Permafrost gas hydrates and climate change: Lake-based seep studies on the Alaskan north slope

Fire in the Ice: NETL Methane Hydrate Newsletter
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Abstract

The potential interactions between climate change and methane hydrate destabilization are among the most societally-relevant aspects of gas hydrates research. Massive dissociation of deep marine methane hydrates following rapid Earth warming is the most plausible explanation for carbon isotopic data that imply widespread release of microbial methane during the Late Paleocene Thermal Maximum (~55 million years ago), and massive methane hydrate degradation may have been associated with a major warming event in the Late Neoproterozoic as well. . On contemporary Earth, circumstantial evidence implies that permafrost-associated methane hydrate dissociation, possibly related to climate change, may be contributing to gas seeps in the MacKenzie Delta (Dallimore et al., 2008). Gas is also currently being released from shallow subseafloor hydrates in some areas, and transient bottom water temperature increases are sometimes known to be the destabilizing influence for these gas hydrates. Still, there is no direct evidence that gas hydrates are currently undergoing significant and systematic destabilization on contemporary Earth, that climate processes are responsible for driving any destabilization that may be occurring, or that methane released from dissociating hydrate is a substantial contributor to atmospheric methane concentrations.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Permafrost gas hydrates and climate change: Lake-based seep studies on the Alaskan north slope
Series title Fire in the Ice: NETL Methane Hydrate Newsletter
Volume 9
Issue 3
Year Published 2009
Language English
Publisher U.S. Department of Energy
Contributing office(s) Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center
Description 4 p.
First page 6
Last page 9
Country United States
State Alaska
Other Geospatial North Slope