Health Supreme by Sepp Hasslberger

Networking For A Better Future - News and perspectives you may not find in the media

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February 01, 2005

Global Warming: Methane Could Be Far Worse Than Carbon Dioxide

Methane gas, abundantly trapped as a half frozen slush in the northern hemisphere's tundra permafrost regions and at the bottom of the sea may well be a ticking time bomb, says geologist John Atcheson in an article published by the Baltimore Sun in December last year. Methane is about twenty-five times stronger as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Since arctic warming seems to procede faster than expected, there is a real danger that deposits of methane and similar gases trapped in normally frozen ground, may thaw out and "belch" into the atmosphere, wreaking havoc with our computer simulations of global warming.

According to Gregory Ryskin, associate professor of chemical engineering at Northwestern University, "explosive clouds of methane gas, initially trapped in stagnant bodies of water and suddenly released, could have killed off the majority of marine life and land animals and plants at the end of the Permian era" — long before dinosaurs lived and died. Ruskin believes that methane may have been the driving force in previous catastrophic changes of the earth's climate, where 95 percent of marine species and 70 percent of land species were lost in - geologically speaking - the blink of an eye.

You may ask "what can I do about this?". There are some suggestions in an article posted on the ZPEnergy site. Perhaps we should do everything possible to reverse the current trend towards global warming by burning less fossil fuels. The first target would be to go "carbon neutral", after which we should be figuring out ways to trap some of the excess carbon in the atmosphere and use it or store it in a non-gaseous form.

Using hydrogen instead of petroleum-derived fuels would be a first step, although we must find a way to produce the gas without burning more of the black stuff. Options range from the relatively inefficient direct-current electrolysis, solar hydrogen production at sea, the use of metal catalysts, high frequency electric currents, ultraviolet light and the action of bacteria which naturally produce hydrogen. It seems none of the technologies are quite ready to use, but there is no room for complacency.

Comes to mind the methane atmosphere that was recently found to be prevalent on Saturn's moon Titan. Could there be a point of break in the equilibrium of atmospheric composition where a celestial body's gas cover can switch from a predominantly nitrogen/oxygen composition to predominantly methane? If so, we better watch our steps because human bodies as well as most known animal species do not run on methane. We might be in for an unpleasant surprise.

John Acheson asks:

"How likely is it that humans will cause methane burps by burning fossil fuels? No one knows. But it is somewhere between possible and likely at this point, and it becomes more likely with each passing year that we fail to act.

So forget rising sea levels, melting ice caps, more intense storms, more floods, destruction of habitats and the extinction of polar bears. Forget warnings that global warming might turn some of the world's major agricultural areas into deserts and increase the range of tropical diseases, even though this is the stuff we're pretty sure will happen."

In what might have been an early warning, in 1986, lake Nyos in Cameroon "burped" an amount of gases killing 1800 people, following a much smaller scale disaster on neighbouring lake Monoun two years earlier, which killed 37 people. While carbon dioxide has been fingered as the main culprit, there seems to have been a "fiery" component to the eruption indicating possible presence of combustible methane: "Skin discoloration found on some victims were tentatively interpreted as burns, but this diagnosis is still controversial. Witnesses on topographic highs report a loud noise originating from the lake and, in the case of lake Nyos, flashes of light visible over the lake".

Apparently, three dissolved gasses, carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulphide and methane come together and indeed, a project to recover the methane from the waters of Lake Kivu, on Rwanda's north-western border, is in advanced stage of engineering. A similar project is underway to de-gas lakes Nyos and Monoun in Cameroon.

While such isolated cases as the lakes in Africa may be amenable to direct engineering solutions, capturing the gasses and putting the methane to use as a fuel, we may not have such an easy solution ready for widespread methane outgassing from the warming of larger bodies of water and huge stretches of half-frozen tundra.

The only possible solution to stem the steady increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide would seem to satisfy our energy needs without burning hydrocarbons.

Ticking Time Bomb

John Atcheson
Baltimore Sun
15 Dec 2004


The Arctic Council's recent report on the effects of global warming in the far north paints a grim picture: global floods, extinction of polar bears and other marine mammals, collapsed fisheries. But it ignored a ticking time bomb buried in the Arctic tundra.

There are enormous quantities of naturally occurring greenhouse gasses trapped in ice-like structures in the cold northern muds and at the bottom of the seas. These ices, called clathrates, contain 3,000 times as much methane as is in the atmosphere. Methane is more than 20 times as strong a greenhouse gas as carbon dioxide.

Now here's the scary part. A temperature increase of merely a few degrees would cause these gases to volatilize and "burp" into the atmosphere, which would further raise temperatures, which would release yet more methane, heating the Earth and seas further, and so on. There's 400 gigatons of methane locked in the frozen arctic tundra - enough to start this chain reaction - and the kind of warming the Arctic Council predicts is sufficient to melt the clathrates and release these greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

Once triggered, this cycle could result in runaway global warming the likes of which even the most pessimistic doomsayers aren't talking about.

An apocalyptic fantasy concocted by hysterical environmentalists? Unfortunately, no. Strong geologic evidence suggests something similar has happened at least twice before.

The most recent of these catastrophes occurred about 55 million years ago in what geologists call the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), when methane burps caused rapid warming and massive die-offs, disrupting the climate for more than 100,000 years.

The granddaddy of these catastrophes occurred 251 million years ago, at the end of the Permian period, when a series of methane burps came close to wiping out all life on Earth.

More than 94 percent of the marine species present in the fossil record disappeared suddenly as oxygen levels plummeted and life teetered on the verge of extinction. Over the ensuing 500,000 years, a few species struggled to gain a foothold in the hostile environment. It took 20 million to 30 million years for even rudimentary coral reefs to re-establish themselves and for forests to regrow. In some areas, it took more than 100 million years for ecosystems to reach their former healthy diversity.

Geologist Michael J. Benton lays out the scientific evidence for this epochal tragedy in a recent book, When Life Nearly Died: The Greatest Mass Extinction of All Time. As with the PETM, greenhouse gases, mostly carbon dioxide from increased volcanic activity, warmed the earth and seas enough to release massive amounts of methane from these sensitive clathrates, setting off a runaway greenhouse effect.

The cause of all this havoc?

In both cases, a temperature increase of about 10.8 degrees Fahrenheit, about the upper range for the average global increase today's models predict can be expected from burning fossil fuels by 2100. But these models could be the tail wagging the dog since they don't add in the effect of burps from warming gas hydrates. Worse, as the Arctic Council found, the highest temperature increases from human greenhouse gas emissions will occur in the arctic regions - an area rich in these unstable clathrates.

If we trigger this runaway release of methane, there's no turning back. No do-overs. Once it starts, it's likely to play out all the way.

Humans appear to be capable of emitting carbon dioxide in quantities comparable to the volcanic activity that started these chain reactions. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, burning fossil fuels releases more than 150 times the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by volcanoes - the equivalent of nearly 17,000 additional volcanoes the size of Hawaii's Kilauea.

And that is the time bomb the Arctic Council ignored.

How likely is it that humans will cause methane burps by burning fossil fuels? No one knows. But it is somewhere between possible and likely at this point, and it becomes more likely with each passing year that we fail to act.

So forget rising sea levels, melting ice caps, more intense storms, more floods, destruction of habitats and the extinction of polar bears. Forget warnings that global warming might turn some of the world's major agricultural areas into deserts and increase the range of tropical diseases, even though this is the stuff we're pretty sure will happen.

Instead, let's just get with the Bush administration's policy of pre-emption. We can't afford to have the first sign of a failed energy policy be the mass extinction of life on Earth. We have to act now.

John Atcheson, a geologist, has held a variety of policy positions in several federal government agencies.

See also:

Man-made Global Warming - The Debate is not over!
Global warming is going to wreak havoc with the world economy. That is the latest dire prediction based on the idea that our use of fossil fuels and our production and release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere is responsible for an increase-to-come in temperatures. We've got to act now, we are being told. There is a strong consensus that we're in for some heavy heat and that industry is to blame for it. So energy use must be curtailed and polluters must be made to pay. UN General Secretary Kofi Annan says that there is "a frightening lack of leadership" regarding the steps to take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions...

Methane's Impacts on Climate Change May Be Twice Previous Estimates

March 2005: Scientists Create, Study Methane Hydrates in 'Ocean Floor' Lab

Global temperatures could be set to soar
New Scientist - 29 January 2005:
THE Earth could be even more sensitive to global warming than we imagined. If carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere double, as they are widely expected to do, the planet's temperature could rise by a huge 11.5 °C, according to early results from a project that uses home PCs to test climate models.

Runaway Methane Global Warming

Atmospheric Methane - Oceanic Burp Warmed Earth
Researchers have found evidence to support a theory that an abrupt warming of the Earth 55 million years ago was caused by the sudden release from the ocean of frozen deposits of methane.

Take a look at this "coincidence" of Los Angeles rainfall in 1883-84 and Los Angeles rainfall for the present "water year" of 2004-05...

CBS News: Ancient Global Warming Disaster

Methane may have caused extinction

Global Warming
Scientific documentation and ramifications of global warming from both human as well as natural causes. A number of global warming links on the Free Energy News site.

Suggestions for Urgent Action to Avoid an End to Life on Earth by 2026!

Alternatives to fossil fuel technologies...

Hot and Bothered: An Interview with Ross Gelbspan
Mother Jones - April 18, 2005
For nearly a decade, Ross Gelbspan has watched global warming deniers generate a lot of heat, and little light. "First time around, they said global warming is not happening," he says. "Then after the science became pretty powerful, they said, `Well it's good for us.' Now they're saying that the impacts will be pretty negligible. They're a moving target." The former Boston Globe editor and veteran journalist first encountered the skeptics when he started writing about climate change in the early 1990s. Their arguments almost convinced him to drop the subject altogether. But he soon came to understand that global warming was not only real, it was perhaps the most important story of the day.

Some Like It Hot
WHEN NOVELIST MICHAEL CRICHTON took the stage before a lunchtime crowd in Washington, D.C., one Friday in late January, the event might have seemed, at first, like one more unremarkable appearance by a popular author with a book to sell. Indeed, Crichton had just such a book, his new thriller, State of Fear. But the content of the novel, the setting of the talk, and the audience who came to listen transformed the Crichton event into something closer to a hybrid of campaign rally and undergraduate seminar...

Mystery Climate Mechanism May Counteract Global Warming
A new study by two physicists at the University of Rochester suggests there is a mechanism at work in the Earth’s atmosphere that may blunt the influence of global warming, and that this mechanism is not accounted for in the computer models scientists currently use to predict the future of the world’s temperature. The researchers, David H. Douglass and Robert S. Knox, professors of physics, plotted data from satellite measurements of the Earth’s atmosphere in the months and years following the volcanic eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991. The results, published in an upcoming issue of Geophysical Research Letters (and now online), show that global temperatures dropped more and rebounded to normal significantly faster than conventional climate models could have predicted.

Michael Crichton's book STATE OF FEAR discusses global warming in the informal setting of a novel. He nevertheless does give documentation and states his conclusions clearly. Perhaps the essential concept he conveys is that "we know astonishingly little about every aspect of the environment, from its past history, to its present state, to how to conserve and protect it."

Weather Wars

Greenland Sea Cold Water Re-Cycling Has Nearly Stopped
Britain Expected to Become Cooler. by Linda Moulton Howe

Will the Threat to Life Cause Vested Interests to Support Energy Breakthroughs?
Rapid melting of the arctic permafrost is an unrecognized time bomb. Huge deposits of methane, a greenhouse gas twenty times more destructive than carbon dioxide, are locked in the permafrost. Methane, released as "burps", could snuff all mammalian life in the arctic ...

Origin of pingo-like features on the Beaufort Sea shelf and their possible relationship to decomposing methane gas hydrates
The Arctic shelf is currently undergoing dramatic thermal changes caused by the continued warming associated with Holocene sea level rise. During this transgression, comparatively warm waters have flooded over cold permafrost areas of the Arctic Shelf. A thermal pulse of more than 10°C is still propagating down into the submerged sediment and may be decomposing gas hydrate as well as permafrost.

Video: The Great Global Warming Swindle

Gas Hydrates on the ocean floors - On June 15, 2007 the Science channel noted that there is enough energy in gas hydrates in the Gulf of Mexico to power all USA energy needs for 3,000 years. These deposits are found worldwide in the oceans and represent a cleaner and far more abundant source of energy than oil. Methane hydrate is the most common form.

September 2008: The methane time bomb
Scientists aboard a research ship that has sailed the entire length of Russia's northern coast have discovered intense concentrations of methane – sometimes at up to 100 times background levels – over several areas covering thousands of square miles of the Siberian continental shelf.

Methane is about 20 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide and many scientists fear that its release could accelerate global warming in a giant positive feedback where more atmospheric methane causes higher temperatures, leading to further permafrost melting and the release of yet more methane.


posted by Sepp Hasslberger on Tuesday February 1 2005
updated on Sunday December 26 2010

URL of this article:


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Readers' Comments

Here is something that could add to methanogens munching in the warming and rotting tundra.

The soliton wave resulting from the Dec 26 quake and its tsunami (+ the effects of the week-earlier giant quake south of Australia) could have released CH4 from delicate unstable methane hydrate crystals on the ocean floor.

The wave was only an elevation of about 50 cm, but it traveled along the ocean floor at circa 700 kph. I can only guess that some methane would have been released. Some may have "re-crystalized" but crystal growth processes are slow and CH4 gas would have gone upward and away.

In addition, the shock of the 2 quakes could have liberated more CH4 from these crystals. And in addition to that, both CO2 and CH4 might have been liberated from near-shore sediments that contain organic matter.

Moreover, as with a soft-drink can that is shaken, some amount of CO2 dissolved in the ocean may have been liberated by those huge quakes.

Also, ocean flora use CO2 and sunlight to make organic matter. Less CO2 means ever so slightly fewer ocean flora. Fewer ocean flora means less sunlight converted into organic matter and more being retained in the ocean as warmer water. So we could see a temporary glitch El Nino somewhere, changing world weather as a result.

All of the above possibilities would suddenly add localized greenhouse gas, as opposed to steady release of greenhouse gas from warming and rotting tundra.

The suddenness and limited area of the release and warming might upset delicate complex climate equilibriums. This would create wilder weather. And wilder weather would lessen agricultural production. Marginal areas could face additional hunger. World economy in general might feel the effects. Tom Slattery

Posted by: Tom Slattery on February 1, 2005 09:30 PM


Thank you for your comment, Tom.

I think the question is not about methanogens munching away, but rather accumulated methane in icy crystal form turning to methane gas.

Whether the tsunami wave might have anything to do with this - frankly I think it unlikely, because waves do not generally travel along the ocean floor like a current might and thus do not unstabilize things at the ocean floor level.

In fact, some divers who were under water at the time of the tsunami only found out that anything had happened when they emerged and saw signs of destruction such as floating debris.

By the way, no one is saying that this is already happening. It is a possibility that should be investigated. That's all.

Posted by: Sepp on February 1, 2005 10:29 PM


I would urge skepticism with any "official pronouncements" by so-called experts. Many (if not most) times they are simply advocating policy changes to enhance their own lucrative positions. And why should we be over-concerned with the production of CO2? According to The Weather Channel, a greater surface of the earth is now covered with forests than ever before. So isn't that a blessing? I took a university course in natural resources and environmental quality; one of the things we learned was that agricultural productivity is actually higher next to highways. So while I applaud the efforts to reduce toxic emissions like mercury, let's take a rational and market-based approach to the situation. By inventively adapting to these earth changes, we can learn to live with them and maybe even prevent them from becoming too cataclysmic. And if all else fails, consider a brighter future in underground homes!

Posted by: Visionaerie on February 2, 2005 10:53 PM


The discussion with Tom Slattery continued by email. Here is where we are, so far 23 February 05:

Tom Slattery on 2 February:

Thanks for replying.

On tundra methane: my understanding was that as the tundra warms due to global warming it begins to rot. Various microorganisms, includig methanogens, become increasingly active. More CO2 and more CH4 is produced as a result.

On the methane hydrate crystals along the deep ocean bottom: I am just wildly guessing that there was some disturbance. These extremely unstable "clathane" crystals only grow where it is ultra-still, ultra-deep, and ultra-cold. The soliton wave that eventually resulted in the tsunamis of December 26 had an elevation of only about 50 cm. This would not mean much of a pressure difference. But the pressure difference did travel along the ocean floor at 700 kph. Alas, I have no idea what it takes to break up a methane hydrate crystal. But I just have a gut feeling that some of these very delicate unstable crystals "decrystalized" into methane and water, and the former made its way to the surface.

Reports are that as the solitons entered shallower water and became tsunamis they ripped apart coral beds and a lot else on the near-shore ocean floor. Perhaps the divers only drifted along on it and, as you say, experienced almost nothing. But subsequent divers have been going down and reporting damage.

So I have to guess that at least some of the sediment was disturbed and trapped CH4 and CO2 was released. How much? I donno.

Same with the big whacks of the two late-December quakes. These had to have shakend out some dissolved CO2 from ocean water. That would have a twofold effect. First and most obviously, it could have put ever so slightly more greenhouse gas into the atmoshere. But the after that the other effect would have more of a greenhouse impact. Ocean flora live by using sunlight to convert CO2 into plant organic matter. Less CO2 will mean less of these ocean flora, which need it to live. Less ocean flora means that more sunlight will heat water instead of being used to make plant organic matter.

So one could imagine that there could be some ocean warming in the region. And we know what El Nino ocean warming does to global weather.

But this is all just wild speculation. Who knows? Tom Slattery

Sepp on 2 February:

Thanks Tom,

I see your reasoning. As you say, we can speculate, but I have a feeling it's better to try and collect the facts we know, and base our conclusions on them.

Kind regards

Tom, again on 2 February:

Yes. Sad to say, without more facts this speculation comes close to becoming a form of entertainment. Its saving grace is that before any facts can be gotten, intelligent questions have to be asked. I probably lack the mental and physical resources to find answers to these, but in tossing the asking of them out there, I can only hope that someone might dredge up some of the necessary facts. Tom Slattery

Sepp, again, on 2 February:

Good point, Tom.

perhaps just waking someone's interest is quite enough to get a result.


Tom Slattery on 23 February:

Here is an addition to my speculation about ocean-bottom methane hydrate being destabilized by the giant December 26, 2004 quake and its tsunamis.

The present destructive near-record rainfall of 34.36 inches (multiply by about 3 for cm) over Los Angeles and southern California is rapidly approaching the record circa 38 inches set in the 1883-84 rainfall season.

What happened in on August 26, 1883? Krakatoa blew up. And it sent tsunamis in about the same azreas as the Dec 26, 04 giant quake did.

Here's my guess. The released methane gas caused localized greenhouse warmig over the Indian Ocean and south Asia. This pushed the cold Siberian air mass northward. And this, in turn, pushed the Gulf of Alaska and north Pacific air southward.

Normally rainy Seattle has been dry. Southern California has gotten a huge amount of rain, nearing the 1883-84 record. I think that there may be something to it. Tom Slattery

Posted by: Sepp on February 23, 2005 07:56 PM


If we don't burn fossil fuels, then they will accumulate and create the problem you are addressing. Fossil fuels are millions of years in the making while there is a huge amount that has reached that age today and there will be more tomorrow. The energy from the sun is building up on earth like a huge solar collector. We need to use it, not run away from it. We need to use more fossil fuels. We need to have an honest dialodue about energy. Politics is clouding these basic truths.

Posted by: Bobby Fontaine on February 24, 2005 03:10 PM


how accurate is this information?

Posted by: joe benn on May 20, 2005 07:20 PM


I have been working on a project in Africa on Lake Kivu, mentioned in the original article, to produce methane from the 2tcf of dissolved methane gas (and 10tcf of carbon dioxide.)

The key is to balance the system and look for the ultimate energy cycle that can close the loop on production of methane from the lake, combustion in a power plant to produce CO2, dissolve much of the CO2 in lake water, then convert the CO2 back to methane using the methanogen (archaea) resident in the lake.

After three years of research, development and testing (in the lake) the project is ready to go commercial to produce 150MW of power cheaper than anything else around. The lake can sustain this cycle indefinitely and provide most of the energy needs in the region through electrical power and pipeline gas.

All of this development leads to the expanding possibilities and challenges of doing it in the seas and oceans at some locations I have identified. This can access a far larger resource as well as mitigate the impact(in some cases) of CO2 release to atmosphere.

I believe we can make significant progress in making more sustainable, renewable energy at the same time as tapping the deep-water methane which is a potentially huge and sustainable resource.

The process is now proven, the will to make it happen is the big challenge to follow.

Posted by: Philip Morkel on August 12, 2005 08:09 PM


Dear Sepp

What about methane emitted by cows? As someone from India, you can always accuse me of pushing my religious beliefs on others. But don't you think its time the rest of the world stopped breeding cows only for eating purposes? Nature has given us plenty of other things to eat and as the oldest surviving civilization, India is proof that it makes better sense not to eat beef.



Posted by: Balu on November 23, 2005 10:00 AM


Yes Balu,

while methane entrapped in permafrost is a potentially much larger source of the gas, the cow-produced methane is not to be underestimated.

I agree that we should find ways to push our eating habits further down the food chain, and start eating more vegetables. Perhaps as an abundant protein source we could grow plankton in sea water tanks. Some are already starting with this.

For sure it won't be easy to make the rest of the world follow the Indian example on cows, but it would be a worthwhile target nevertheless. Imagine the shift from violent disposition to a more civilized attitude...

Posted by: Sepp on November 23, 2005 11:47 AM


Let's look at Methane and the concepts surrounding the supposed 'greenhouse' effect.

Lets use for background a familar quote:-
["Bonds in molecules act like springs. Vibrations can be Symmetrical Asymmetrical, and Bending. In the atmosphere, carbon dioxide, methane, ozone, and water vapor absorb IR by this method (Vibration of Gas Molecules). Atmosphere receives much of its heat this way because the Earth's surface radiates IR. Dominant process for the Greenhouse Effect. Energy in the atmosphere then re-radiates back to the surface as IR via blackbody radiation."]

I would also refer you to the previosly supplied links:-

(for those with some suitable science behind them.)

To proceded.

It is clear that the "Vibrational Energy" outlined is infact being misinterpted as a "Vibration" of the entire "Gas Molecule" in a kinetic nature. THIS IS NOT THE CASE.

These are Quantum Vibrational State alterations, and the CONFORMAL (shape) alterations are temporary in QUANTUM Time frames. These 'shape changes'
produce secondary PHOTONS generally in the Infrared REGION with NO kinetic ALTERATION to the molecular unit (i.e no alteration to molecular velocity).

The overall effect of these inadequate treatments used, within 'greenhouse science', of well established theory and knowledge will be to overstate the 'temperature' being represented as being that of the actual materials being 'labeled' as 'greenhouse materials'.

So the Photonic Remittance of CH4 has led to 'greenhouse science' making CH4 into a very severe 'greenhouse gas'.

The REALITY is that CH4 is a very Active remitter of energy, as secondary Photons, and retains little as a kinetic gain OF the actual molecular unit.

So the PHOTONIC remittance by CH4 of secondary Photons is NOT indicative of the actual TEMPERATURE (the scaled measure of the kinetic velocity of the molecular units as an average) of the CH4 molecule either singularly or as a 'population' (in statistical considerations).
Within the 'greenhouse theory' the attempt is made to produce 'numbers' that use the remittance behavior of molecules as 'blackbody radiation'. This is done so as to enable 'greenhouse theory' to CLAIM warming, it is the basis of the ERRONEOUS use of Satellites taking measurements in RADAITION that are then made into measurements of TEMPERATURE, and this is an inadequate treatment of the situation actually present.

The absorbance and remittance of energy from molecules is well known as EMPIRICAL knowledge in the level of understanding that IS KNOWN to SCIENCE.

Interactions in a Photonic Style, with the remittance of a Photon, are infact INDEPENDENT of kinetic gains BY that molecule.

Kinetic gains by a Molecule are infact made within Wave-Kinetic Interactions, and the energy within the TOTAL INTERACTION is SPLIT between Photonic and Wave-Kinetic Interactions.

The SPLIT in TOTAL ENERGY use by interaction ALTERS with each molecule in conjunction with the specific spectrum being incident. So the various spectra will induce either more kinetic gains, or more energy as a remitted photon.

Again however the "GREENHOUSE THEORY" attempts to link the REEMITTENCE with the kinetic gain, and this IS incorrect.

Another example is wanted? Well it is said the Methane is 23x a stonger 'greenhouse gas' than CO2. As is outlined, the 'greenhouse potential' is seemingly related to the ability to reemit energy as Secondary Photons, MISTAKENLY infered by 'greenhouse science' as being a 'black body' response.

Thus the REALITY is that of the energy reemitted ~CO2:Methane is ~1:23, but that reemitted by H2O would then be placed H2O:CO2:CH4 as ~1:100:2300.

This is as the PREDOMINATE interaction undergone by H2O with Radiation in the overlapping spectra shared by these molecules is Wave-Kinetic and THAT results in kinetic gain by the ENTIRE H2O molecule as a VELOCITY increase, without a Photonic remittence of energy of any significance.

On the other hand, it is READILY seen how METHANE (and CO2) is an EXCELLENT natural oscillator to regulate the warming climate that actually caused the NATURAL release of such gases.

The release of Methane from natural reserves coincides with those reserves being placed fringing the Polar Regions, when land is suitably placed as it is by the “European Continent?? as it is presently positioned.

CH4 (and CO2) increase the NON H2O/Photon interactions by interceding more often. These ALTERATIONS, as INCREASES of these molecules (CH4 and CO2 as example) produce a REDUCTION in the incidence of H2O to cascade photons which reduces the rate of kinetic energy induction BY H2O and as such is a 'cooling process' within the atmosphere. (Remember 'heat induction' is the near inverse of photonic reemittence.)

The average 'cascade life' of a photon is ~12 months (either looses all energy or escape to Space), and we are speaking of alterations that will not drastically alter that time frame.

As a photon increases its altitude within the Cascade, the decreasing density of the atmosphere promotes the opportunity FOR that photon to avoid other interactions altogether, and actually ESCAPE the Cascade (and Atmosphere) altogether. Also, the condensation/ice points OF H2O (seen as altitudes within the atmosphere) keep atmospheric H2O low in the atmosphere, so Photons once gained of altitude can avoid water and still have a vastly improved chance to escape to open Space altogether.

Also, these Atmospheric processes are all SECONDARY to the primary induction of kinetic energy produced by the planetary surface.

Realise that the Cascade Process is involving ONLY Energy as Photons, the PRIMARY inductor of Kinetic ENERGY is STILL the Planetary Surface.

This (Planetary) Surface Conducts Kinetic Energy into the Atmosphere and it is this process that precedes and produces CONVECTION within the Atmosphere.

Convection within the Atmosphere is seen as Turbulence and Turbulence is driven tween differential in Temperature and Pressure.

Hurricanes and other ‘weather systems’ are the product of Turbulence, and variations in the behavior of these weather systems in their displayed patterning is produced by alterations to Turbulence including the amount of Kinetic Energy involved. These alterations are what Humanity classifies as ‘climate change’.

Unnatural alterations to kinetic energy indiction are driven by alterations to the material covering of the Planetary Surface.

Thus Unnatural Alteration to Climate, 'CLIMATE-CHANGE' per sec, is driven by Humanities sprawl acrss teh surface and the associated rematerialings thus produced, NOT by 'emmisions' which are indeed a problem as AIR POLLUTION.

Peter K. Anderson a.k.a. Hartlod(tm)
If you feel a need to discuss you can find me in Yahoo Groups ('climate-change' or 'powertothepeople').

Posted by: Peter K. Anderson a.k.a. Hartlod(tm) on January 14, 2006 07:43 AM


I am in the process of writing a paper on stored carbon in the earth in relation to global warming. In that quest, I have stumbled upon an alarming fact that you may or may not be aware of.

"Western Siberia is heating up faster than anywhere else in the world, having experienced a rise of some 3C in the past 40 years. The west Siberian peat bog could hold some 70 billion tonnes of methane, a quarter of all the methane stored in the ground around the world. Concentrations of dissolved methane on the Siberian shelf reached 25 times higher than atmospheric saturation, indicating escape of methane from coastal erosion into the atmosphere."

I won't bore you with the details of how varying amounts of released methane affect global warming, because I am sure you know that.

Instead, the reason I am writing this is the concern that local releases of methane due to global warming will lead to a feedback loop of localized warming, which will lead to further releases of methane, which will lead to still further micro-warming, etc..

In other words, global atmospheric levels of methane are irrelevant in the short term, as are global mean temperatures, but instead localized atmospheric levels of methane are relevant, as are localized high temperatures.

In particular, the difficulty of mathematically incorporating these localized micro-warming/methane clathrate feedback loops. In other words, I think there is a high probability that current global warming models are seriously underestimating the rate of methane clathrate emissions, and consequentiality the rate of future global warming.

I do not know if satellite imagery is able to detect surface methane levels, but if it could I predict that you would see a rapid increase in methane emissions from "hot spots" around the world as micro-warming/methane clathrate feedbacks loops start suddenly appearing in the immediate future.

In particular, it would be the high temperature (as opposed to the mean temperature) that will be the factor in starting the feedback loop. Also, this feedback loop could be over land or shallow ocean and lakes (less than about 100 meters of depth).

Posted by: Brad Arnold on February 2, 2006 09:16 AM


I am pleased to see that someone is giving voice to my fears regarding methane.
In my locality the bulk of homes, not mine, are over-heated by natural gas, burned in poorly maintained and, by their nature, in-efficient gas boilers. Thes are fed by a pipework system decades old. The result is the poor utilisation of an ultimately limited resource and the production of CO pollution and greenhouse gases CO2 and unburned methane. If natural gas (methane) must be used then it would be better burned in specialised efficient power stations, with CO2 cleaners, and the resulting power distributed as clean electricity.

Posted by: doug on January 26, 2007 04:48 PM


Is everybody ignoring the methane production from farm animals which outnumber humans by something like 5:1? We don't just have a human population problem - our western predilection for meat has created a farm animal population explosion. I read that biomass fuel can be made from turkey guts and pig fat but woldn't it be great if we were to use this crisis to look at our whole way of life and perhaps move in the direction of becming the superior moral beings we like to think we are.

Posted by: bobby on February 18, 2007 03:18 PM


Really, now. The methane burp.

Best we spring into action. Throw a few maidens into a volcano. That should do the trick.


Posted by: wally stickney on March 25, 2007 09:56 PM


I am concerned about methane, the primary waste from Natural gas, and now biofuels, also companies such as Methanex are marketing methane based fuels--we are in real trouble if this story is not uncovered, or if we ignore the science behind methane dangers!

Posted by: Sara Bartley on July 14, 2007 03:04 PM


I was very interested in Philip Morkel's project using Methane evolved from Lake Kivu. Could the same process be used in the tundra lakes which are beginning to release methane as a result of global warming. I was impressed by Dr Ian Stewart's Earth: The Power of the Planet no.2 Atmospere on BBC2 television. He was demonstrating Methane trapped under the ice. It was produced by the fermentation of decayed vegetation which had been trapped in the permafrost and on warming had slumped into the lake. Surely that would be easy to exploit on a large scale. It would save us using fossil fuel and solve the methane problem in one.

Posted by: Jon Horridge on November 30, 2007 10:33 AM


I have read all of the above methane concerns and wonder why no one has mentioned an obvious use. Methanol could dramatically reduce our world dependancy on petroleum.

Other than the fact that the aluminum & plastic cars built in the last 20+yrs can't use it. Lets go back to cast iron engines & metallic radiators and leave gasoline/ethanol for them. Methanol is more efficient than ethanol and cleaner than gasoline and has a high natural octane number.

Model airplane engines and race cars have been using it for decades. Maybe I have missed some major downside, but I can't understand why it's not on the market now.

Posted by: James Amrine on January 27, 2008 03:05 PM


You are right James, there is a lot of methane that simply gets flared off (as if was a nuisance to eliminate) in places of oil extraction. Yet methane gas could be used as a cleaner fuel than gasoline or diesel.

Certainly it would help to use methane.

Methanol is not normally made from methane, but from cellulose. It's also called wood alcohol. So it is very similar to ethanol except you can't drink it. Makes you blind.

Fortunately we don't have to limit ourselves to the liquid. The methane gas is a great fuel. All we need to do is capture it and use it.

Here is a recent article on this I just came across:

China and India Exploit Icy Energy Reserves
China and India have reported massive finds of frozen methane gas off their coasts, which they hope will satisfy their energy needs. But environmentalists fear that tapping these resources could have adverse effects on the world climate.

Posted by: Sepp on January 27, 2008 05:14 PM


??More persuadable explanation needs for methan burp mechanism??

(1)According to John's Apocalypse,in the end of humanbeing history,
a thouthand years kingdom is "suddenly "realized.
According to IPCC scientists (2007./11/17 Valencia Spain),Risk of abrupt or
irreversible changes:Anthropogenic warming could lead to some impact that are
abrupt or(and!) irreversilbe, depending upon the rate and magnitude of the
climate change(WGII 12.6,19.3,19.4,SPM}.

Both John and IPCC scientists migth refer the methane burp crisis in north pole area.They commonly used the key word "abrupt".Now in the word wide website,we could find many many warnings on the methan burp crisis(MBC).Then I feel more
necessity of concrete and persuadable explanations of MBC .That is,more precise numerical data and chemical physical mechanism,that is,we need more complete evidences on the current situation,but not on ancient evidences ,which can
persuade any scientists and policy makers.

Posted by: motoji-suzuki on July 19, 2008 01:00 AM


CO2 + CH4 = 2H2O + 2C
If this is so simple? If this is so 'common sense' obvious. Is there a valid network/collaboration to move this issue forward?

Posted by: K. Ramcharan Maharajh on September 6, 2008 06:57 PM


I wonder whether collapsing of ice-shelves of antarctica is due to increase in temperature of outer atmosphere or something going on on or under the surface of the earth. When we leave door of the refrigerator open, ice starts melting from the surface, but if we switch off the fridge, pieces of ice collapse!

Posted by: Jyotsna on November 7, 2008 06:08 AM


Methane burbs now seem to be happening on Mars I wonder if they are using earths model of methane burping to see what is causing Mars burbing It likely means there was or still is life on Mars Either way I think it shows life we are not alone

Posted by: Dave on January 15, 2009 11:11 PM


Hi. Does anyone know what gases are emitted besides methane.

when fish ,poultry,and meats start to decompose or rot?PDG

Posted by: bill on March 31, 2009 03:41 PM


The one problem I see with all of this theory is that this happened back in the "Permian Era" and we were not around back then. There was none of this "human pollution." How can we possibly believe that we are creating global warming when we don't even know why it happened all the way back then?

Posted by: Nick on April 27, 2009 09:25 PM


How can we possibly believe that we are creating global warming when we don't even know why it happened all the way back then? You're right Nick, we can't. My view (matured since this article) is that global warming, if it does exist, is a natural phenomenon of changing climate, as has historically happened on this planet many times. We are creating a lot of pollution with our fossil fuel technologies, but we aren't changing the climate. I have put together what I found of the skeptic view on global warming on my physics blog: Man-made Global Warming - The Debate is not over!

Posted by: Sepp on April 29, 2009 03:52 PM


if the burning of wood is considered to be carbon neutral then isn't the burning of coal carbon neutral too,or does the process of fossilisation alter this?

Posted by: Andrew whitworth on January 10, 2010 09:15 AM


You are right Andrew - if wood is considered carbon neutral, coal should as well. The only difference is one of timing. Wood grows close to the time it is burned, so the capture of carbon by the wood growing would easily be considered to neutralize the carbon released as CO2 by burning. Of course that is, if you believe that coal is a product of fossil trees decaying, which is the prevailing theory, although it is not really proven. Coal and tar and oil and methane may all come from a different source - not the decaying matter of ancient tree growth as it is often said.

Posted by: Sepp on January 10, 2010 10:04 AM


Great article, however I'm curious. Ignoring the scale, could we harness the methane gas produced in the northern hemisphere as a replacement to natural gas or fossil fuel? The point is, burned methane produces CO2 and H2O, is CO2 output better than Methane?

Posted by: Jeff on April 20, 2010 03:48 PM


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