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What happens if global warming affects ocean temperatures to the point that methane deposits warm and they begin to turn to gas?

Dear Tom,
What happens if global warming affects ocean temperatures to the point that methane deposits warm and they begin to turn to gas?

Tom Fernstrom,
Cary

Dear Cary,
Methane in the atmosphere is a powerful greenhouse gas, about 20 times more effective per molecule than carbon dioxide. Huge amounts of methane, in the form of methane hydrates, exist in deposits in the earth beneath the world’s oceans. The deposits are near the ocean-earth boundary. It is believed that global warming, which also includes warming of the oceans, could affect the stability of the methane hydrates. A warm enough ocean will cause the methane hydrates to turn to gas and ultimately to escape into the atmosphere. A release of methane from the oceans into the atmosphere would further exacerbate the warming of the atmosphere. Additional study is desperately needed.