NURP and CMDL's "Methane Hydrates and Climate
Workshop" was a Success!
This story entered on 25th Jun, 2004 07:00:00 AM PST
NURP and CMDL partnered to organize
the first ever workshop to bring together NOAA carbon and climate
modelers and measurers with methane hydrate experts. The workshop
was of great interest to several federal agencies and was co-sponsored
by NOAA (NURP and CMDL), the Department of Energy (National Energy
Technology Lab), and the Department of Interior (MMS and USGS).
Considering the presentations and discussions, the following position
statement summarizes the meeting's intention and vision for the
future of methane hydrate and climate research.
The ocean floor is by far the largest sink for carbon on the
planet, and the largest source of methane introduced in the oceans.
Methane hydrates are a small part of this global reservoir that
leaks into the sea through a variety of poorly described and understood
mechanisms and pathways, from volcano-like vents to slow wide-area
seeps. On a daily basis, most of the methane introduced into the
sea does not reach the atmosphere, due to mixing and intense biological
oxidation in the water column. However, occasionally in earth's
history, massive releases of methane from hydrates may overwhelm
this biological process, thus introducing vast amounts of methane
over centuries -- enough to significantly increase methane in the
atmosphere and change global climate. We need to improve our understanding
of both (1) the routine flux and fates of methane emissions from
the seafloor and how they impact the global oceanic carbon cycle,
and (2) the geologic record of past abrupt climate change and the
potential role that methane from the sea may have played.
Name: Andy Shepard
Tel: (910) 962-2446