NASA now says vast methane cloud over US southwest is for real

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    Oct 14, 2014 6:22 PM GMT
    http://www.digitaljournal.com/science/nasa-now-says-vast-methane-cloud-over-us-southwest-is-for-real/article/408082


    www.digitaljournal.com_2014-10-13_13-36-
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    Oct 15, 2014 3:29 PM GMT
    hope it heads for Dallas too
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    Oct 15, 2014 4:42 PM GMT
    I've always wanted to visit Four Corners! Guess that'll have to wait!
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    Oct 15, 2014 5:09 PM GMT
    It's very interesting. Makes me want to load up the truck and go poke around for a week or two, because that's the sort of work that I used to do. In fact, years ago, I did spend a few seasons looking at methane in New Mexico rocks. I'm a little doubtful about mining being the whole story here. (Though it's possible - someone should try to confirm it.)

    Long story short: Same sorts of rocks in Texas, but much more methane in Texas because there's more water. You can see the broad yellow zone in the image, which corresponds with sediments of the mid-cretaceous seaway. It doesn't all get into the atmosphere because soil bacteria with access to oxygen consume the methane as it comes up from the aquifers. (The image shows methane that does get into the atmosphere.) Most of the rocks that I looked at in NM weren't producing methane because they're too high and dry.
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    Oct 15, 2014 6:12 PM GMT
    Thanks for an interesting post. I appreciate how the author posited but then ruled out fracking, one of the enviro-left's favorite bogeymen, as the cause of the problem. I wonder if it would make sense to simply ignite it, much as methane is burned off during the refining and steelmaking processes? Would better mining techniques reduce it in the future? I'd like to know if there are any health hazards associated with traveling in that area, as I'm planning to do next year.
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    Oct 15, 2014 6:49 PM GMT
    LOL. It's not that much methane. What you see is a cumulative signal from adding together many satellite images over many months. Plus playing a bunch of mathematical games with the data to account for cloud cover and land color. (Which is why they were not sure that it was real in the first place.)

    Anyway, methane is not a health hazard. I do know of a number of water wells where they can actually flare off the methane before it goes to the pressure tank, but not in that area. The only health hazards that you need to worry about are heat stroke, dehydration, rattlesnakes, scorpions. Maybe altitude exhaustion if you don't realize how high up you are.

    Of course, another interesting geology story in that area is the uranium and thorium concentration in those same rocks. But that is really only a potential hazard to people who live and work in the stuff for long periods of time - not to people driving through.

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    Oct 15, 2014 8:40 PM GMT
    mindgarden saidLOL. It's not that much methane. What you see is a cumulative signal from adding together many satellite images over many months. Plus playing a bunch of mathematical games with the data to account for cloud cover and land color. (Which is why they were not sure that it was real in the first place.)

    Anyway, methane is not a health hazard. I do know of a number of water wells where they can actually flare off the methane before it goes to the pressure tank, but not in that area. The only health hazards that you need to worry about are heat stroke, dehydration, rattlesnakes, scorpions. Maybe altitude exhaustion if you don't realize how high up you are.

    Of course, another interesting geology story in that area is the uranium and thorium concentration in those same rocks. But that is really only a potential hazard to people who live and work in the stuff for long periods of time - not to people driving through.


    Yikes! Maybe I should just go to Key West after all. But, I hear attitude exhaustion can be a REAL problem down there! I should probably just stay home! icon_cool.gif
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    Oct 17, 2014 1:46 AM GMT
    methane.jpg?w=600

    The largest-seen cloud of methane was spotted over the southwestern U.S. (Photo : Reuters)


    Interesting.

    http://www.hngn.com/articles/45472/20141010/methane-gas-largest-concentration-seen-from-space-hovering-over-u-s-four-corners-region.htm

    I don't know if it's higher than commercial plane range.

    Why wouldn't it move like other clouds?
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    Oct 17, 2014 2:25 AM GMT
    icon_rolleyes.gif Why even bother...
    That is a picture of Antarctica.
    There is no "cloud" of methane.
    The satellite measures absorbance within voxels that are the entire depth of the troposphere. If the readings are consistently high within a voxel over time, that suggests that the gas is being emitted from the land beneath the voxel.
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    Oct 17, 2014 5:36 PM GMT
    Not sure why you would even look at a "Science & Technology" forum if you "don't believe in" the physical universe. But here's where "social justice" comes into it.

    It's relatively easy to measure the concentration of global atmospheric gases changing. It's relatively hard to determine exactly where it's all coming from. The envirobabble industry uses it as an excuse to go witch-hunting, condemning people they don't like, in the absence of any real specific data. e.g., Blaming some remote dairy farm for all of the emissions in the state, when in fact its contribution is completely insignificant compared to the urban masses. Or to the termites in the woods. We really don't understand the methane budget well enough to be punishing people over it.

    (Long boring chain of speculation deleted. )


    can-of-worms.jpg
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    Oct 18, 2014 2:04 PM GMT
    I can usually guess affiliations by who still calls stuff Global Warming in 2014. icon_biggrin.gif
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    Oct 19, 2014 8:05 PM GMT
    I guess HULK just farted.

    **DING**