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    Climate-changing methane ‘rapidly destabilizing’ off East Coast, study finds

    Carol
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    Climate-changing methane ‘rapidly destabilizing’ off East Coast, study finds Empty Climate-changing methane ‘rapidly destabilizing’ off East Coast, study finds

    Post  Carol on Thu Oct 25, 2012 10:37 am

    October 25, 2012 – NEW YORK – A changing Gulf Stream off the East Coast has destabilized frozen methane deposits trapped under nearly 4,000 square miles of seafloor, scientists reported Wednesday. And since methane is even more potent than carbon dioxide as a global warming gas, the researchers said, any large-scale release could have significant climate impacts. Temperature changes in the Gulf Stream are “rapidly destabilizing methane hydrate along a broad swathe of the North American margin,” the experts said in a study published Wednesday in the peer-reviewed journal Nature. Using seismic records and ocean models, the team estimated that 2.5 gigatonnes of frozen methane hydrate are being destabilized and could separate into methane gas and water. It is not clear if that is happening yet, but that methane gas would have the potential to rise up through the ocean and into the atmosphere, where it would add to the greenhouse gases warming Earth. The 2.5 gigatonnes isn’t enough to trigger a sudden climate shift, but the team worries that other areas around the globe might be seeing a similar destabilization. “It is unlikely that the western North Atlantic margin is the only area experiencing changing ocean currents,” they noted. “Our estimate … may therefore represent only a fraction of the methane hydrate currently destabilizing globally.” The wider destabilization evidence, co-author Ben Phrampus told NBC News, includes data from the Arctic and Alaska’s northern slope in the Beaufort Sea. And it’s not just under the seafloor that methane has been locked up. Some Arctic land area are seeing permafrost thaw, which could release methane stored there as well. An expert who was not part of the study said it suggests that methane could become a bigger climate factor than carbon dioxide. “We may approach a turning point” from a warming driven by man-made carbon dioxide to a warming driven by methane, Jurgen Mienert, the geology department chair at Norway’s University of Tromso, told NBC News. “The interactions between the warming Arctic Ocean and the potentially huge methane-ice reservoirs beneath the Arctic Ocean floor point towards increasing instability,” he added. –USNEWSNBC


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    With deepest respect ~ Aloha & Mahalo, Carol
    Carol
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    Climate-changing methane ‘rapidly destabilizing’ off East Coast, study finds Empty Re: Climate-changing methane ‘rapidly destabilizing’ off East Coast, study finds

    Post  Carol on Thu Oct 25, 2012 10:41 am

    Climate-changing methane ‘rapidly destabilizing’ off East Coast, study finds 100305_ArcticMethane.grid-6x2
    A mix of ice, sea water and methane bubbles are a common sight along the East Siberian Arctic Shelf, where a new study looked at methane releases.
    Arctic reveals surprise methane source
    WASHINGTON — Methane, a potent global warming gas, is bubbling out of the frozen Arctic faster than had been expected.
    Researchers report in Friday's edition of the journal Science that methane had become trapped in the permafrost over time and a warming climate is now resulting in its release. Concerns about global warming have centered on rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, but scientists note that methane can be 30 times more effective at trapping heat than carbon dioxide. Historically, methane concentrations in the world's atmosphere have ranged between 0.3 and 0.4 parts per million in cool periods to 0.6 to 0.7 in warm periods. Current methane concentrations in the Arctic average about 1.85 parts per million, the scientists said, the highest in 400,000 years. The researchers focused on a long-frozen seabed north of Siberia. It was unclear, however, if the emissions were new or had been going on unnoticed for centuries — since before the Industrial Revolution of the 18th century led to wide use of fossil fuels that are blamed for climate change.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/35725589/ns/us_news-environment/t/arctic-reveals-surprise-methane-source/#__utma=14933801.220830863.1343537314.1347420838.1351179416.7&__utmb=14933801.1.10.1351179416&__utmc=14933801&__utmx=-&__utmz=14933801.1351179416.7.7.utmcsr=theextinctionprotocol.wordpress.com|utmccn=(referral)|utmcmd=referral|utmcct=/&__utmv=14933801.|8=Earned%20By=msnbc%7Cus%20news%7Cusnewsfranchise=1^12=Landing%20Content=Original=1^13=Landing%20Hostname=usnews.nbcnews.com=1^30=Visit%20Type%20to%20Content=Earned%20to%20Original=1&__utmk=82353174


    _________________
    What is life?
    It is the flash of a firefly in the night, the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.

    With deepest respect ~ Aloha & Mahalo, Carol

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