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Trapped Methane's Role in Climate Change Discussed


Talk Focuses on the Role of Methane Trapped in Ocean Sediment in Abrupt Climate Changes

UCSB marine geologist James Kennett speaks on role of massive amounts of greenhouse gasses trapped in oceans’ sediments

(March 9, 2005)

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu)Professor of Marine Geology James Kennett, of the University of California, Santa Barbara will speak at UC Riverside Friday, March 11 about the role of methane trapped in ocean sediment, known as hydrates, in abrupt climate changes.

The talk, scheduled for 4 p.m. in the Geology Building, room 1408, is part of the UCR Department of Earth Sciences Hewett Club Seminars and is free and open to the public. For further details, contact Martin Kennedy at (951) 837-2025.

Hydrates store immense amounts of gases with major implications for both energy resources and for climate change. Kennett studies the link between ocean circulation and periods of glacier formation over the past 2 million years — a period of geological time known as the Qarternary — and methane hydrate instability leading to releases of methane, a greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere.

Kennett’s laboratory at UC Santa Barbara addresses such issues as the climatic evolution of the polar regions, how sea life evolution aids in understanding the evolutionary process, and how oceanic circulation affects global climate changes and how the two are linked?

The U.S. Geological Survey conservatively estimates that the worldwide amount of carbon bound in gas hydrates totals about twice the carbon in all the known fossil fuels, but the natural controls on hydrates and their impacts on the environment are still poorly understood.

The University of California, Riverside (www.ucr.edu) is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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