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02/10/2010

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Christopher Mims

The jury is still out on this one, but there are models and paleoclimate evidence that suggest the methane in arctic deposits of methane hydrates is unlikely to reach the atmosphere.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=defusing-the-methane-time-bomb

Instead, it will be oxidized, acidify the ocean, and raise the chemocline (below which all is anoxic dead zone) by some margin. In other words it's mostly a local effect. Whether or not, after centuries or millenia, this could contribute to a scenario like that witnessed during "The Great Dying" can only be speculative at this point. In any event it would take a very long time for seafloor methane by itself to accomplish much.

More importantly: the undersea clathrates aren't the problem. It's the terrestrial methane hydrates and the frozen bogs, the stuff that is only a few meters below the surface of the melting tundra that we need to worry about.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=arctic-soil-thaw-may-unleash-runaway-global-warming

Nike Dunks

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