FSU Professor: Beach House Might Not Be There For The Grandkids

By: FSU News Release
By: FSU News Release

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — June 14, 2012 -

The ancient reserves of methane gas seeping from the melting Arctic ice cap told Jeff Chanton and fellow researchers what they already knew: As the permafrost thaws, there is a release of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that causes climate warming.

The trick was figuring out how much, said Chanton, the John W. Winchester Professor of Oceanography at Florida State University.

The four-member team — whose findings were published in the respected journal Nature Geoscience — documented a large number of gas seep sites in the Arctic where permafrost is thawing and glaciers receding (they found 77 previously undocumented seep sites, comprising 150,000 vents to the atmosphere). Until recently, the cryosphere (frozen soil and ice) has served to plug or block these vents. But thawing conditions have allowed the conduits to open, and deep geologic methane now escapes.

The team studied the link between natural gas seepage and the melting ice cap, using aerial photos and field data to figure out the number — and location — of seep holes.

So, here’s the rub: The more the ice cap melts, the more methane is released into the atmosphere — and the more the climate warms.

Why should this matter to you?

People who live in coastal areas of Florida could be directly affected, said Chanton, who analyzed the methane and dated it to more than 40,000 years old.

All this seeping methane causes more melting ice, Chanton said, which causes sea levels to rise and could affect coastal real estate values — sooner rather than later.

How soon?

Possibly over the next 50 to 100 years, Chanton said.

“Methane is a very strong greenhouse gas that’s grown three times faster than carbon dioxide since the industrial era,” Chanton said. “As the Arctic warms, the ice caps melt and the fissures open, so methane escapes and causes more warming.”

This phenomenon causes sea levels to rise, which is particularly problematic in Florida:

“Along the flat Florida coastline, a 1-foot rise in sea level could cause anywhere from 10 to 100 feet of shoreline retreat — erosion,” Chanton said. “For us here in Florida, this is really important because we can expect the coast to recede.”

That beach house, he warned, might be in peril: “It may not be there for your grandchildren.”


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  • by anonymous on Jun 15, 2012 at 02:44 PM
    I thought sea levels are rising because a rogue planet entered our solar system and is heating all of the planets. I think NASA has verified this heating.
  • by Joke is on you Prof.. on Jun 15, 2012 at 09:09 AM
    By the time the ocean reclaims my beach house the bank will have already foreclosed on it!!
  • by Can't Wait on Jun 15, 2012 at 07:07 AM
    The quicker the better. Hope all of Florida goes under water. Ya'll deserve it.
  • by Anonymous on Jun 15, 2012 at 05:48 AM
    salt hydrates beneath the methane:) when the oil volcanoe was breached in 10 this became a HUGE issue. IT can and will rise-
  • by Jess on Jun 14, 2012 at 08:18 PM
    The good Dr. is keeping his talking point to keep his grants renewed. I wonder if he has measured the methane coming out of his office.
  • by Ray Burke on Jun 14, 2012 at 07:17 PM
    Funny thing is 20 years ago they were talking about "Global cooling" and discussing the need to cover the polar caps with Soot to encourage melting. JUnk science at best....no one knows what will happen, and we are quite arrogant to think we can impact its outcome.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Jun 15, 2012 at 03:40 AM in reply to Ray Burke
      Have you got a link to this information from 1992? I'd like to read it. Are you saying this was a scientific consensus in 1992?
      • reply
        by Jim on Jun 15, 2012 at 07:16 AM in reply to
        I'll help Ray out. It was a little more than 20 years ago but I too remember scientist talking about Global Cooling. http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2009/12/scientists-considered-pouring-soot-over-the-arctic-in-the-1970s-to-help-melt-the-ice-in-order-to-prevent-another-ice-age.html Its a scam to get more money for research.
        • reply
          by Anonymous on Jun 15, 2012 at 11:56 AM in reply to Jim
          That is a blog. The guy isn't even a scientist. During the 70s most scientists didn't consider the possiblility of global cooling a certainity, far from it. But a few vocal ones did say somethign which of course the media ran with it to sensationalize it. Did you know just because you have a contingency plan against unlikely events just means you are being cautious. The military even have plans against every country no matter how unlikely, just in case.
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Jun 15, 2012 at 09:37 AM in reply to
        Actually you have to go back further. There was debate in the 70s and 80s about global cooling. If I remember the articles it was based upon the ice age cycles and that we are over due for another ice age, from prior evidence in the ice cores.
    • reply
      by anon on Jun 15, 2012 at 06:11 AM in reply to Ray Burke
      never heard of this "Funny thing"....who are the "they" you are talking about????
  • by Anonymous on Jun 14, 2012 at 07:16 PM
    For those who will not be here after 2025 it will not matter if the shoreline goes back as far as a half mile inland. Just figure that any place that is less that 20 feet above sea level now will be under water soon. This also does not tell about methane leaking from Siberia which is also warming and melting.
    • reply
      by Docker on Jun 15, 2012 at 10:07 AM in reply to
      Back in the 80s, Algore started this baloney. He said he had scientific proof that Florida would be underwater by now. This fairy tale has been going on for years. The scammers have to keep pushing the dates back.
  • by unbeliever on Jun 14, 2012 at 06:19 PM
    next they're gonna tell us our farts are killing the planet. who's gonna fund that research?
    • reply
      by GV on Jun 15, 2012 at 04:54 AM in reply to unbeliever
      They aleady have.They've already said that cow farts and dog farts are the worst and we should get rid of them.
      • reply
        by anon on Jun 15, 2012 at 06:11 AM in reply to GV
        who are "they"
        • reply
          by WASP on Jun 15, 2012 at 11:35 AM in reply to anon
          Hindus and cats...
        • reply
          by GV on Jun 15, 2012 at 12:11 PM in reply to anon
          The same stupid scientist that are telling you about global warming to begin with.
        • reply
          by Anonymous on Jun 15, 2012 at 03:35 PM in reply to anon
          @GV. So all those scientists that agree that climate change, around 97% of all scientists in climite, geology, etc., are all dumb and you are not?
  • by rosescarf on Jun 14, 2012 at 05:31 PM
    It is coming,we must evacuate all the Florida beaches!!!
  • by Job Creator on Jun 14, 2012 at 05:26 PM
    Climate change is a fantasy idea by leftist, communist, environmentalists. However, the oceans are rising, not because of the "climate change" conspiracy, but rather because Obama and his secret government team are trying to destroy the waterfront properties which are mostly Republican and wealthy. These owners need more tax breaks to create jobs in armoring their waterfront properties from the rising Obama-caused sea level rise.
    • reply
      by Cpt FL on Jun 15, 2012 at 08:24 AM in reply to Job Creator
      What...haha - you can't be serious. Crawl back into your bunker, please. I hope you're simply trolling here, but in the case that you're not: please for your own mind's sake turn off Faux News!
    • reply
      by gata on Jun 15, 2012 at 09:08 AM in reply to Job Creator
      If coastal property is mostly "Republican and wealthy", please send them my way to buy the property which once had a house on it but was destroyed in the 2005 hurricane process. Has been for sale since then.
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