Re: Global "Flood" (kinda)

From: Michael S. Lorrey (
Date: Fri Jan 19 2001 - 11:23:23 MST wrote:
> In a message dated 1/19/01 5:40:50 AM, writes:
> >I liked Mother of Storms precisely because this quite logical chain of
> >meterological reasoning (otherwise, far too much sex and violence but
> >satisfactory amounts of singularity :-) However, I'm not certain his
> >whole extrapolation holds - if just one part of the chain (like the
> >size increase of the hurricane spawing zones) doesn't hold the rest
> >doesn't happen, which I guess is a boring but likely guess.
> Methane release from clathrates has been seriously suggested as a possible
> cause of mass extinction in the past. It would greatly warm the atmosphere
> and cause various big climate shifts.

The problem with this is that clathrates are more sensitive to pressure
than they are to temperature. You can store methane hydrates at room
temperature if kept at the same pressure as they are found in the sea
floor. Lowering pressure from dropping sea levels will release the
hydrates. Raising temperatures which melts more ice and raises sea
levels only increases the pressure on the hydrates and thus makes them
less likely to release.

Any attempted use of clathrates as an energy source over the long term
would only exacerbate the CO2 problem, however CO2 as a greenhouse gas
obeys a diminishing returns curve as concentrations rise. The clathrate
cycle seems to be a long term buffering system of storing carbon for
geologically temporary periods while the coral ecology is busy
sequestering carbon for the long haul into what becomes limestone. When
the CO2 levels in the atmosphere are too low, water freezes up into ice
due to global ice ages, sea levels drop, the pressure at the sea floors
drops, and this releases methanes en masse which warm the atmosphere up
again, raising sea levels to flood continental plains to stimulate more
coral growth. Global warming will NOT cause them to release

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