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Non-gradual methane releases from ESAS quantified

From a Symposium November 30th.

Bad news: directly observed fluxes exceed estimated by up to 3 orders of magnitude

Interpretation of acoustical data recorded with deployed multibeam sonar allowed moderate quantification of bottom fluxes as high as 44 g/m2/d (Leifer et al., in preparation). Prorating these numbers to the areas of hot spots (210×103 km2) adds 3.5Gt to annual methane release from the ESAS. This is enough to trigger abrupt climate change.


That's in addition to the 8 tg from non-abrupt releases. This is the figure we were waiting on. This is the estimated additional releases from abrupt non-linear sources. 3.5 Gt a year.

See Shakhova Interview

That's it. That's the doctor coming in and telling you to get your affairs in order as it's terminal. Presented in such an antiseptic manner, that once he leaves the room, you ask yourself, "Did he just say I'm dying?"

Returning to the 4 GtC release scenario, assume such a release occurs over a one-year period

In this event, methane will enter the atmosphere as methane gas. It will have a residence time of several decades and a global warming potential of 62 times that of carbon dioxide over a 20-year period.

This would be the equivalent of 248 GtC as carbon dioxide or 31 times the annual man-made GHG emissions of today. Put another way, this would have the impact of nearly 30 years worth of GHG warming all at once. The result would almost certainly be a rapid rise in the average air temperature, perhaps as much as 3°F immediately. This might be tolerable if that’s as far as things go. But, just like 15,000 years ago, if the feedback mechanisms kick in, we can expect rapid melting of Greenland and Antarctic ice and an overall temperature increase of 30°F.

For point of reference, the average temperature of the Earth (atmosphere, land and top layer of the ocean) in 2004 is around 60°F. The methane hydrate release projected here would raise the temperature to around 90°F or more. Such high temperatures would undoubtedly destabilize all of the other methane hydrates in the ocean and arctic permafrost, some 10,000 GtC or 620,000 GtC equivalent as carbon dioxide. This would have the impact of 78,000 years worth of GHG warming over a few decades. The temperatures reached and sustained would most likely cause a rapid die off in ocean phytoplankton and other sea life as well as most land plants and animals, including humans. The result would be a mass extinction and mark a major transition point in the Earth’s geological history.


30 years of GHG emissions every yr. Until the whole thing blows. Been happening for at least the last yr.


Great read! I wish you could follow up to this topic

Methane Armageddon

There you go.
First link does not work.
Fixed it.

Edited at 2012-01-29 01:35 am (UTC)


Amazing how simple it can be to communicate with people and have them understand a certain topic, you made my day.

National Help Center Law Group (www.nhclawgroup.com)

Edited at 2012-02-10 10:28 am (UTC)

Doing the numbers

Multiplying 44g/m2/d with 365 gives 16060g/m2/y. Multiplying that number with 210000m*103000m gives 347377800 metric tons per year. Or approximately 347Mt annual methane release. A big number, and enough to make a difference, but a factor 10 from 3.5Gt.

And then it may be seasonal. Like 2 months a year when the water is warm. Then we are at something like 58Mt annually.

Edited at 2012-06-03 08:25 am (UTC)

October 2018



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