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    Posted March 29, 2014 by
    BruceRubin
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    ON GLOBAL WARMING AND METHANE - THERE ARE GIGATONS OF FROZEN METHANE CLATHRATE IN THE PERMAFROST AND OCEANS. IF RELEASED BY RISING TEMPERATURES EXTINCTION WOULD BE THE END RESULT

     

    Methane clathrate, also known commonly as methane hydrate, is a form of water ice that contains a large amount of methane within its crystal structure. Potentially large deposits of methane clathrate have been found under sediments on the ocean floors of the Earth, although there are many orders of magnitudes in between the estimates of various experts.[6] In fact, the existence of vast oceanic methane clathrate formation is uncertain and usually only based on reflective seismology and pieces larger than 10 cm have only been recovered from three sites.[7]

     

    The sudden release of large amounts of natural gas from methane clathrate deposits in runaway climate change could be a cause of past, future, and present climate changes. The release of this trapped methane is a potential major outcome of a rise in temperature; it is thought that this is a main factor in the global warming of 6°C that happened during the end-Permian extinction,[8] as methane is much more powerful as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide (despite its atmospheric lifetime of around 12 years, it has a global warming potential of 72 over 20 years and 25 over 100 years) and 33 when accounted for aerosol interactions.[9] The theory also predicts this will greatly affect available oxygen and hydroxyl radical content of the atmosphere.

     

    The Permian–Triassic (P–Tr) extinction event occurred about 252 Ma (million years) ago,[2] forming the boundary between the Permian and Triassic geologic periods, as well as the Paleozoic and Mesozoic eras. It is the Earth's most severe known extinction event, with up to 96% of all marine species[3] and 70% of terrestrial vertebrate species becoming extinct.[4] It is the only known mass extinction of insects.[5][6] Some 57% of all families and 83% of all genera became extinct. Because so much biodiversity was lost, the recovery of life on Earth took significantly longer than after any other extinction event,[3] possibly up to 10 million years.[7]

     

    Researchers have variously suggested that there were from one to three distinct pulses, or phases, of extinction.[4][8][9][10] There are several proposed mechanisms for the extinctions; the earlier phase was probably due to gradual environmental change, while the latter phase has been argued to be due to a catastrophic event. Suggested mechanisms for the latter include sudden release of methane clathrate from the sea floor; gradual changes include sea-level change, anoxia, increasing aridity, and a shift in ocean circulation driven by climate change. Focusing on the Permian-Triassic boundary, Gregory Ryskin[11] explores the possibility that mass extinction can be caused by an extremely fast, explosive release of dissolved methane (and other dissolved gases such as carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide) that accumulated in the oceanic water masses prone to stagnation and anoxia (e.g., in silled basins), also called canfield ocean.

     

    The so-called self-preservation phenomenon has been intensively studied by Russian geologists starting in the late 1980s.[12] This metastable clathrate state can be a basis for release events of methane excursions, such as during the interval of the last glacial maximum.[13] A study from 2010 concluded with the possibility for a trigger of abrupt climate warming based on metastable methane clathrates in the East Siberian Arctic Shelf (ESAS) region.[14]

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