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Widespread methane leakage on US coast

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Researchers say they have found more than 500 bubbling methane vents on the seafloor off the US east coast.

The unexpected discovery indicates there are large volumes of the gas contained in a type of sludgy ice called methane hydrate.

There are concerns that these new seeps could be making a hitherto unnoticed contribution to global warming.

The scientists say there could be about 30,000 of these hidden methane vents worldwide

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-28898223

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Posted (edited)

I think it has been a concern for some years that as Global Temperatures increase then outgassing of methane from that previously "locked into" clathrates and hydrates would accelerate the warming "forcing". IF (as recently proposed) that the deep ocean basins are now storing atmospheric heat, then this process will become even more profound. The warming of the permafrost will also release another huge reservoir of methane. Methane is 30 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than CO2 so the potential is there for accelerated heating of the atmosphere in the short - term.

Edited by keithisco
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Why can;t we 'mine' it and then use it for fuel?

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We have been warned this could happen, yet here we are.

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There are concerns that these new seeps could be making a hitherto unnoticed contribution to global warming.

What makes them think it's new? A similar discovery in the Arctic Ocean several years ago turned out to be something that's been there for millennia. The earth was already adapted to it, so it was really no big problem. But it gave folks a scare.

Another thought: most of this "new" stuff is ordinary methane, not hydrate. Hydrate forms in the ocean deeps where it is colder and pressures are higher. This stuff is mostly at the break of the continental shelf. It's a little early to panic over this one.

Doug

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So far they don't think any of it is making it into the atmosphere. it seems to be dissolving into the ocean water and oxidized to CO2. There is also plenty of chemosynthetic life around most of these seeps. This would have to have been going on for a while for that to happen I would think. Also they haven't tested the gas to makes sure it is methane.

I do find it alarming though that in the past they only found 3 seep areas and now there are hundreds. Is it increasing or did we just not notice this before. I don't want to make light of this because if this methane did make it into the atmosphere it could contribute to global warming like we have never seen.

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This ominous and threat ridden news must surely have a bright side...like nice hot winter days in sunny Siberia?

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This ominous and threat ridden news must surely have a bright side...like nice hot winter days in sunny Siberia?

Which would release more methane sequestered in the permafrost....

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This ominous and threat ridden news must surely have a bright side...like nice hot winter days in sunny Siberia?

oh hell no. If its sunny and hot in Siberia during winter then you would probably instantly die from heat in Florida during summer

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oh hell no. If its sunny and hot in Siberia during winter then you would probably instantly die from heat in Florida during summer

Please the super-mega-ultra mosquitoes would spirit you away to their vampiric layers long before you ever had a chance to succumb to the heat.

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I wonder if this has anything to do with the fish die offs?

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I wonder if this has anything to do with the fish die offs?

Certainly not with any large scale dieing, there we have a few better suspects.

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Which would release more methane sequestered in the permafrost....

Well, Venus is the goddess of erotic love.

Maybe people just want our little blue planet to be more erotic.

Like the hellish greenhouse world of Venus with its thick viscous clouds of toxic poisons.

Makes sense to me.

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Why are the morons sounding the alarm when the vents haven't even been tested. face-palm-mt.gif

Edited by BuzzLightYear

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Why are the morons sounding the alarm when the vents haven't even been tested. face-palm-mt.gif

Chicken Little was not moronic , simply young and uninformed of the natural way's of the world he lives in . Thus the fear and PANIC .

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Chicken Little was not moronic , simply young and uninformed of the natural way's of the world he lives in . Thus the fear and PANIC .

To be fair, Chicken Little was also delicious.

And being Delicious tends to heighten ones natural paranoia.

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Why are the morons sounding the alarm when the vents haven't even been tested. face-palm-mt.gif

Doesn't sound like an alarm to me. Somebody just had to get a paper published - publish or perish, you know. He'll do a follow-up and get two papers out of one discovery. Then the real work will begin - figuring out how long this has been going on and if it poses a threat.

That nobody found these before is not real worrisome. Those surveys have been anything but complete in the past. We really don't have a baseline survey yet.

BTW: farther south there are some gigantic blow-out holes on the ocean floor. Nobody knows how old they are, either.

Doug

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This ominous and threat ridden news must surely have a bright side...like nice hot winter days in sunny Siberia?

Can you imagine what Arizona would be like!

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So the vents have been found....come on people they didn't just start last week...so whats the alarm and worry all about, they've probably been doing this for millennia...All I can say is that there must be a vast herd of cows under the Atlantic in a huge cave.

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I wonder if this has anything to do with the fish die offs?

Im no marine biologist but I could see this being a contributor. :tu:

If the methane is in fact rising into our atmosphere does this mean governments will be taxing the planet for money as well. I mean come on, if humans are to be taxed for their farts then its only fair to tax earth and mother nature for their farts as well. Just trying to keep it fair across the board. :P

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How about exploiting them until exhaustion? That can certainly be turned on into a gold mine!

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I wonder if this can cause the oceans to stay warmer and help make gobal warming

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Chicken Little was not moronic , simply young and uninformed of the natural way's of the world he lives in . Thus the fear and PANIC .

I don't see any fear and panic on this forum, nor in the OP, just a desire to understand the phenomenon a little better, and whether the scale of the release is normal or being exacerbated in some way by general global warming.

It is all about planning and strategy - not fear and panic (which appears to be Deniers planning and strategy).

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So the vents have been found....come on people they didn't just start last week...so whats the alarm and worry all about, they've probably been doing this for millennia...All I can say is that there must be a vast herd of cows under the Atlantic in a huge cave.

true, I wonder how long these vents have been going on

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true, I wonder how long these vents have been going on

And that is the $64 million question.

Doug

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