A Possible Mechanism For
Ice Age And Global Warming Cycles

Recent discoveries about the existence of a vast band of Methane Hydrate Ice along the world's continental Slopes, at approx. 500 meters depth, have revolutionized the theories of the Ice Age and Global Warming Cycles. The accumulation of Methane Ice leads to Ice Ages and the rapid melting and effervescence of this ice and gas leads to and equally rapid Global Warming.

The last series of Ice Ages all follow a similar pattern of gradual cooling for many centuries and the formation of vast Ice Caps in the Northern Hemisphere, and in the Southern Hemisphere to a much lessor extent due probably to much less land mass. Then the Ice Ages end very rapidly, in fact in less than 50 years! This Global Warming is so rapid that the graphs of all the availablepaleotemperature indicators show the same rapid warming of up to 10 degrees Centigrade in a very short time. This rapid warming causes catastrophic melting of the Ice Caps and flooding across the Continents. It also raised sea level 300 feet after the last Ice Age ended from 14,000 years ago in North America and 10,500 years ago in Europe. This difference is probably due to the differences between the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean temperature and pressure gradients and the influence of the Gulf Stream on European weather.

As the Methane Ice accumulates and the earth cools, Ice Caps advance and sea level slowly drops. During the last Ice Age, sea level dropped 300 feet. This lowering of sea level by 300 feet is just enough to change the critical pressure necessary for the Methane Ice. When the pressure drops to below a critical level, the Methane Ice effervesces rapidly out of the ocean and floods the Atmosphere with the very powerful greenhouse gas, Methane. The end of the Ice Age then occurs very rapidly, sea level raises rapidly and the methane can then begin to accumulate again in and on the Continental Slope soft sediments. Apparently it is accumulating again and the earth will begin to cool. The slight rise in recent average temperatures has decreased the Ice Caps further and this will raise sea level slightly but then more Methane Ice will accumulate and increase the cooling rate until the next Ice Age begins.

Other factors, such as solar radiation levels, may influence slightly the earth's atmosphere and hence the more random minor fluctuations seen in the complex graphs of Paleotemperature Indicators. Our current one degree Centigarde rise in the last century is only a minor random fluctuation upward, because the next major move is actually cooler. Our attributing this fluctuation to man's influence may only be another relic of anthropomorphism, like the old theory that the earth is the center of the solar system. Man may not be able to influence the atmosphere as much as he may want to believe. Man is powerful, but not that powerful. When man's influences are compared to the Ice Age Cycles, there doesn't seem to be any correlation to these cycles at all. We have witnessed many of them, but we probably didn't have anything to do with causing them.

The Methane Ice reserves are very large and accessible. If we could simply put a pieline down into this ice, we may be able to pump it up to the nearest shore and create important new areas of coastal development far greater than previous civilizations. Energy this cheap could allow us to desalinize sea water and power all of our civilization. This development could be very remarkable in undeveloped arid coastal areas such as Baja California and the west coast of South America, which are very near the Continental Slope. Desalinized sea water is the key to development in these areas. Cheap clean electricity and fuel would revolutionize the whole world. Agriculture could also be greatly expanded and world hunger virtually eliminated. Peace through world prosperity and the equality of this resource could liberate billions of people. Precious fossil fuels would then primarily be a source of valuable petrochemicals instead of just being burned. Life on this planet would expand rapidly, and all sorts of great new projects could create a new Garden Of Eden.

Current US Reserves of Methane are on the order of 1,500 Trillion Cubic Feet. Current Estimates of Methane Hydrates are on the order of 1 to 2 Million Trillion Cubic Feet! ref. USGS. This will give you a indication of the magnitude of this discovery and the potential changes to come.

LA TIMES, Feb. 5, 1998.
Vast amounts of organic matter in oceans, once thought to be inert, may help mitigate the greenhouse effect, bioengineers at the University of Washington report in Nature.

Tiny chains of carbon based molecules appear to be spontaneously assembling into molecular networks, called polymer gels, that could serve as a way for the carbon in dissolved organic matter to be recycled into the atmosphere or to be locked up in ocean sediments, the researchers said. The team analysed the organic polymers dissolved in seawater from Puget Sound, the Artic Ocean and the northern Pacific Ocean.

"Our research raises the possibility that dissolved organic matter in the oceans might be playing an unforseen role in removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere," said University of Washington bioengineering professor Pedro Verdugo.

  1. Hydrates Org
  2. Seabed Hydrates R&D Update
  3. S-1418 Hearings, 1998"
  4. Wm. Dillon USGS Report 1998
  5. Art Johnson Chevron Report 1998
  6. Bob Kripowicz DOE Report 1998
  7. Methane Hydrate Research Legislation Dies In Coverup
  8. LLNL Methane Hydrate Research
  9. Gas Research Institute
  10. Washington Post, Aug. 11, '97, p. A-3, Methane Ice on Sea Floor, Fuel Resource?.
  11. Methane Ice & Worms Living In It !!!
  12. More Worm Studies
  13. Worm Picture & Info
  14. Manipulation of The Sea Temp, Some Ideas For Climate, Fisheries etc.
  15. Global Warming Update
  16. Ozone Depleation Hype
  17. Environmental Policy Papers
  18. Methane Hydrate Environmental Hazards? & Laws
  19. Mother Lode Of Methane
  20. Methane Hydrate 1990's References

Misc. Methane Links
Biogas Links
Biogas Plans & Info