One of the big science news items listed on Monday, Aug. 25 at the Guardian Liberty Voice reported that methane gas has been seeping into the Atlantic from the shores of more than 570 locations along the eastern coast of the United States. This is unusual, as methane seepages are usually found in “tectonically active areas,” and places that have access to “petroleum basins, like the Gulf of Mexico.” The eastern shores of the U.S. are not known for high occurrences of tectonic activity and most of the methane seepages do not seem to be results of oil and natural gas deposits.
Nature Geoscience reports that this seepage is not anything new and has been in fact occurring for more than 1000 years. Microorganisms that live in low oxygen conditions (Methanogens) produce methane as a metabolic byproduct. Most of the methane seepage is reported to “occur between 800 and 2,000 feet” and “the methane is probably escaping from frozen substances called hydrates” where many methanogens can live.
Methanogens can thrive in any place that has low or no oxygen such as in the guts of cows and humans, inside of microbes that live in organisms such as termites, in rice paddies and marshes, wrote Astrobiology Magazine in 2005. The percentage of methane produced from these sources was reported to equal nearly 70 percent of the methane contributed to the Earth’s atmosphere.
From these figures, it may seem that the methane byproduct that methanogens produce give no real cause for alarm. The methane production by methanogens has been an ongoing occurrence, a part of the natural cycle. However, many are still concerned that as the planet’s climate gets warmer, more methane gas seepage will cause an irreversible change that will affect us all. Methanogens’ role in this may very well tip the scales.
Methanogens, which can thrive in extreme environments, have been found kilometers deep inside the ice of Greenland. The microorganisms thrive in glacial ice and under certain circumstances can contribute much more methane gas to the atmosphere, creating “massive deposits of methane clathrates [hydrates], which account for a significant fraction of organic carbon in continental margin sediments.” Methanogens, “represent a key reservoir of a potent greenhouse gas (methane).” Astrobiology Magazine reported that “a large amount of methane is locked inside ice crystals under permafrost and beneath the continental shelves. These deposits of methane hydrate […] are vast. They are thought to contain far more carbon than all fossil fuels put together.”
In their frozen state, the methane gas seems to stay put. However, as glacial ice continues to melt, more methane and carbon are released into the atmosphere which could cause increased global warming. Scientists and climatologists have been warning us about this. It seems that evidence unequivocally points to climate change catastrophes and humans are making what is otherwise natural rush its course at a frightening rate.
Take it from some of the experts, 97 percent of whom agree that “climate-warming trends over the past century are likely due to human activities.” These experts are speaking from every medium, such as Twitter and Instagram to try to get people to wake up and make changes that could save us from impending doom.
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‘Global warming isn’t a prediction. It is happening.’
James Hansen is a top climate scientist who has been active in the climate change debate for decades. He states that there is overwhelming evidence that climate change is real. His talks have helped to raise awareness of the issue in Congress about how humans are contributing significantly to climate change. He also continues to speak to the public about how it is pertinent that action be taken now in order to protect future generations, as well as plants and animals. One such talk is logged at TedTalks.
‘Nobody is safe’
In an article posted to the Huffington Post on Aug. 25, photographs were posted that showed a series of portraits called “Scared Scientists” which were taken by photographer Nick Bowers. On the photographer’s website, he stated that “The most frightening thing about climate change is that we continue to ignore it.” He also states that most of the scientists pictured and quoted encourage people to vote for green policies and initiatives if “we are to decrease emissions and create a sustainable and safe future.” Further, the time is very much now. “It’s our job to put pressure on governments and on big business.”
Per NASA, most of the current warming trend is very likely ‘human induced’
Direct quote from NASA’s Instagram: “As seen on #Cosmos: Climate change. The Earth’s climate has changed throughout history. Just in the last 650,000 years there have been seven cycles of glacial advance and retreat, with the abrupt end of the last ice age about 7,000 years ago marking the beginning of the modern climate era – and of human civilization. Most of these climate changes are attributed to very small variations in Earth’s orbit that change the amount of solar energy our planet receives. The current warming trend is of particular significance because most of it is very likely human-induced and proceeding at a rate that is unprecedented in the past 1,300 years. Image Credit: NASA #nasa #earth #earthrightnow #science #climatechange”