Researchers from Rice University in the USA have been working to solve the mystery of the event known as the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), which occurred 56 million years ago.
At that time, a sudden release of 2,500 gigatons of carbon into the atmosphere led to an increase in global temperatures of 6 degrees Celsius on average, which in turn caused the extinction of many species.
In their study, the scientists found that methane hydrates similar to those that are now frozen beneath the sea floor could have melted and released the carbon. Although the oceans at that time were likely warmer, author Dr. George Hirasaki stated that this could have actually accelerated the methane formation.
These findings have implications for our current environment, where global warming is already raising the temperatures of both the atmosphere and the oceans, increasing the possibility of such a catastrophic release.
In addition, a recent study by international scientists has found that thawing permafrost in the Arctic represents a threat of methane release that is potentially 5 times greater than previously realized.
Our thanks, Dr. Hirasaki, colleagues and other researchers, for these findings that speak to the urgency of our current climate situation. May we swiftly adopt actions in harmony with nature to preserve all lives on Earth.
During a September 2008 radio interview with Bob Lebensold of Environmentally Sound Radio, Supreme Master Ching Hai spoke with concern of the toxic gases in the seabed as she reminded of our need to halt human-generated warming.
Sources: Science Daily, PhysOrg link 1, PhysOrg link 2, France24