- the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum of 56 million years ago and
- the Permian-Triassic Extinction Event of 252 million years ago.
Wednesday, September 9, 2015
THE VENUS SYNDROME: Part Y
Yesterday (scroll down to next article), I provided the background for what I termed The Venus Syndrome, that is, the sudden, and cataclysmic end of life on Planet Earth due to the explosive and catastrophic release of methane into the atmosphere.
Greenhouse gases have been exponentially increasing, it is reported, mostly from our use of fossil fuels:
Note, in particular, the green line for methane. The carbon dioxide level is the highest it has been since 800,000 years ago. Highest methane concentration since 650,000 years ago. Carbon dioxide, however, is easily predictable and has not historically gone haywire, ever, while there have been several sudden releases on methane in our geological past that might have caused severe extinctions, called the Clathrate Gun Hypothesis, Abrupt warming can occur within a human lifetime. For example, up to 96% of all marine species went extinct during:
However, confounding experts, this growth of methane seemed to have stalled from about a decade ago:
Well, methane levels are going up again, and, again, scientists are not sure why. BUT IT DOES NOT MATTER! The menace of methane is that almost instantaneous marine discharge that can lead to that next epochal event. Our atmosphere is already at a sensitive point where some serious climate experts have hinted that our lifestyle will drastically be altered unless we do something about carbon dioxide. But that is not the danger of the Venus Syndrome.
Planet Venus has a surface temperature of 864 F, with a surface pressure 92 times that of Planet Earth. The only real difference is that Venus has an atmosphere mostly of carbon dioxide (96%), while our carbon dioxide concentration is only 0.04%. Methane is 20 to 100 (varies for a variety of reasons) more effective in capturing sunlight than carbon dioxide. Then, in a dozen years or so, methane is converted into carbon dioxide. Could much of the methane from the Arctic and trapped at the ocean bottom suddenly escape to the surface and once and for all change Planet Earth into Planet Venus? I'm writing a novel on these prospects.
Here is a possible premise, enhanced, from The Huffington Post: THE VENUS SYNDROME: Part 2: