Methane bomb (scare) bursts: catastrophic release of methane highly unlikely
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By Thomas Richard
A new USGS report challenges the consensus belief that a warming climate would lead to an explosive release of methane into the atmosphere from the breakdown of frozen methane hydrates. Climate alarmists like Al Gore have called this the ‘methane bomb,’ where frozen hydrates stored beneath the permafrost and seabed floors warms up, allowing the trapped gas to escape.
The University of Rochester and U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) reviewed nearly a decade of preceding research done by USGS researchers and other scientific organizations studying these gas hydrates. The report said that if continued warming continues unabated, any methane released from hydrates would be negligible and large amounts highly unlikely. The report’s “sober, data-driven analyses” couldn’t find any evidence of a large-scale release of the odorless hydrocarbon.
The methane bomb
Methane hydrate, aka methane clathrate, is a naturally occurring compound in which the gas gets trapped inside a lattice-like structure of water similar to ice. It also remains stable at specific temperature and pressure ranges. Researchers have found significant deposits in undersea sediments greater than 1,000 feet and also beneath the permafrost at higher elevations.
Climate alarmists have long argued that if the permafrost thaws, vast amounts of the gas trapped in hydrates would get released. They have maintained that if the Arctic continued to warm, vast reserves of methyl hydrates would decompose and release the greenhouse gas into the air. But this comprehensive review of the current literature reveals the breakdown of methyl hydrates from #Climate Changeshows little evidence more would enter the atmosphere.
Fuel or folly?
Despite methyl hydrates being found globally and mostly along continental shelves, they are different from conventional natural gas and not used for energy production by any country. They are, however, vulnerable to slight changes in temperature, making methyl hydrates a potentially dangerous substance to extract.
Previous research suggested that the gas was released from hydrates during earlier climatic events and may have sped up global warming. But this new review determined the amounts released were trivial. That’s because what gets unlocked either remains in seafloor deposits, dissipates in the water, or is converted to CO2 by microbes found in the sediment or seawater.