You probably know methane as the stinky greenhouse gas. It's potent, long-lived, and is released from places like agricultural lands and wetlands. But a new study published in Nature discusses how the gas may also be released from destabilized clathrates, or forms of methane that are stabilized beneath ice sheets.
Although the methane in clathrates presently lies dormant, scientists are worried that increasing temperatures due to climate change could destabilize them resulting in a massive release of methane into the atmosphere, which would significantly amplify global climate change.
It has been shown that at low latitudes, if one clathrate destabilizes in front of an ice sheet, others will soon follow in a chain reaction of destabilization because clathrates are in a temperature-pressure balance of only a few degrees.
Now that would really stink.
For more on climate change, check out http://www.oceana.org/climate.
- Baby Sea Turtles Found to Make Noise to Coordinate Hatching Posted Mon, July 28, 2014
- Staff Spotlight: Jackie Savitz Posted Mon, July 28, 2014
- Ocean News: Cape Cod Embraces Shark Spottings, Rare White Southern Right Whale Calf Spotted off Australia, and More Posted Tue, July 29, 2014
- No-Take Zones in Belize Could Rebuild Conch, Lobster, and Grouper Populations Posted Tue, July 29, 2014
- Impacts of Climate Change on Highly Migratory Species Prioritized in NMFS Management Plan Posted Tue, July 29, 2014