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Old 12-13-2011, 08:50 PM
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Default Climate at risk - Canada retreates while Russia finds giant Methane bubbles

Just after Canda has retreated from the Kyoto Protocol, because it "impairs the countries "development"" (meaning they want to become the next Saudia Arabia by increasing the destruction of the tar sands), we get this:

Shock as retreat of Arctic sea ice releases deadly greenhouse gas - Climate Change - Environment - The Independent
Quote:
"In a very small area, less than 10,000 square miles, we have counted more than 100 fountains, or torch-like structures, bubbling through the water column and injected directly into the atmosphere from the seabed," Dr Semiletov said. "We carried out checks at about 115 stationary points and discovered methane fields of a fantastic scale – I think on a scale not seen before. Some plumes were a kilometre or more wide and the emissions went directly into the atmosphere – the concentration was a hundred times higher than normal."
Dr Semiletov released his findings for the first time last week at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco.
...
One of the greatest fears is that with the disappearance of the Arctic sea-ice in summer, and rapidly rising temperatures across the entire region, which are already melting the Siberian permafrost, the trapped methane could be suddenly released into the atmosphere leading to rapid and severe climate change.
Methane clathrates - methane ice locked under the ocean floor is thought to be the worlds most dangerous climate feedback loop. As icecaps melt and oceans warm, that frozen methane is thought to be released, increasing methane in the atmosphere and increasing the greenhouse conditions. Methane is 20 times as potent for global warming than CO2. A couple of outbursts of methane have been found before, but the scale of this seems to be a lot larger than anything before.

These buggers are a kilometer in diameter!
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Old 12-13-2011, 09:40 PM
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I would have to check the numbers, but isn't it beneficial to burn the methane? (Or collect it to burn later.)
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Old 12-13-2011, 10:11 PM
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Well, they always said we're long overdue for some big climate change. Seems Earth had a plan all along.
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Old 12-13-2011, 10:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Clarke View Post
I would have to check the numbers, but isn't it beneficial to burn the methane? (Or collect it to burn later.)
CH4 + 2O2 => CO2 + 2H2O.

You'd end up with CO2, which, given the circumstances, is probably comparatively favorable to something as volatile as methane.
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Old 12-13-2011, 11:43 PM
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....god****ingdammit

If I could, I really would just kill those responsible for the perpetuation of the tar sands projects.

Then I'd grind them up and drop them into the arctic sea for the fishies.
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Old 12-14-2011, 12:03 AM
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Torgo's Executive Powder? I like the sound of that.
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Old 12-14-2011, 04:52 AM
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The Canada thing is complected. As a nation, they've withdrawn from Kyoto, but its only a few provinces that actually have refused to honor the accords. Provinces in Canada have as much if not more power than the national government. (Which is good, because that nutjob Harper shouldn't have that much power)
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Old 12-14-2011, 10:46 AM
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I like the plan about feeding the fishies

Burning the methane - certainly would be better than releasing it as it is now, but that was only part of the point of this post. One point was that "we are already that far into climate change that these things happen. Now. Not in 20 years as it was predicted but NOW". Another was that climate change has to be stopped. NOW. Not in 20 years but NOW.
Putting a band aid on by something like burning that methane would be just that - a bandaid. But its impossible anyways. Its not that these are in any way reliable source of methane that can easily be captured and then burned in a controlled fashion (maybe even used for energy). There are hundreds of seeps over a large area, this probably are several thousands over the region and god-knows-how-many globally. And they are going to increase with every year and I guess most of them will not be (economically) worth the effort to install capturing devices. If they can catch some of the big ones - I dont object too much, though I insist that the cause of this madness has to stop instead of just trying to fix the consequences.
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Old 12-16-2011, 06:29 PM
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I think, that as a species, we are FAR more capable of "achieving the impossible", then we give ourselves credit for.
Look back to the sixties. When John Kennedy said "We will be on the moon in a decade", many people were incredulous. They could not even CONCEiVE of such a thing being possible, BUT WE DID IT.
We can do anything that we can dream of as long as we want it BADLY ENOUGH to all get behind it.
If, and this is a BIG if, we could get the corporate "bean counters" and their share holders to realize that we are in the fight of our LIVES here with the methane, streams, the "profit margins" would shrink to little importance, and we would find the way to cap, and collect the methane from the larger cracks. It would more like suturing a large wound, than putting a "band-aid" on it. Permanent fix? No, but a good enough one to prevent the "patient" from bleeding to death while the perfect fix was found.
If anyone want's to see what this planet would look like if all the methane hydrolized to carbon dioxide, tipping the atmosphere into runaway greenhouse, just look at Venus. where the CO2 atmosphere causes a surface temperature of around seven hundred degrees.
Make them understand how fast that could happen if all the trapped methane were released into the atmosphere, and we would HAVE the kind of unity of purpose that enabled us to walk on the Moon within a decade.
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Old 12-16-2011, 07:18 PM
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I understand that the climate experts believe that what happened on Venus isn't possible on Earth.
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Old 12-16-2011, 07:58 PM
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Ma Clarke,
As far as we know, it is not possible to the extreme that it went on Venus, because of our greater distance from the Sun, but what's the difference between the 700 degrees on Venus, and the 250 or 300 degrees that we could eventually hit over time, (long after all life on the surface of Earth was gone).
Let's think this through. The Methane is (geologically suddenly) released into the atmosphere, and breaks down into, among other things, a LOT of Carbon Dioxide.
If we, as a species, have allowed this to happen, then it's a safe bet that we ALSO continued to merrily inject lots of hydrocarbons into the atmosphere as well. (Oh well, the photochemical smog IS what gives us such pretty sunsets).
So NOW we have a carbon/hydro carbon/ Sulphur Dioxide rich "soup" as our
atmosphere that at the time of this, is about as breathable to a human as the atmosphere on fictional Pandora, perhaps even LESS so.
Because of the atmospheric chemistry, the planet goes greenhouse, and probably within a decade or two, becomes too hot for most plant or animal life to exist on the planet. The decaying dead plant material decomposes, throwing MORE toxins into the "soup", the temperature rises enough to where the surface water evaporates, and once in the atmosphere, turns into a highly acidic, hydrocarbon mix, raining acid down on the surface of Earth.
One can debate the specifics of the temperature differences, but BOTH planets will be LETHAL to Humans without serious "space suits" on.
Because of our greater distance from the Sun, this planet would be able to hold on to more of it's liquid in the atmosphere, giving us the added bonus of a liquid acid soup in the atmosphere, something that Venus does NOT have to a great extent.
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I understand that the climate experts believe that what happened on Venus isn't possible on Earth.

Last edited by Niri Te; 12-16-2011 at 08:07 PM.
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Old 12-16-2011, 08:13 PM
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Originally Posted by taylorcraftbc65 View Post
Let's think this through. The Methane is (geologically suddenly) released into the atmosphere, and breaks down into, among other things, a LOT of Carbon Dioxide.
Methane is stable, but it produces CO2 in a 1:1 ratio when burned. You'd reduce the greenhouse effect of this stuff by burning it, and by a factor of 72x.
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Old 12-16-2011, 08:20 PM
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But if you add water to the Methane then the "weird science" happens. If we could trap some of the free methane, and burn it in power generating facilities, then we could DEAL with the emissions of the combustion process and make the resulting exhaust plume less toxic to the atmosphere.
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Old 12-16-2011, 08:41 PM
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I looked this stuff up, and when the Methane mixes with the Ozone, it produces Carbon Dioxide, and Hydrogen Peroxide, which is unbelievably reactive with ANY organic compound.
F-U-N!!!
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Old 12-16-2011, 10:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taylorcraftbc65 View Post
If, and this is a BIG if, we could get the corporate "bean counters" and their share holders to realize that we are in the fight of our LIVES here with the methane, streams, the "profit margins" would shrink to little importance, and we would find the way...
Make them understand how fast that could happen if all the trapped methane were released into the atmosphere, and we would HAVE the kind of unity of purpose that enabled us to walk on the Moon within a decade.
I believe to see two problems with that. For once, people just refuse to believe the facts. They instead tend to hold on to a fantasy world. Scientists have been warning about and predicting climate catastrophe for over 3 decades now with increasing persistence. While some politicians accepted this, we also saw in that timeframe the birth of "climate change deniers", simply ignoring what is happening and insisting on these scientists just speaking alarmist messages. They just fear what huge changes would need to happen when it is true. I see the other problem in that companies have the (also legal!) obligation to shareholders and investors to make money as much as they can. There is little possibility in economic terms for them to act differently.

Quote:
If anyone want's to see what this planet would look like if all the methane hydrolized to carbon dioxide, tipping the atmosphere into runaway greenhouse, just look at Venus.
Methane clathrates (a mixture of frozen methane and water) when warming produce Methane, which will go into the atmosphere. In the atmosphere the methane acts as a strong greenhouse gas. Within some decades that methane oxidizes to CO2 and water, diminishing the greenhouse effect of its presence significantly. But that takes decades. And yes, methane in the upper atmosphere could react with other gases there, like ozone (possibly widening the ozone holes).

Regarding the possibility of runaway climate change I recommend two books. One of them is called "Under a green sky" by paleontologist Peter Ward. He looks at past climate catastrophes and what their results are. The evidence from that is in the fossil records, in stable isotope signatures and sedimentary climate records. In short - he says that a global warming can lead to a tropical climates near the poles, eliminating the ocean currents and winds, causing stagnant oceans which would suffocate much of the marine life, producing a lot of sulfide, a toxic gas. A palaeontologist coming to our university was adding to that the theory that in one of the last mass extinctions (the Perm/Trias ages in earths history) the same thing happened but with the twist that the gas managed to escape the oceans, killing land animals as well.
The other book is calles "Gaias revenge" and was written by James Lovelock, a very famous scientist, who ic however now retired but has many decades understanding of ecosystems and climate. In his projections, climate could warm by several °C, causing mammals to migrate into now arctic regions which then become the only inhabitable zones.

In both cases, the climate change is assumed to stop at some point when some negative feedback loops kick in - as of now only a few of them are recognized and I suspect that some of them have been eliminated by this culture.

In any case - each of these scenarios is horrible beyond belief.
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"Humans are storytellers. These stories then can become our reality. Only when we loose ourselves in the stories they have the power to control us. Our culture got lost in the wrong story, a story of death and defeat, of opression and control, of separation and competition. We need a new story!"
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