Scientists know that in the distant past, huge amounts of methane were somehow released from the ocean floor, which lead to an extreme case of global warming. Could this happen again? If it does, we may be able to use a newly-discovered sea creature to mop up the methane.

In New Scientist, Catherine Brahic writes about the discovery of reef-building sponges that were thought to have been extinct for 100 million years?except a new group of them has been discovered off the West Coast of the US. Why is this important??Because these creatures consume large quantities of methane and can be found in places where the gas seeps up from the ocean floor.
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Recently, New York City was disturbed and mystified by the strong odor of hydrogen sulfide. No serious effort was made to identify its source and the media dropped the story in a day. We identified the smell as possibly coming from a release of the methane which is stored on the ocean floor?a major sign of global warming. Now there are signs that this is happening in Canada too.

The odor in New York could have come from hydrogen sulfide being outgassed along with methane from the walls of the Hudson Canyon, a massive underwater geologic feature off the coast of New York. The walls of the canyon are filled with methane hydrates which will become gas if water temperatures get high enough.
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On January 8, a powerful odor of escaping gas blanketed much of southern New Jersey and New York. It was strong enough to cause buildings to be shut down, and for all emergency services in the area to be swamped with 911 calls. It may have been a phenomenon linked to global warming.
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Trials carried out by New Zealand scientists have shown that changing pastures can directly reduce the emissions of methane – a potent greenhouse gas – from sheep and cattle. The researchers say it all depends on tannins, which are the yellow-brown chemicals found in many plants.

Scientists at New Zealand’s agricultural research institute, AgResearch Grasslands, tested the legume lotus and found that its natural condensed tannin compounds reduced the methane emissions from ruminant animals by as much as 16%.
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