Beware, the Antarctic Methane Fart of Doom!

Scientists from the University of Bristol in England believe that microbes living under ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland could be emitting large quantities of the greenhouse gas methane. "It could mean that as ice sheets melt under warmer temperatures, they would release large amounts of heat-trapping methane gas." Oh no! Not the dreaded giant Antarcti-fart!


  1. Methane is flammable, isn’t it? Does it release more heat per mole to burn it, than to allow it to build up in the atmosphere? My wonder is, okay, sure, nothing we can do about cow farts… but if there’s a ton of it all in one place, I bet we could eliminate it (preferrably in a kick-ass giant explosion)

    1. I’m pretty sure that would cause the glaciers to explode in a green fireball. And, to be honest, if we’re going to destroy them anyway that’s not a bad way to do it.

    2. Several things wrong with your idea… Burning it creates Carbon Dioxide which also traps heat so were screwed either way. More importantly, it’s not released (and thank goodness for this) in concentrations that are going to be ignitable.

  2. It’s not just in the Antarctic. There are bogs throughout the North latitudes that are enormous methane sinks. Even a small rise in temperature may cause them to start releasing their methane. That’s what makes the consequences of global warming so unpredictable.

  3. So…. Methane burns….why not drill down to it and tap it like natural gas…? It’s done on cattle ranches and feed lots… so why not there…. When will people stop going around claiming “the sky is falling…” when it’s simply a problem to overcome, and an opportunity in disguise?

  4. Given the massive quantity of hydrates down there in the polar regions that are currently melting and outgassing, it’s pretty much all over with. No worries, what happens happens. Welcome to the New Atlantis and all that.

    No planet survives 600 years of applied runaway technology. As to the various magical CO2 sequestering mechanical trees proposed, you’ll probably have to put in as much energy as was released to properly scrub the atmosphere. Better start growing lots of woody plants, cook off the hydrogen and bury the resultant biochar. It’s probably your only chance and y’all better get cracking.

    1. No planet survives 600 years of applied runaway technology.

      List, please, the planets which have not survived such. Thanks.

    2. Except ours over the last 600. Believe it or not, in 1410 they even had metallurgy and machines run by wind power!

  5. The way it works is, methane, during its relatively short half life (7 years) traps about 10x as much heat as CO2. It decomposes into CO2, which traps less heat but over a longer time.

    Now, if we find a way to collect all that methane and burn it, we avoid those early years of extreme heat trapping. If we burn the methane for power, that means that we can avoid digging up and burning other stuff (coal, oil, geologically secured methane, etc.). So yes, we could do worse than mining the hell out of those unstable methane deposits.

  6. Er, none of you came up with the obvious solution? Stop capitalist growth, create things that last for generations, move to organic agriculture and stop climate change by doing this. Mining methane, srsly…

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