05 September 2005

Rising ocean temperatures trigger gas fears

RISING ocean temperatures caused by global warming could initiate a catastrophic runaway greenhouse effect by releasing gases trapped beneath the ocean floor, experts have warned.

New evidence presented to the annual conference of the Royal Geographical Society predicts that the increase in global temperatures will destabilise gas hydrates, such as methane, that exist in solid deposits at the bottom of the ocean and in permafrost on land.

Normally these hydrocarbon deposits exist as solids when exposed to high pressure or low temperatures, and so are locked out of the atmosphere.

However, global warming could allow the stores to change to gas, and gradually seep into the atmosphere.

Experts predict that if the current rate of warming continues, sea water temperature could be elevated by as much as 5.8 degrees Celsius by 2100.

Source: news.scotsman.com


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