your calculations? Both molecules have a single carbon atom; methane has an atomic weight of 16; CO2 has an atomic weight of 44; 16 into 44 is 2.75. Something doesn't make sense here.

Doug

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Turning 1g into 1.75g? You should be a gold monger, or a drug monger

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Turning 1g into 1.75g? You should be a gold monger, or a drug monger

16 gr methane + 64 gr O2 = 44 gr CO2 + 36 gr water

Don't ask me how long all the intermediate steps might take.

Doug

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16 gr methane + 64 gr O2 = 44 gr CO2 + 36 gr water

Don't ask me how long all the intermediate steps might take.

Doug

How long do all the intermediate steps take?

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Would you mind explaining your calculations? Both molecules have a single carbon atom; methane has an atomic weight of 16; CO2 has an atomic weight of 44; 16 into 44 is 2.75. Something doesn't make sense here.

Doug

Methane reacts in the atmosphere breaking down to water and co2. its not stable like co2 which dissolves in rainwater and gets washed out of the atmosphere. I don't know where I got that 1.76, it might have been due to burning rather than destructive reactions in the atmosphere, but a weight of methane decays to a similar weight of co2 which is what you are after as the co2 is measured in tons. humans emit 30,000,000,000 tons co2/year, arctic permafrost contains ~500,000,000 tons methane, so if its 1:1 ton for ton, the arctic methane is equivalent to 1/60 yearly co2 emissions (after the methane breaks down), which is equivalent to about 6 days co2 emissions, or more quantatively - bugger all.

the question to ask is how much co2 do you get when 1 ton of methane breaks down in the atmosphere, since methane's lifetime in the atmosphere is short. the point still stands that even if ALL that methane were to be released in an INSTANT, any greenhouse effect is neglible compared to current co2 levels, so why should I worry about it?

Edited by Little Fish

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even if ALL that methane were to be released...why should I worry about it?

Just don't smoke or flick a switch

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Just don't smoke or flick a switch

I don't know whether you are saying that in jest, but in case you aren't, the atmosphere is 20% oxygen which is very reactive and prone to explosion near a lighted match. I'm not worried about that either.

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I don't know whether you are saying that in jest, but in case you aren't, the atmosphere is 20% oxygen which is very reactive and prone to explosion near a lighted match. I'm not worried about that either.

Seen this? Seawater burning with some radiation apparently

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Methane reacts in the atmosphere breaking down to water and co2. its not stable like co2 which dissolves in rainwater and gets washed out of the atmosphere. I don't know where I got that 1.76, it might have been due to burning rather than destructive reactions in the atmosphere, but a weight of methane decays to a similar weight of co2 which is what you are after as the co2 is measured in tons. humans emit 30,000,000,000 tons co2/year, arctic permafrost contains ~500,000,000 tons methane, so if its 1:1 ton for ton, the arctic methane is equivalent to 1/60 yearly co2 emissions (after the methane breaks down), which is equivalent to about 6 days co2 emissions, or more quantatively - bugger all.

the question to ask is how much co2 do you get when 1 ton of methane breaks down in the atmosphere, since methane's lifetime in the atmosphere is short. the point still stands that even if ALL that methane were to be released in an INSTANT, any greenhouse effect is neglible compared to current co2 levels, so why should I worry about it?

See Post 10. One ton of carbon as a component of methane, is still one ton of carbon as a component of CO2. But one ton of methane yields 2.75 tons of CO2 when burned. It picked up the extra weight from the oxygen.

I'll have to have another look at that article, but the important question is still: is this something new, or is the ecosystem adapted to it? Until we can answer that question, we won't know whether you should worry or not.

Methane as a component of the atmosphere has risen pretty much in sync with warming. When warming leveled off in 1998, so did methane concentration. But in 2008, methane started up again. Still too early to tell if warming started up again at the same time. Global temps were slightly higher during the latter half of the last decade than during the earlier half. I'm not expecting much change for another year, yet. Then we'll see.

Doug

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Still ignoring CH4's greenhouse potential in your dodgy calculations :tu:

Br Cornelius

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May i ask why this is a "shock"? We allready knew this would happen. Also this has happened before.

No doomsday scenario here.

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Still ignoring CH4's greenhouse potential in your dodgy calculations :tu:

Br Cornelius

still ignoring what I said three times previously.

it's meaningless since CH4 breaks down quickly in the atmosphere, after 10 years its all gone, all converted to co2 and water. if it takes 100 years to emit all the methane in the permafrost, the first 90 years of methane emission has all gone. so there is no accumulation of "greenhouse potential" after a few years. you are describing an impossible theoretical scenario which can only happen if ALL the methane is released in an instant, and even then its effect diminishes to near zero after 10 years, and even then its greenhouse potential would not be that great, equivalent of ~4 months human co2 emissions. do you want to present some revised estimates of your own? numbers not adjectives.

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May i ask why this is a "shock"? We allready knew this would happen. Also this has happened before.

No doomsday scenario here.

recycling old scares, that's all, keeps the boondoggle snakeoil flowing.

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& keeps attention away from the more urgent issues

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still ignoring what I said three times previously.

it's meaningless since CH4 breaks down quickly in the atmosphere, after 10 years its all gone, all converted to co2 and water. if it takes 100 years to emit all the methane in the permafrost, the first 90 years of methane emission has all gone. so there is no accumulation of "greenhouse potential" after a few years. you are describing an impossible theoretical scenario which can only happen if ALL the methane is released in an instant, and even then its effect diminishes to near zero after 10 years, and even then its greenhouse potential would not be that great, equivalent of ~4 months human co2 emissions. do you want to present some revised estimates of your own? numbers not adjectives.

Each molecule of methane in the atmosphere has a 70x greenhouse effect than one molecule of CO2 over 20yrs.

Over 100yrs that drops to 20x.

Need I correct you more clearly. So for 20 yrs 1 million tonnes of CH4 has the effect of 70million tonnes of CO2. This is signicant because it is a massive amplifier which leads to a more dramatic release of methane.

The fact that it actually breaks down after 15yrs is not the point, it is just like the residence time of CO2 which is short - but the cumulative effects are felt over centuries.

Remember the metaphor of the bath tub with one tap filling it and the plug hole emptying it - if the tap fills quicker than the plug empties the bathtub rises - even though the individual water molecules only have a very short residence time in the bath.

Your getting the basics wrong again.

Br Cornelius

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May i ask why this is a "shock"? We allready knew this would happen. Also this has happened before.

No doomsday scenario here.

The significance is that this is confirmation of one of the feedback mechanisms which was hitherto simply theoretical.

Just more evidence for the ever growing pile that only the blind cannot see (blind fish anyone).

Br Cornelius

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Each molecule of methane in the atmosphere has a 70x greenhouse effect than one molecule of CO2 over 20yrs.

Over 100yrs that drops to 20x.

Need I correct you more clearly. So for 20 yrs 1 million tonnes of CH4 has the effect of 70million tonnes of CO2.

70 million tons of co2 is equivalent of 20 hours of man made co2 emissions.

man emits 30 billion tons of co2 in a year from burning fossil fuels.

30 billion/70 million = 1/428 years = 0.85 days = 20 hours, so 1 million tons of methane has the effect of less than a days worth of man made co2.

so a hundred million tons of methane is equivalent to 100x20 hours = 83 days = 2.7 months man made co2 emissions.

This is signicant because it is a massive amplifier which leads to a more dramatic release of methane.
adjectives again, where's your numbers?

are you saying 2.7 months co2 emissions is a "massive amplifier" leading to "a dramatic release of methane"?

2.7 months co2 emissions- are you serious?

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See Post 10. One ton of carbon as a component of methane, is still one ton of carbon as a component of CO2. But one ton of methane yields 2.75 tons of CO2 when burned. It picked up the extra weight from the oxygen.

Its not 2.75 tons. Its 2.74 tons.

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