Skip to comments.Billions of Tons of Methane Lurk Beneath Antarctic Ice
Posted on 08/29/2012 6:47:54 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
Microbes possibly feeding on the remains of an ancient forest may be generating billions of tons of methane deep beneath Antarctic ice, a new study suggests.
The amount of this greenhouse gas which would exist in the form of a frozen latticelike substance called methane hydrate lurking beneath the ice sheet rivals that stored in the world's oceans, the researchers said.
If the ice sheet collapses, the greenhouse gas could be released into the atmosphere and dramatically worsen global warming, researchers warn in a study published in the Aug. 30 issue of the journal Nature.
"There could be tons of methane hydrate beneath the Antarctic ice sheet," said study researcher Jemma Wadham of the University of Bristols School of Geographical Sciences. "If you start to thin that ice cover, that hydrate starts to become unstable and turns into gas, and that gas can go into the atmosphere."[Earth in the Balance: 7 Crucial Tipping Points]
Microbes produce methane
Microbes that thrive in extreme environments often create methane as a byproduct of their metabolism; the breakdown of organic carbon under no-oxygen conditions creates methane.
"It's a way of microbes getting energy under really, really oxygen-deprived conditions," Wadham told LiveScience.
The team suspected that icy, silt-laden sediments trapped beneath the continental glacier could house such extremophiles. Thats because the sediments, possible relics of an ancient Antarctic forest and ocean, could provide a carbon-rich food source for methane producers. But drilling up to 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) through the ice to find out was extremely expensive and difficult.
Instead, Wadham and her colleagues sawed chunks of sediment from the fringes of an Antarctic glacier, where the ice was much thinner. They melted the ice and identified the methane-producing microbes living in the sediment.
(Excerpt) Read more at news.yahoo.com ...
extremophiles; something that can live pretty much anywhere without public assistance.. like OWS protesters.
So, they’re saying this would be worse than cow flatulence? Will it smell as bad?
That settles it. It’s obvious we need to raise taxes to fix it.
(insert ‘We’re DoomEd! script Here)
Hundreds of billions of tons of carbon may lurk in methane reservoirs below the continent, the study found. That dwarfs the 600 million tons of carbon released through natural methane emissions like wetlands, livestock, burning of biomass and agriculture every year, she said.
Methane is a potent global warming gas, capable of trapping 20 times more heat than carbon dioxide, though it lingers in the atmosphere for much shorter periods of time.
Hey, if the OWS pukes could survive 2000 feet under the ocean on a volcanic vent, I'd buy 'em a bus ticket to get there.
Who's with me?
Why is it lurking? Why doesn’t it just join up like everybody else on FR?
Now we know where Albore’s home away from home is.
I don't like putting conditions on gifts. I'd help buy 'em a ticket even if they can't survive there. ;)
Wondering how much they got in grants for that one?
Wow, let private enterprise find a way to extract this out and save the world instead of hand-wringing.
The Norwegians planted their flag at the pole first and during WWII the Germans planted all kinds of markers everywhere during overflights by Luftwaffe crews. Since the Europeans claimed it, let them solve this crisis.
Since the ice is basically miles thick across the continent, the danger of collapse due to decomposing residues from ancient forests is pretty slim. Of course, I’m not a hydrologist of climatologist or any other earth science researcher. I’m just a skeptical schlep - with credentials similar to Algore (better, actually).
Just think. All those Republican microbes...
I doubt it.
>Methane is a potent global warming gas, capable of trapping 20 times more heat than carbon dioxide
Well there you have it. I say we nuke it from space so it will ignite, burn off and convert to CO, NO2 and other less nobel gasses.
Either that or send OWS and other misfits down there with Bic lighters and a hole punch so they can touch it off like lighting a fa^h^h breaking wind.
Sky is falling BS. Watch, this will be used for measures to curb our rights and freedoms.
Drill for it and use it.
Make a car that runs off methane.
Right on AU! The left sees fear everywhere they look because they thrive when others panic. The right sees opportunity everywhere we look because we thrive on progress.
Drill baby Drill..before it to late