Solid Methane on the Ocean Floor

Discussion in 'Science' started by kazenatsu, Dec 2, 2018.

  1. kazenatsu

    kazenatsu Well-Known Member Donor

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    This is kind of some weird science.

    Most of you are familiar with methane. It's the gas that comes out of your kitchen stove.
    7-10% of the gas that comes out of farts is comprised of methane.

    Methane is obviously a gas, and it's not very easy to liquify. (Even dry ice isn't cold enough to liquify it.) And unlike propane, it's impractical to try to use pressure to liquify it. (Even 1000 atmospheres of pressure in a Siberian Winter is only enough to just start liquifying a portion of it.)

    Nevertheless, methane is stored in the Earth. Methane has the capability to combine with water in a way that allows it to be stored more easily. No, if you try to mix methane with water you won't see anything magical happen. The magic happens deep under the oceans, at crushing depths with high pressures and cool temperatures.

    This solid methane exists in the form of something called a clathrate, where the crystal structure incorporates both molecules of methane and water.

    You can see a cube of this substance burning in this video:


    This clathrate exists in clay layers beneath the ocean floor.

    Unlike regular ice, the solid methane-water complex stays solid up to 57 degrees F under the immense pressures at the ocean floor (80 atmospheres). Over 90% of the ocean floor is below 42 degrees F.

    This has big implications for global warming, since as temperatures rise, a larger percentage of the ocean floor is no longer cool enough in temperature to sustain methane in its solid clathrate form and more methane will be released.

    Methane is a much more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, more than 6 times as much.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2018
  2. Bowerbird

    Bowerbird Well-Known Member

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    We have known about this for around 20 years - it is one of the "tipping points" that has scientists concerned and may trigger run away global warming

    And please do not tell me that you can move to the Antarctic because a) when the Antartic was forested the equator was a desert and b) Australia owns most of the Antarctic ;)
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2018
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  3. wyly

    wyly Well-Known Member

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    it's all fake news just ask any right wing tea party high school dropout...
     
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  4. wyly

    wyly Well-Known Member

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    I've heard the denier claim this simple solution of moving north or south..really? how do the populations already in those locations feel about these future climate refugees ...ironically that comes from right wingers who resist relatively small numbers coming to their country seeking refuge now...when climate change really hits it'll be many millions moving north and south

    and then there's the timeline issue deniers think this will happen overnight... it'll take many centuries before the arctic and antarctic to become really hospitable for multitudes, centuries after the equatorial regions become uninhabitable...
     
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  5. kazenatsu

    kazenatsu Well-Known Member Donor

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    I think a lot of them are hoping the people in the Middle East will just bake.

    Anyway, there's a lot of unoccupied land in the cold barren tundras of Canada and Northern Russia.
     
  6. wyly

    wyly Well-Known Member

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    I've lived in those unoccupied cold barren tundras...they're unoccupied for good reason, bottomless muskeg, barren bedrock...
     
  7. kazenatsu

    kazenatsu Well-Known Member Donor

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    They would eventually develop fertile soil after temperatures consistently warmed up.
    It might take a few decades, but there are ways to speed that process up. Have you heard of permaculture?

    Also I've read part of the reason these former grasslands reverted to tundra was because native grazing animals had been hunted out of existence and their hooves are important at turning up soil and allowing the moist cold soil to be able to dry out so that acid-producing mosses and lichens don't grow.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2018
  8. wyly

    wyly Well-Known Member

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    exposed bedrock doesn't develop fertile soil...decades is extremely optimistic...as I said I've lived there, there won't be any large influx of humanity moving in
     
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  9. tecoyah

    tecoyah Well-Known Member

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    And it is currently melting:

    as is permafrost:
     
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  10. Bowerbird

    Bowerbird Well-Known Member

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    You mean the Tundras that are mostly swamps in the summer, are infested with disease carrying mosquitoes and are about as hospitable as the Gobi desert?

    BTW warming of those swamps is releasing methane

    https://news.nationalgeographic.com...squito-warming-caribou-Greenland-climate-CO2/
     
  11. Bowerbird

    Bowerbird Well-Known Member

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    Yep!

    Why is it not happening large scale now?

    Answer is always money
     
  12. kazenatsu

    kazenatsu Well-Known Member Donor

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    I realize this may not be a realistic scenario, but theoretically if the Earth warmed very very slowly, gradually over 600 years, that methane could be released and broken down in the atmosphere to carbon dioxide (a less potent greenhouse gas) without accumulating and tipping things into a runaway warming scenario. Then forests could start growing in these areas, with more biomass, brought about by the increase in temperatures, which could resequester that carbon dioxide.

    Most of that methane in the ground probably originally came from ancient forests, which had turned into peat bogs and got buried underground.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2018
  13. Bowerbird

    Bowerbird Well-Known Member

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    But that is NOT what is happening
     
  14. wyly

    wyly Well-Known Member

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    no the tundra is really been around long only since the last Ice Age during that ice ages the ice cover was 3-4 kilometers thick and so no forests then either...any forests prior to the last Ice Age would've been scraped away by the glaciers...

    northern forests suck at storing co2, that's what the tropical rain forests do best...
     
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  15. wyly

    wyly Well-Known Member

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    before it was tundra it was cover by the glacial ice cap...there are still grasses today...but you seem to believe it's like southern grasslands, it ain't ...you're not farming this grassland, permafrost can extend to a depth of 2000ft/600meters, how long do guess it's gonna take to melt and become stable...how much CO2 and Methane will be released?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    building on tundra permafrost becomes problematic when it begins thawing

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2018
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  16. OldManOnFire

    OldManOnFire Well-Known Member

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    In order to increase ocean water temperature at the ocean floor from 42℉ to 57℉+ gotta wonder what the ocean water surface temperatures will be when this happens? Seems to me before we ever release this solid methane we will already be in deep doodoo...
     
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  17. wyly

    wyly Well-Known Member

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    yup with that kind of increase I'd guess the oceans would become a dead cesspool...part of a mass extinction event and that would include humanity
     
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