Will we experience a Methane (CH4) Hydrate Feedback Loop that will place us on a repeat path like that of the Permian Triassic mass extinction? Or, to our horror, will there be some other self-induced something even more horrific and impossible to reverse?
“Biosphere” is a term used to define the relatively thin layer of the earth’s surface that can support life. It extends down to the deepest layers of soils and ocean trenches and up to the highest levels of the earth’s atmosphere. Change in the biosphere generally operates on “slow,” that is in multiples of many hundreds or thousands or even millions of years. But change can also operate on “fast.” The Permian Triassic mass extinction 252 million years ago and the Cretaceous extinction 66 million years ago are two examples of relatively rapid change. The Cretaceous came from a meteorite and the Permian Triassic came from high global temperatures triggering a Methane (CH4) Hydrate Feedback Loop. Both were accompanied by atmospheric change so extreme as to extinguish a very large percentage of planetary life. When such atmospheric change does occur, those species that inhabit precisely bounded biologic niches are the first to be affected. They die out. Then others follow. We are now in our Modern Age seeing the first signs of this due to our industrial civilization adding CO2 to the atmosphere. One result of this, climate change, is becoming a major threat to food production in areas of the planet. There are however many other changes. A recent one has been the die off of the Australian Great Barrier Reef. All of this has raised a wide range of scientific questions as to the continuance of our own species on the planet. We know that we are today totally dependent upon certain temperature and biochemical parameters within the earth’s biosphere as these parameters were developed over the past several million years.
We know that in a metaphorical sense we live in a cocoon. It allows our lives to take form and to develop biologically. We are born in that cocoon and then a short period afterward we die in that cocoon. As with all other life on the planet, while in our cocoon we are biologically dependent on our own evolutionarily constructed and unique “precisely bounded biologic niche.” We also know that since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution our cocoon has been under attack and that there is no slowdown in sight. We also know that there is an awareness of this among many. Yet, we see no universal social, political or economic consensus as to a corrective course. So the following life or death question is now facing us: Will we experience a Methane (CH4) Hydrate Feedback Loop that will place us on a repeat path like that of the Permian Triassic mass extinction? Or, to our horror, will there be some other self-induced something even more horrific and impossible to reverse?
Arctic News June 10, 2014 “There are such massive methane reserves below the Arctic Ocean floor, that they represent around 100 times the amount that is required to cause a Permian style major extinction event, should the subsea Arctic methane be released in a short period of time into the atmosphere….The energy necessary to produce these Arctic methane release rates is relatively small; it requires only about one thousandth of the heat energy input from the Gulf Stream to dissociate the methane hydrates.”
A 2012 World Bank report stated that without quick action to curb CO2 emissions, global warming is likely to increase by 4 degrees Centigrade (7.2 degrees Fahrenheit) above today’s normal during the 21st century and that is dangerously close to the temperature of 6 degrees Centigrade above normal that initiated the Permian-Triassic extinction event 252 million years ago when 96%* of all marine species and 70% of all terrestrial vertebrates were wiped out. *(current estimate 81%)
Many scientists are now telling us that temperatures far in excess of the 4 C degrees figure are predicted to occur due to a runaway increase in CH4 as a result an Arctic methane feedback loop. That methane hydrate feedback loop will begin to “kick in” after a 2 C degrees (3.6 F degrees) increase. Our civilization is approaching that 2 C degrees figure. Global temperatures will then rise rapidly. During the Permian extinction; after 6 C degrees temperatures were reached, the ocean surface waters at their extreme eventually reached more than 40 degrees Celsius. (104 degrees Fahrenheit) That led to near total planetary life extinction.
Our problem today is that Massive methane reserves below the Arctic Ocean floor and Arctic land areas represent around 100 times the amount required to cause another Permian style major extinction event. These large quantities of Methane Hydrates are now trapped in a frozen state. As temperatures are rising from CO2 emissions, darkened land mass is being exposed to the sun, and as ice is melting and oceans are exposed, the waters are warming.
David Anderson brings together a wide range of interests in his writings, namely; theology, history, evolutionary anthropology, philosophy, geopolitics, and economics.
He has published three books. A fourth is near completion. It is about the necessary geo political, social, religious, economic paradigm shift needed for human survival.