Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Polar Methane: When lighting a match might be the last thing you do

So, if I'm reading this above story correctly we might see a fisherman slowly moving across a lake in his boat. As he lights his cigarette someone at the shore hears either a boom or a whoosh depending upon the concentration of invisible methane released and the fisherman is now either dead or seriously burned as the methane cloud burns or explodes.

Either way, we have a new problem in the far north in the melting permafrost, bubbling up 24 hours a day this time of year, especially out of ponds and lakes: methane.

To my way of thinking what is happening is that thousands of years ago when the axis changed from magnetic north(somewhere in northern Canada) to what is the now north pole a lot of mammoths might have suddenly frozen as well as various other mammals and birds that couldn't find some place underground to hide during this serious freeze. Now thousands of years later the reverse is happening and all the methane trapped during the freezing from all those bodies is just starting to be released into the atmosphere from the permafrost once again. This is being cause by global warming and the melting out of eventually all the ice in the northern polar regions during this time of the year.

So during the summers and falls we can expect eventually no more ice for a month or more during these times of years and increasing amounts of methane released as the years progress.

The real problem with all this is not in the end just the fishermen or hikers that might die from methane explosions caused by lighting matches or lighters but how this will affect directly or indirectly all life on earth as global warming is only increased by this incredible amount of methane during summer and fall months.

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