Monday, March 8, 2010

Guffaw

I love the cover picture of this article in the Weekly Standard.

I'm also laughing at the tales of climate doom about a massive release of Methane from undersea deposits of crystalline Methane Hydrate (a.k.a Methane Clathrate). Now this idea has been kicking around since the 70's, with speculation on how one nation could cause mega catastrophe by dropping a Nuclear weapon onto said deposits. First published in 'Weather War' by Leonard Leokum and Paul Posnik. Now the idea has resurfaced with another eco-thriller covering the same theme. Frozen Fire, by Bill Evans & Marianna Jameson, published July 2009 . The idea of massive methane release was earlier used as the backbone theme in ‘Mother of Storms’ by John Barnes, published in 1995. At least Mr Barnes was honest enough to publish his as science fiction. The others belong in the 'occult' section of the bookstore along with Erich von Daniken's codswallop about aliens building the pyramids and suchlike.

The real story behind Methane Clathrate is that we don't know all that much. To quote this paper from the USGS;
At this stage, it is important for USGS scientists to learn how the hydrates form, evolve, and break down, how they affect sediments, and what factors control their concentration at certain locations, as well as to explore for new hydrate accumulations. Cooperation with other Federal agencies, such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for bathymetry studies, the Department of Energy for application of hydrate gas extraction technology, and the U.S. Navy for acoustic studies, will enhance the success of future work.
Right. So to run around screaming that "We're all doooomed!" about a phenomenon that is not well explored or understood is not the sensible option.

Just time for a nice cup of tea then.

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