Monday 25 May 2015

The methane clathrate gun goes mainstream

The methane clathrate gun has made the mainstream in the form of New Scientist. Unfortunately, you need a subscription to read more than the first paragraph.

Methane apocalypse? Defusing the Arctic's time bomb
by Anil Ananthaswamy

24 May, 2015

THEY look like massive bomb craters. So far seven of these gaping chasms have been discovered in Siberia, apparently caused by pockets of methane exploding out of the melting permafrost. Has the Arctic methane time bomb begun to detonate in a more literal way than anyone imagined?

The "methane time bomb" is the popular shorthand for the idea that the thawing of the Arctic could at any moment trigger the sudden release of massive amounts of the potent greenhouse gas methane, rapidly accelerating the warming of the planet. Some refer to it in more dramatic terms: the Arctic methane catastrophe. Even the methane apocalypse.

Some scientists have been issuing dire warnings about this. There is even an Arctic Methane Emergency Group. Others, though, think that while we are on course for catastrophic warming, the one thing we don't need to worry about is ...

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