A well-defined ocean warming trend originating off the United States East Coast is likely from super-heated and methane-enriched fluids emitted from numerous seafloor hydrothermal vents/hot springs (see figure 1 after the jump).
This trend has shown up on shallow Sea Surface (SST) maps since their advent in 1997 and has likely been present for thousands of years.
The SST mapping system continuously measures worldwide ocean temperatures by integrating satellite and ocean buoy data.
Every two or three days the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) posts this temperature data in map view.
A review of SST data indicates that the East Coast ocean warming trend is the only very strong warming feature ever recorded along the entire East Coast.
The “ocean floor heat source point” has never moved (Figure 1). It has maintained the same temperature scale since 1997.
Integration then analysis of these characteristics and other information, primarily geological in nature, proves that the warm trend is the result of emissions from seafloor geological features such as a group of hydrothermal vents.
Conversely, these characteristics and other information prove that the forces and situations listed below are not the root cause of the East Coast ocean warming trend.
- Uniform worldwide atmosphere warming as per the global warming theory. Uniform atmospheric warming would lead to the generation of other East Coast warming trends that have the same temperature magnitude. This is not the case.
- Similar ocean water depth. Similar ocean depths are present all along the East Coast and none of these depths are home to another high-magnitude temperature ocean trend.
- Gulf Stream ocean current. A review of all SST Maps indicates that the Gulf Stream ocean current, which circumvents the entire north and the central Atlantic Ocean, has never generated another warming trend with the temperature magnitude as per the East Coast trend.
- Human-generated warm fluids flushed into the Atlantic Ocean. The East Coast warming floor heat source point encompasses an area off the coast of North Carolina and Virginia. This source point is not positioned near a major metropolitan area. Additionally, other large metropolitan areas such as Miami, Baltimore, and New York City do not have significant ocean floor heat source points and high magnitude temperature warm trends associated with them.
General evidence linking seafloor methane emissions to super-heated fluid emissions from hydrothermal vents is abundant and reliable per other information and the quote below.
“Since the discovery of the first hydrothermal vents along the Galápagos Rift (major seafloor fault system) in 1977, scientists have puzzled over the origin of methane rising from these deep-sea hot springs. Regardless of differences in location, geology, and chemistry, all hydrothermal vents worldwide release at least some methane in varying amounts. Whether the gas comes from water-rock reactions during fluid circulation or preexists as pockets of methane stored in the crust, remains a controversial question” (see here).
One of many specific examples that illustrate the connection between seafloor methane emissions and super-heated fluid emissions from seafloor hydrothermal vents is located northeast of Greenland, west of the Svalbard Islands in the Fram Strait (Figure 2).
Here methane seeps are aligned in a series of long linear trends that are parallel to well-documented faults associated with the northern extent of a 1,000-mile-long linear mountain chain of seafloor volcanoes, faults, and hydrothermal vents.
These geological features are proven to emit large amounts of super-heated, methane-rich fluid into the overlying ocean. The mountain chain is referred to by many names. Here we use the name Jan Mayen Volcanic Complex (see here and here).
Dag Rune Olsen of the University of Bergen led a research team that has investigated and mapped Jan Mayen for many years. He describes this volcanic complex as follows:
“We probably know even less about the very deep seas and oceans then we know about the moon,” he said. The range extends from Jan Mayen island in the Greenland Sea to the Fram Strait between Svalbard and Greenland. It comprises hundreds of volcanos, some just 20m below the surface.
The new discovery comprises hundreds of more volcanoes, some just 20m below the surface. …
“We have found volcanoes at such a shallow level and they could break the surface at any time and form a new island. … We have long known that Iceland has both volcanic activity and hot springs, but we thought that we did not have anything like that in Norway. But we do, it was only underwater.” here).
The above-information concerning the Fram Strait’s methane seeps is thought to be proof positive that they were generated and maintained by multiple strings of heat-emitting, methane-rich hydrothermal vents.
Next, we discuss the implications of methane seeps whose seafloor geographic position perfectly matches the East Coast warming trend’s shallow sea surface origin point (Figure 3).
Research by Mississippi State and the United States Geological Survey (USGS) discovered and mapped 570 seafloor methane seeps off the shores of North Carolina and Virginia (see here). They concluded that the methane was being emitted from geological features termed “cold seeps“.
Cold Seeps emit much cooler seawater (140°F) than hydrothermal vents (867°F) and therefore in the author’s opinion do not have the capacity to generate the overlying East Coast ocean warming trend.
The author believes that the two long, linear methane trends shown in Figure 3 are the result of long, linear seafloor faults (Figure 3).
Faults that are home to a string of hydrothermal vents which emit huge amounts of methane-rich, super-heated fluids from a string of hydrothermal vents. Vents that are the root cause of the East Coast ocean warming trend.
In summary, evidence substantiates that a well-defined, persistent and non-moving ocean warm trend originating off the East Coast of the United States is the result of super-heated and methane enriched fluids emitted from numerous seafloor hydrothermal vents/hot springs.
This has far-reaching implications concerning the root cause of current worldwide ocean warming.
Those advocating the global warming theory state that warming of Earth’s oceans is exclusively the result of atmospheric warming, which is induced by the Sun or human-induced emissions of CO2 emissions.
They do not state that one other significant force that effects the warming of Earth’s oceans is heat flow from seafloor geological features. This is clearly an atmospheric bias.
Many previous Climate Change Dispatch articles have shown that geologically heating of Earth’s oceans is the root cause of El Ninos, West Antarctic ocean warming, Arctic Sea Ice melting, end of Ice Ages, and so-called coral bleaching.
Clearly it is time to allow funding, research and the freedom to discuss the effect seafloor geological features.
James Edward Kamis is a retired professional Geologist with 42 years of experience, a B.S. in Geology from Northern Illinois University (1973), an M.S. in geology from Idaho State University (1977), and a longtime member of AAPG who has always been fascinated by the connection between Geology and Climate. More than 42 years of research/observation have convinced him that Geological forces, especially Earth’s Upper Mantle Convection Systems which drive the dynamics of outer crustal plates, are an important driver of the Earth’s climate as per his Plate Climatology Theory.