Eposode 109: Catastrophe?

Comic Transcript

Panel 1.
Professor 2: These visitors want to share data in exchange for Wosec’s location.
Supervisor: Fine, if it will make you go away. Wosec left the planet on the Burton Demolition starship.

Panel 2.
[Alkina, Professor and RIA walking away.]
Professor 2: The port authority confirms the supervisor’s info. I know you have to leave but could I get more of Epo’s data on our planet?
Alkina: Of course. Epo has data showing that the rate of temperature increase is accelerating.

Panel 3.
Epo: In addition, my scans show methane deposits under frozen regions on the planet that could be released into the atmosphere resulting in yet faster temperature increase.

Panel 4.
Alkina: That might result in a positive feedback loop that could be catastrophic to the coastal regions of your planet!

Panel 5.
Professor 2: We have to warn the authorities!
Alkina: What do you mean, we? Epo and I have to find Wosec.

Panel 6.
Professor 2: But you can’t leave now! They will want to talk to you themselves to verify the data you have provided.

What does it mean?

Positive feedback loop – When an action results in the amplification of that action, it is said to be in a positive feedback loop. See Episode 101 notes for an example.

In human speak please!

Methane is trapped in Earth’s crust as methane hydrate, which is basically methane molecule surrounded by water ice crystals. Vast amounts of these methane deposits are believed to exist in Earth’s crust in permanently frozen polar regions. They were deposited there over centuries of biological and chemical activity that formed methane from combination of other molecules.

Methane is approximately 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in our planet’s atmosphere. For that additional reason, the melting of the polar ice caps is considered to be a precarious event that would release vast amounts of trapped methane into Earth’s atmosphere, accelerating global temperature increases.

Is that all?

Fiery Ice – What is methane hydrate?