Friday, November 6, 2009

Seeping Below

Deep below the Arctic Ocean, German and English scientists have found hundreds of methane gas plumes. Using sonar to identify 250 columns of bubbles, the findings point to a large source of methane. With this discovery, the US DOE says there is more energy in the trapped methane than all the world's combined fossil fuels. So what's stopping us from tapping it?

For starters, it's extremely cold the last time I checked in the Arctic. Meaning some of the bubbling and leaking methane become icelike hydrate and is trapped in the seabed, while the gas is released as the sediment thaws. More interestingly, a majority of the methane currently released from the ocean sediment and/or seabed is dissolved into the seawater. The good news it prevents the greenhouse gas (GHG) from reaching the atmosphere. The bad news is the increasing acidification of the water.

Source: Popular Mechanics, Nov. 2009
Image Source: Uprising Radio

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