Climate Science Glossary

Term Lookup

Enter a term in the search box to find its definition.


Use the controls in the far right panel to increase or decrease the number of terms automatically displayed (or to completely turn that feature off).

Term Lookup


All IPCC definitions taken from Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Working Group I Contribution to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Annex I, Glossary, pp. 941-954. Cambridge University Press.

Home Arguments Software Resources Comments The Consensus Project Translations About Support

Bluesky Facebook LinkedIn Mastodon MeWe

Twitter YouTube RSS Posts RSS Comments Email Subscribe

Climate's changed before
It's the sun
It's not bad
There is no consensus
It's cooling
Models are unreliable
Temp record is unreliable
Animals and plants can adapt
It hasn't warmed since 1998
Antarctica is gaining ice
View All Arguments...

New? Register here
Forgot your password?

Latest Posts


Methane emissions from Siberian sinkholes

Posted on 6 September 2022 by greenman3610

This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections

Scientists are exploring the whats and what-ifs involving natural methane releases from newly discovered unusual sink holes in remote areas of the Siberian arctic.

They’re unclear, in part, about whether the sink holes are in fact “new” or merely newly discovered. They’re trying to come to grips also with the potential range of high- and low-end impacts on global climate change given the strength of methane as a climate pollutant. And they point to remaining uncertainties about the frequency and intensity of the sinkholes going forward in a warming climate.

Independent videographer Peter Sinclair, in his current exclusive video for Yale Climate Connections, interviews several of the scientists engaged in this research to try to develop a more thorough understanding of these mysterious sinkholes.

Katey Walter Anthony, of the University of Alaska-Fairbanks (UAF), sheds light on the sinkholes, saying the long-buried methane “has found a conduit or a chimney for escape” from beneath the permafrost. Scientist Vladimir Romanovsky, also with UAF, says the permafrost long has served as something of a “lid … now not so strong as it was in the past.”

Walter Anthony says the “methane megaseeps are a wildcard,” and Scott Dallimore of the Geological Society of Canada cautions that “the pace of escape is likely to accelerate” as a result of the warming of the climate. Walter Anthony emphasizes that not all permafrost needs to melt before concerns rise, and she cautions of permafrost’s being “like Swiss cheese, with a lot of holes going through it.”

0 0

Printable Version  |  Link to this page


Comments 1 to 14:

  1. The methane explodes. What is the source of the ignition - lightning?

    0 0
  2. Dennis, did I miss something? What makes you think that the methane ignited? I understand these to be pressure-blasts.

    0 0
  3. @scaddenp

    0 0
    Moderator Response:

    [BL] As noted by moderator RH in comment #5, please turn your text into proper links. The web software here does not automatically create links. You can do this when posting a comment by selecting the "insert" tab, selecting the text you want to use for the link, and clicking on the icon that looks like a chain link. Add the URL in the dialog box.

    In addition, please note that the comments policy discourages link-only comments. Specifically:

    No link or picture only. Any link or picture should be accompanied by text summarizing both the content of the link or picture, and showing how it is relevant to the topic of discussion. Failure to do both of these things will result in the comment being considered off topic.

  4. I cant see anything in these that suggest the methane is igniting (explosion != ignition). In fact several of your sources explicitly discuss the gas blowout mechanism which I believe is what causes these. It is just build up a huge pressure from methane release until ground-strength is exceeded.

    Pretty much same mechanism that causes gingerbeer or sauerkraut explosions, especially in days before plastic bottles and screw-tops.

    0 0
  5. @scaddenp

    I'm asking a question. When the methane explodes, as it clearly can, what is the source of the ignition?

    0 0
    Moderator Response:

    [RH] It's appreciated when you utilize the link tool to activate your references.

  6. Dennis... Reading the article you link to, I believe they're using the term "explosion" the same way you would say a balloon "explodes" if you blow too much air into it. There is no "source of ignition." The pressure is merely reaching a point to where the ground above the methane build up catastrophically fails to hold it in.

    Note that the before and after photos shown at the end of the article don't indicate any fire or charring around the crater, suggesting there was no actual "ignition" event related to the formation of the crater.

    0 0
  7. Again, Explosion does not equal ignition. Think about what an explosion really is. Your "ignition" type is when have a rapid chemical reaction generating large local gas pressures which then expand when any containment broken. Chemical reaction (needing ignition) isnt the only way to generate large gas pressures though. This paper goes into the process much more deeply than news articles. Clearly no ignition.

    0 0
  8. Maybe "burst" is a better word for the release of pressure from the methane's underground vault?

    0 0
  9. Ah, I might add to "burst," rather than "explosion,"  a synonym for grazing cattle's flatulence, "bursting" gut gas.

    0 0
  10. Moderators

    Sorry, please remove anything not right or the comments in their entirety. Thanks.

    0 0
    Moderator Response:

    [BL] If we wanted to, we would have. Usually we start with nudging users to remind them of proper posting etiquette. The initial goal is to make sure that users do not wander too far off, before things reach the point where we have to start editing or deleting posts.


  11. Dennis... Getting things wrong is part of learning. We all get things wrong from time to time. The only true error is when we fail to learn from our mistakes.

    0 0
  12. There is all those lovely videos of SpaceX experiments failing cryo tests. eg I think most people would call them explosions, despite liquid nitrogen not being ignited.

    0 0
  13. My favourite non-igniting explosion is probably the water heater that the Myth Busters blew up.

    Heat and pressure, That's all it takes.

    0 0
  14. This you tube video demonstrates blowing up a soda bottle using dry ice and water.  Nothing ignites.  I used to telll the cop on our High School campus when I was going to do this demonstration, it sounds like a gunshot.  I have blown a watermelon to smithereens by dong this explosion in a one liter bottle inside the watermelon.  Definately an explosion.  Note the tremperature is below zero C.

    The energy for the explosion comes from the freezing water causing the dry ice to sublimate (turn into gas).  The gas pressure builds until the bottle fails and explodes.  Soda bottles are much louder than water bottles.  (water bottles are thinner, soda bottles have to resist the pressure inside the bottles.)

    0 0

You need to be logged in to post a comment. Login via the left margin or if you're new, register here.

The Consensus Project Website


(free to republish)

© Copyright 2024 John Cook
Home | Translations | About Us | Privacy | Contact Us