Are methane hydrates dissolving?

August 17, 2012ARCTIC CIRCLE - West of Spitsbergen methane gas is effervescing out of the seabed. Is this an indication that methane hydrates in the seabed are dissolving due to rising temperatures? And what would the effects be? An expedition with the German research vessel MARIA S. MERIAN and the submersible JAGO lead by GEOMAR | Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel hopes to help answer these questions. The expedition began this week in Reykjavik. The average temperatures of the atmosphere are rising; the average temperatures of the oceans, too. Not only living organisms react sensitively to these changes. The transitional zones between shallow shelf seas and the deep sea at continental slopes store a huge amount of methane hydrates in the sea bed. These specific, ice-like compounds only forms at low temperatures and under high pressure. When the water temperature directly above the sea bed rises, some of the methane hydrates could dissolve and release the previously bound methane. ‘This scenario incorporates two fears: Firstly that enormous amounts of this very powerful greenhouse gas will be released into the atmosphere, and secondly that the continental slopes may become unstable” explains the geophysicist Professor Christian Berndt from GEOMAR, Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel. He is leading an expedition starting today on the German research vessel MARIA S. MERIAN which will analyse the sea off the western shore of Spitsbergen in order to find out whether the first methane hydrates in the sea bed are dissolving and what the consequences might be. The expedition builds on research conducted by marine scientists from Kiel who worked in this area of the sea in 2008. Back then they found over 250 places where gas was escaping the sea bed. “These spots lie directly on the border of the area of stable hydrates” explains Professor Berndt. “Therefore we presume that the hydrates are dissolving from the rim inwards.” During the upcoming expedition, the scientists from Kiel will be working together with colleagues from Bremen, Switzerland, Great Britain and Norway to discover whether the gas emanation shows signs of dissolved hydrates and whether this is due to warmer sea beds. –Terra Daily

Crisis at the North Pole

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25 Responses to Are methane hydrates dissolving?

  1. Stefan says:

    “West of Spitsbergen methane gas is effervescing out of the seabed.”

    This has been going on since many decades. Not new to us in Scandinavia. It was discussed as early as during the 1970′s. Especially they mentioned it during the 1990′s. After that they don’t bother anymore. Therefore it was welcome to read about it again. Thanks for bringing it up.

    • Tracy says:

      I seem to recall learning recently that there are pockets of polar ice believed to also store large amounts of methane gas. Now that the ice is melting, the gas is escaping and adding to the greenhouse effect?

    • nickk0 says:

      Stefan – Are they saying that the methane hydrates have been dissolving since the 70′s ?
      Or are they saying that this phenomenon, was first noticed in the 70′s ?

    • John says:

      BUT……the methane is INCREASING from what it was in the 1990′s. It is a fact that the atmosphere, oceans, and land temperatures are increasing year after year. This will only lead to world starvation as big agricultural systems fail because of lack of rain. Surface water will become more valuable than GOLD. You can only live 3 days without water before you go into kidney shut down. 99 percent of earth’s population is totally ignorant of what is about to happen because of global warming. Even advanced preppers like southernprepper1 or yankee prepper will have a difficult time surviving in a world where water is scarce. You will not be able to plant and maintain a garden because there will be very little water to keep the garden alive. Edible wild plants will be scarce. There will be massive animal die offs which means that hunters and trappers will not be able to get food either. Advanced preppers might live a little be longer than the unprepared, but in the end when their food supply and their water supplies run out they will succumb to global warming. The only people who stand somewhat of a chance of survival will be those living in Alaska, Siberia, or Nothern Canada. Possibly those government people who will be holed up at Cheyenne Mountain near Denver might stand a chance of survival also. But, all of the YouTube preppers that you see, will eventually not make it due to lack of rain, lack of gardens, lack of fish and fauna. Their supplies will run out after about a year, in reality their supplies will probably run out in about 3 months.

  2. Granny Bear says:

    Doesn’t dissolved methane (hydrates?) influence buoyancy?

    • Granny Bear says:

      … as well as being highly volatile (huge explosions, world on fire kind of quick changes volatile) , and more greenhouse than CO2. Methane and meteor smoke also contributes to the blue noctilucent clouds, which are increasing.
      Anyone who’s ever seen a noctilucent cloud or “NLC” would agree: They look beautiful and alien. The electric-blue ripples and pale tendrils of NLCs reaching across the night sky resemble something from another world. http://www.terradaily.com/reports/Meteor_Smoke_Makes_Strange_Clouds_999.html

      • How about that? comment from one year ago: http://wp.me/p1eYXc-2sk

        Submitted on 2011/07/12 at 8:02 pm | In reply to nitewarlok.

        Nitewarklok. I have always believed that the noctilucent cloud formation phenomena is related to one thing- CH4 gas or methane in the mesophere. As the phenomenon started at the polar region- it is there, we find our first clue to what is transpiring. The melting of Arctic permafrost (which is being hastened by underwater volcanism) and the release of methane into the atmosphere, or more specifically the mesosphere as the gas is lighter than air. Our atmosphere is morphing before our eyes and this is the first clue that something has gone wrong on this planet. This has diabolical implications for the planet- all of which, I do not have the length to go into but the planet’s climate is changing rapidly. Methane levels have doubled in the last 100 years and the fact that noctilucent cloud formation have diffused from the polar regions is one more warning sign akin to the dead canary in the coal mine. Below are two links which should provide more background research.

        http://www.heatisonline.org/contentserver/objecthandlers/index.cfm?ID=7624&Method=Full and http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v338/n6215/abs/338490a0.html

        As far as the clouds being indication of cooling- that is not necessarily the case. We have to look at the planet as many interconnceted systems- the oceans and the internal thermal mechanics of the planet being in separate operation from the atmosphere. An air-conditioner chills the air inside of a car but it also simultaneously increases thermal strain on the engine and one, in effect, does not cool the other. It also similar to having chills though the body is burning up with a fever. Bottom-line; the presence of cooling temperatures is not an indication the planet’s interior isn’t warming- it’s further verification it is.

        God bless you as well,

        Alvin

  3. nanoduck says:

    If methane becomes concentrated, I wonder what the chances of an explosion would be.

    • It is said to have happened once in history and it’s something we certainly don’t want to see repeated. I think submarine volcanism and seismicity will be a catalyst for the next ocean overturn. I discuss this at length in my book The Extinction Protocol. According to Professor Gregory Ryskin, he says these massive explosions happen about every one million years on the geological time scale and warns the world is overdue for another such event. There is about 80,000 times more methane frozen in hydrate in the world’s oceans than there are in the world’s known gas reserves combined.

      But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat.” 2 Peter 3:10

      Methane and then oceans of magma under the crust. When the bible talks about a day of fire, kept in store or reserved for the perdition of the ungodly and the destruction of the Earth by fire…it’s quite clear to any rational mind, that this is something the Apostle Peter could not had any scientific knowledge of nearly 2000 years ago. We truly know not the dangers lurking on the planet in which we live.

      • nanoduck says:

        Thank you for replying….it is indeed a very scary thought. A giant methane explosion under the sea would definitely generate giant tsumani waves. Not to mention that if enough methane accumulates in upper atmosphere, it could inginite and burn off, destroying the ozone layer.

      • Anytime, friend. It does give one pause.

        Best wishes-
        Alvin

  4. Gina McCray says:

    Alvin, I’ve long wondered what cause the earth to “melt with fervent heat”. Your theory is very plausible!

    “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat.” 2 Peter 3:10

  5. Joseph t. Repas says:

    makes sense Alvin. Do you think it is possible that the huge explosion in Siberia in the early 1900′s could have been such an event. I have read of scientists trying to explain it with other ideas such as anti matter etc. but by the way you explain this it seems more plausible that a methane type of explosion could have occured. Thanks.

    • IMG
      Tunguska explosion in Siberia, 1908

      I think the Tunguska explosion of 1908 remains a mystery, but there is contradictory evidence that it was a meteor as commonly supposed. The magnetic pole has relocated over Siberia more than once. Catastrophic geological changes have accompanied one such reversal- during the Permian. I theorize it’s likely to happen again. Russian scientists have made similar claims and the work of one Japanese scientist has raised some disconcerting issues about how planetary catastrophism is connected with these magnetic relocation events. As I said repeatly, I think we may be on the threshold of another geological epoch that will move us out of the Holocene period. What has separated geological periods in the planets past? Geological cataclysms and extinction level events. The Nyos CO2 limnic overturn of the volcanic lake of 1986 in Africa was a new geological phenomena that scientist never believed the Earth was capable of doing. I subscribe to the fact that we’re going to soon learn the planet’s spectrum of reactions during these ensuing changes.

      • Joseph t. Repas says:

        So true Alvin. thank you. whether by fire or flood or ice the changes are like birthpangs..there is no denying a life is about to be born.

  6. consciousuniverse says:

    Considering all of the previous comments (and everything I’ve read about this issue,) I can’t help wondering about about oil companies drilling in the Arctic. “Only fools go where wise men fear to tread.”

    • Tom says:

      Not that bright to drill in the Arctic regions. Much methane is stored in permafrost
      Here in sweden we have some lakes with methane, in the winter the gas can be noticed under the ice and can be set on fire
      When we were kids we used to do that

  7. geode says:

    250million years ago in the Permian era there was a mass extinction event that wiped out 95% of earth life over a very short space of time, believe to have been the result of a increase volcanic activity, causing ocean temperatures to rise by 5 degrees, releasing high quantities of methane which increased oceans by a further 5 degrees, wiping out all marine life, is it possible similar event could be in the early stages?

    • That’s a concern and we will continue to watch and see where the scientific evidence leads. There are many characterstics of past extinctions, like events geologists claim happened during the Permian and Cretaceous, showing up now in the Holocene period- so there maybe common threads portending a planetary overturn is about to ensue. That is where both my concern and interest lies.

      • tirionson says:

        This may be inconsequential to the manmade disaster threatening in the Gulf, salt domes that had been hollowed out and then filled with Methane. Ethane, Xylene and Butane are now leaking, the area has been declared a Red Zone. Many of these salt domes are interconnected and strung out into the Gulf in the general direction of the BP incident. “Sink holes” are forming and many gas companies franticly are evacuating the ‘strategic oil supplies’ even as you read this – it is not receiving any national coverage. Avery dangerous situation indeed. The whole area is geologically unstable – the entire Gulf seabed is fractured and leaking oil and gases. Swarms of earthquakes go unreported. This would be an extinction event.

  8. Rob says:

    Re: Tunguska……. Not ALL of Tesla’s creations were for peaceful means of supplying inexpensive energy to the World. He had to do something to finance his dreams & the Military is fairly free with handing out our money for inventions that give them even the slightest of advantages. It’s quite a plausible theory when one looks at the timing of certain assertions Tesla made.

  9. Nonnie Loest says:

    Alvin, as soon as I looked at the picture of the Arctic Circle, this verse came to mind. Isaiah 24:20 “The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard…” V. 19 says “The earth is utterly broken down, the earth is clean dissolved, the earth is moved exceedingly.” Lord help us. I used to pray (very selfishly) for the rapture, to get me out of this place. Now I ask for one more day, one more day Lord if there is someone yet to be saved… It seems hard to think the Lord will not move speedily. We could still be here a while. I find myself looking at my home, my yard, my neighborhood like someone who is moving out of their home. It is just unreal how people are unaware of what is happening. God bless you, as you keep us informed.

    • Irene C says:

      I understand how you feel Nonnie Loest. I also feel selfish for wanting the Lord to hurry up and get us out of here. On the other hand, I want one more day to spread the news about what is happening and to tell them that time is short. I think about my retirement in less than 2 years and realize that it might make any difference.

      Maranatha

  10. Green Leader says:

    I seem to recall another post a few months back describing “hundreds” of 1km-wide “methane fountains” boiling in the shallow waters of the Eastern Siberian Arctic Shelf. Arctic Methane Emergency Group report, I think.

    While I don’t share your conclusions that the climate shift and warming oceans are being driven by underwater vulcanism and the pole shift, I’m equally alarmed that our industrial activity has brought us to this odd precipice.

    There’s an awful lot out there about a “global coastal event” in various predictive circles. I think we all assumed it would be an asteroid (or the pole shift) that caused such an event, but the chance that the sea bed will turn over, or a ‘displacement event’ by methane occurring in the Arctic suddenly seems much more likely. Ick.

    I love ya’lls take on the noctilucent clouds. I wondered if those changes were tied to the methane as well.

  11. Sharon Lawson says:

    Seabeds follow trenches of seabed
    Materials ly along straits and dark
    Darker seabeds each relying on each
    Other for its inner workings of sustainable
    Nettles of pulses from the moon
    My father Floyd J Shirley
    Studied this with Mr James
    Van Allen and others in the
    1950″s. the chemical processes
    Released in the waters are the
    Product of numerous orbital
    And plenary changes utmost.
    Earth has her own way to release
    Her enormous fury while we
    Must be assertive in her vibrant
    Forms of mystery enforces
    Balance.

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