Like ‘champagne bottles being opened’: Scientists document an ancient Arctic methane explosion

What could possibly go wrong, ignoring climate change, the warnings or clues from what science tells us, even if we were just creating a better world with clean energy, and millions of new jobs?

One thing which could go very wrong, are based on the so called positive feedbacks, that is triggering additional processes which eventually lead to more warming.

One of those suspected feedbacks is the release of methane stored or trapped in large quantities in frozen soils in the Arctic or Antarctica, or produced in soils if conditions are right. Methane, although most commonly observed in gas form, can sometimes become trapped at the bottom of the ocean in very deep or cold regions, freezing into a solid substance known as a methane hydrate, also called methane clathrate.

Ice like crystal structures of water, forming a solid, similar to that of ice.

It can remain trapped this way until something destabilizes it.

Originally thought to occur only in the outer regions of the Solar System, where temperatures are low and water ice is common, significant deposits of methane clathrate have been found under sediments on the ocean floors of the Earth.

The observed density of clathrates is around 0.9 g per cubic centimetre, which means that methane hydrate will float to the surface of the sea, unless it is bound in place by being formed in or anchored to sediments.

One cubic metre of the compound releases about 160 cubic metres of methane gas.

This matters because methane is a potent greenhouse gas — its global warming potential, the effect on the atmosphere is up to 34 times as strong as that of carbon dioxide over a period of 100 years or so, according to the IPCC.
But in the first decade or two, before decaying to CO2, methane’s warming potential is 86 times as much as that of CO2.

New findings, described in the study “Massive blow-out craters formed by hydrate-controlled methane expulsion from the Arctic seafloor” published June 2017, in the journal Science, by a team of researchers from CAGE Centre for Arctic Gas Hydrate, Environment and Climate, from Norway, are the latest of recent discoveries in climate science, suggesting Arctic methane explosions took place in the ancient past.

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