More news from Chicken Little.

As you may have deduced from earlier blogs about global warming I don’t believe we’ll have time to worry about the gradual increase in temperatures leading to asphyxiation from carbon dioxide, world’s end will be due to a well-overdue Dansgaard Oescher event.

Reading the weekend press my theory is bolstered by the revelation that cataclysmic levels of methane hydrate will be released from warming seas, causing accelerated raising of air temperature and snowballing into increases of 7 to 10 degrees C over as little as one decade.

Perhaps this phenomenon has already happened as postulated in “Shadow of Extinction” by George Monbiot.

The Permian was one of the most biologically diverse periods in the earth’s history. Herbivorous reptiles the size of rhinos were hunted through forests of tree ferns and flowering trees by saber-toothed predators. At sea, massive coral reefs accumulated, among which lived great sharks, fish of all kinds and hundreds of species of shell creatures.

Then suddenly there is almost nothing. The fossil record very nearly stops dead. The reefs die instantly, and do not reappear on earth for 10 million years. All the large and medium-sized sharks disappear, most of the shell species, and even the great majority of the toughest and most numerous organisms in the sea, the plankton. Among many classes of marine animals, the only survivors were those adapted to the near-absence of oxygen.

So what happened? Some scientists have argued that the mass extinction was caused by a meteorite. But the evidence they put forward has been undermined by further studies. There is a more persuasive case for a different explanation. For many years, geologists have been aware that at some point during or after the Permian there was a series of gigantic volcanic eruptions in Siberia. The lava was dated properly for the first time in the early 1990s. We now know that the principal explosions took place 251 million years ago, precisely at the point at which life was almost extinguished.

The volcanoes produced two gases: sulphur dioxide and carbon dioxide. The sulphur and other effusions caused acid rain, but would have bled from the atmosphere quite quickly. The carbon dioxide, on the other hand, would have persisted. By enhancing the greenhouse effect, it appears to have warmed the world sufficiently to have destabilized the super concentrated frozen gas called methane hydrate, locked in sediments around the polar seas. The release of methane into the atmosphere explains the sudden shift in carbon isotopes.

According to a US Naval research map it appears that most of the methane hydrate deposits are in the northern hemisphere (although it appears that the occupants of Jade stadium may have a problem).
Methane hydrate has been the cause of mysteries ranging from the Bermuda Triangle where;

Some say ships have gone into a zone where methane gas was upwelling and sunk them. Because the sea could not support vessel due to it’s high gas content. Methane gas plumes are also attributed to at least one plane disappearing, because it exploded when it entered the plume.


The ten meter high tsunami which recently devastated the north shore of Papua New Guinea is also attributed to a methane hydrate upwelling.

This, according to the bible bashers, appears to be just another confirmation that Jesus is coming soon.
Jesus said in the last days things happening in the seas that will trouble men (make them worry). “And there will be signs in the sun and moon and stars, and upon the earth distress (trouble and anguish) of nations in bewilderment and perplexity (that is without resources, left wanting, embarrassed, in doubt, not knowing which way to turn) at (the echo) the roaring of the tossing of the sea; Men swooning away or expiring with fear and dread and apprehension and expectation of the things that are coming on the world; for the [very] powers of heavens will be shaken and caused to totter.” Luke 21:25-26 Amplified Bible.

Indeed, if the scientists can get their act together, the world may not have to “depend on nuclear power to halt global warming” . Over the past three decades, expeditions to polar regions and deep-water continental shelves all over the globe have consistently returned reports of methane hydrate.

Today, the U.S. Geological Survey estimates that methane hydrate may, in fact, contain more organic carbon than all the world’s coal, oil, and non-hydrate natural gas combined. The magnitude of this previously unknown global storehouse of methane is truly staggering and has raised serious inquiry into the possibility of using methane hydrate as a source of energy.

Perhaps some money could be set aside for research into the sequestration and use of methane hydrate instead of complying with Kyoto protocols ?

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Rob Schaap
2022 years ago

I was with you one hundred per cent on this particular scenario until my zapper took me to Fox News yesterday and put me instantly at ease. A whole panel of people who know about these things (they buy and sell shares a lot) simply pointed out that if there really were huge concentrations of methane hydrate under the Greenland Icesheet, and if global warming really were approaching release thresholds, it’d be showing up in stock prices by now. Only people who hate success could fail to see this point. Only America-haters could wish upon its economy the $150-billion hit Kyoto represents. Only blah, yadda, smirk …

2022 years ago

I would not have thougt that George Monbiot was an authorative source on matters geologoical – he seems to assign us precision in dating that is not possible – asserting that the extinction was 251 million years ago is rather too precise considering everything.

And just what initiated those expansive Siberian volcanics then?

As for methane hydrates – their explosive eruption from the sea floor sediments is a scenario which has not been observed – so one wonders on basis Monbiot’s scenarios are based – certainly not on observed fact.

Robert Merkel
2022 years ago

Um, burning methane still releases carbon dioxide (though not as much as some other fuels), and unburned methane (there would inevitably be significant leaks in the mining and distribution process) is a much more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. So, as a greenhouse abatement tool, mining methane hydrate is worse than useless.

Continue to criticise Kyoto and global warming if you must, but saying methane hydrate mining is a solution to global warming is just silly.

2022 years ago

I think the idea is to USE the methane hydrate to generate energy (when the oil and coal runs low) rather than let it escape into the atmosphere and accelerate global warming. And I only quoted George Monbiot because his was the most easily understood explanation of what MAY have happened at the end of the Permian age; and why does something have to be observed in order to be the basis of a theory? Observed any electrons lately ?

Brian Bahnisch
Brian Bahnisch
2022 years ago

Woodsy, your link to Monbiot’s articla isn’t working. The article can be found here on his own site.

Louis, What’s wrong with Monbiot? He began life, I think, as an environmental scientist, always references his articles and seems to me more academically solid than most commenters.

The evidence apparently came from where you’d expect – the fossil record and sedimentation.

I remember seeing an SBS documentary on the same topic around the same time (about a year ago).

Mark Lynas mentions the same event in his article Maybe not the day after tomorrow but . . . but both he and Monbiot a drawing from Michael Benton’s When Life Nearly Died, Thames & Hudson. Benton is Professor of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Head of the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Bristol. Reviews of his book can be found here and here. It seems the scientific work done as the basis of the book is quite recent, and yes, there is more to be done.

2022 years ago

The problem with methane hydrate is firstly the quantities, secondly the geographical distribution, and thirdly its origin.

The third is the origin – while organic matter undoubtably generates methane, no one has found, from drilling sea floor sediments, organic matter of enough volume to be a source of this methane.

No where do we observe any accumulation of organic matter in sedimentary deposts which could be interpreted as a potential source for this methane.

Living things when they die are continually recycled back into the biosphere. No where is organic carbon sequestered into rocks except in coral reefs.

As for the Permian extinction, the Permian ended with an ice age – to be followed by the Greenouse climate of the Mesozoic.