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Saturday, December 12, 2015

THE VENUS SYNDROME: Scientific Evidence

So, if you have clicked on the various incarnations of THE VENUS SYNDROME, it is that cataclysmic discharge of methane (CH4--the simplest possible hydrocarbon or fossil fuel) hydrates (MH, also called methane clathrates) into the atmosphere, compounded by the exponential rise of leaking CH4 from the tundra, to rather suddenly heat up Planet Earth so that our globe becomes similar to Venus, which has a surface temperature of 872 F and pressure 92 times higher.  Note that our planets are about the same size, and the surface of Venus is mostly carbon dioxide (CO2) because CH4 oxidizes into CO2 in a dozen years:

So what's the big deal about methane?  From Arctic Ocean leaking methane at alarming rate:

Fairbanks, Alaska -- Ounce for ounce, methane has an effect on global warming more than 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide, and it's leaking from the Arctic Ocean at an alarming rate, according to new research by scientists at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks.

Actually, for the first five years in the atmosphere, CH4 is around 100 times more potent than CO2.  So if carbon dioxide is 92% of all GreenHouse Gases (GHG), while CH4 is 9%, a quick calculation indicates that there is ten times more CO2, but CH4 can be between 3 and 10 times more potent towards warming our atmosphere.

Further, if you compare the historic concentrations of CO2 (black) and CH4 (blue) in the following chart, note that methane has recently been increasing at a higher rate:


Where does the methane come from?

That Enteric Fermentation is a more polite way of saying animal fart, like from cows.  

Also, too, keep in mind that, while growing trees is considered to be good, all trees eventually die, and when they do, over time, all the biomass reverts back to becoming either carbon dioxide or methane.  In other words, planting trees only buys us some limited time.  When you come down to it, trees ADD to global warming because the added GHG value of methane means that these plants over time only increase global warming.  Yale researchers found that northeastern Connecticut contained methane concentrations 80,000 times ambient levels!

So while the above developments are troublesome just by themselves, they have almost nothing to do with THE VENUS SYNDROME.  The ultimate danger is that portions of our oceans have very high concentrations of something called methane hydrates (MH).  When sealife perishes, it drops to the bottom of the ocean and decomposes, over time, back into something called the Redfield ratio, which varies and is being adjusted.  I won't get into the details, but CH4 is one product, and the cold temperature and high pressure physically trap this gas within an ice chamber, called MH.  No one knows for sure, but it is speculated that the energy in these clathrates (or hydrates) equal the known fossil fuel (coal, oil, natural gas, shale, etc.) reserves, or perhaps exceed them by a factor of 2 or 3.  

I think this is purely coincidental, but much of these clathrates can be found on or very close to the Pacific Ring of Fire:


That red-shaded area is home to 75% of the world's active and dormant volcanoes.  About 90% of all earthquakes and 81% of the largest earthquakes occur here.  Over the past 11,700 years 22 of the 25 most serious earth tremors happened in this circular region.

Here is a map of where MH can be found:


What convinced me that these deposits pose an ultimately lethal danger to Humanity is that they have been suddenly released in geologic time, resulting in serious extinctions.  Read about the Clathrate Gun Hypothesis causing such events 56 and 252 million years ago.  While some early speculation hinted that suck a killing could occur in a human lifetime, more recent evidence shows that they take place over tens of thousands of years.

Except, my contention is that global warming caused by us has sufficiently warmed these metastable subsea regions high in MH, that any kind of major Ring of Fire episode could cascade into doomsday.  Possibly on Monday I'll update my HuffPo of more than seven years to serve as the new one-pager for my novel on THE VENUS SYNDROME.

Oh, by the way, the third most dangerous greenhouse gas emission (GGE) is nitrous oxide (N2O), also known as laughing gas, mostly from agricultural fertilizers. It has a global warming potential (GWP) 310 times worse than CO2.  N2O accounts for 5.5% of all GGE.   You say, wait a minute, if CO2 is 85% of GGE, the effect of N2O is twenty times worse than CO2.  That would be correct.  Maybe my follow-up novel will be, simply and sardonically, LAUGH!

The problem with these scientific calculations is that there are differing baselines for comparison.  Using the following:...
...the effect of N2O comes out to be only 0.26 the effect of CO2.  Still important, but not worthy of a novel.  In any case, note that these trace Greenhouse Gases make up only a tiny fraction of the regular atmosphere.

Finally, there is a compound called sulfur hexafluoride, (SF6) used in a range of esoteric applications like in the etching of semiconductors.  The GWP is 23,900 of CO2.  Even worse, while CO2 effectively hangs around in the atmosphere only up to 200 years, SF6 remains absorbent for 3,200 years.  I now need to find an appropriate title for this novel sequence.

If you're inclined to read the above again, and got confused, here is a summary of the abbreviations:
  • CH4  Methane
  • MH  Methane Hydrate (also known as Methane Clathrate)
  • CO2  Carbon Dioxide
  • GHG  Green House Gases
  • GGE  Greenhouse Gas Emission
  • GWP  Greenhouse Warming Potential
  • N2O  Nitrous Oxide
  • SF6  Sulfur Hexafluoride

While I'm at this, another possible novel on my list is entitled THE M CURSE.  Clicking on that link will take you to part one of a series of postings on this subject from SIMPLE SOLUTIONS for Humanity.  However, I checked with the then university lawyer, who advised me against publishing this book because the subject was litigative.  So, tomorrow, my blog will be on my continuing life at the University of Hawaii.

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