Skip to main content

View Diary: 3rd Crater Found In Siberia. Earth's "Dragon Breath" Is Coming To Life. (271 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  Methane doesn't last like CO2 (16+ / 0-)

    From what I can gather, the life of Methane in the atmosphere is roughly 15 years.  The problem of course is that it is roughly 20 times the greenhouse gas that CO2 is and there's an awful lot of it in the permafrost and oceans, and it looks like a lot may be escaping from fracked gas wells.

    •  What are the breakdown products? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SuWho, BvueDem

      If C02 is one of them, aren't we still screwed?

      America, we can do better than this...

      by Randomfactor on Thu Jul 31, 2014 at 10:40:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Should be water and CO2. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BvueDem, Angie in WA State, G2geek

        It's still bad news, and it makes the problem much worse, but the good news is it's probably not the last step on the path to Venusforming the Earth.

        -- If corporations are people, is the stock market for the sale of slaves?

        by Orakio on Thu Jul 31, 2014 at 11:54:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  That is the problem (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        leema, G2geek

        Methane escapes to the upper atmosphere where it slowly breaks down (oxidizes) to CO2 and H2O. While it breaks down it absorbs several times more heat than CO2 which is the primary greenhouse gas. So even when it breaks down it does not stop warming the environment.

        Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

        by RMForbes on Thu Jul 31, 2014 at 12:33:23 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You said: (0+ / 0-)
          So even when it breaks down it does not stop warming the environment.
          When methane is oxidized, either partially or completely, it is no longer methane -- it is then a different chemical compound, so it is impossible for methane to continue to warm the environment, as methane, after its oxidation.

          Partial oxidation products of methane include compounds that are rapidly removed from the atmosphere, like methanol, acetic acid, acetaldehyde, formaldehyde and formic acid.   All of those partial oxidation products are rapidly removed from the atmosphere by precipitation and/or further atmospheric oxidation processes.

          While complete oxidation of methane does result in CO2 as a greenhouse gas, atmospheric chemical reactions of methane in the ambient atmosphere will favor partial oxidation over complete oxidation because of the conditions of ambient temperature, atmospheric pressure and ultraviolet light (which also plays a role in atmospheric chemistry).

          •  So you are saying that methane does stop warming (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            leema

            the planet at some point? I'm not saying that's wrong but I don't think it's an important distinction when you are talking about a process that takes several years. Even if (and that's a big if) almost all of the methane released precipitates out of the atmosphere in X number of years, the damage is already done.

            The main problem with methane is the positive feedback loop that has already been triggered. The release of methane warms the planet a little more which in turn releases more methane and on and on we go. There may be ways to reverse this process but I don't see it happening in our current political climate.  

            Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

            by RMForbes on Thu Jul 31, 2014 at 02:52:33 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  methane (0+ / 0-)

              ceases contributions to radiative forcing in the atmosphere as methane when methane has been converted to something else.  

              The main problem with methane is the positive feedback loop
              It does not make any sense to talk about a 'methane feedback loop' that is somehow idealized separately from all other radiative forcing that goes on with all other greenhouse gases.   The total radiative forcing that occurs is a total summation of radiative forcing occurring in the atmosphere from the gas concentration of each greenhouse gas species, plus water vapor.

              The only basis for methane release from terrestrial permafrost comes from atmospheric effects on surface temperatures and heat conduction to layers of permafrost below.   Those physical parameters, in turn, depend on the present radiative forcing that is occurring.   Nothing about methane in the atmosphere can have the potential to affect permafrost melting absent a direct effect on surface temperatures and soil heat transfer.  Those parameters, in turn, are affected only by the total radiative forcing that occurs, and not just radiative forcing as a result of atmospheric concentrations of methane.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site