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Special Publications

 

Keywords

  • Paleoclimatology—Quaternary
  • Climatic changes
  • Methane

Index Terms

  • 3344 Meteorology and Atmospheric Dynamics: Paleoclimatology
  • 1620 Global Change: Climate dynamics (3309)
  • 4267 Oceanography: General: Paleoceanography
  • 3339 Meteorology and Atmospheric Dynamics: Ocean/atmosphere interactions (0312, 4504)
  • 1615 Global Change: Biogeochemical processes (4805)
  • 3022 Marine Geology and Geophysics: Marine sediments—processes and transport

ISBN: 0-87590-296-0

Methane Hydrates in Quaternary Climate Change: The Clathrate Gun Hypothesis

J. P. Kennett, K. G. Cannariato, I. L. Hendy, and R. J. Behl

Like most Earth scientists, we are intrigued and amazed by recent discoveries from ice‐core and marine sediments that global climate and the ocean‐atmosphere system can abruptly switch from glacial to near‐interglacial temperatures within decades. Remarkably, this happened many times during and at the end of the last glacial episode, causing enormous disruptions in the global biosphere. Such discoveries are double‐edged, however. Along with the excitement they prompt comes a grand challenge: their explanation. We, and others, have wondered what factors can possibly drive the climate so far and so fast. Where does the energy come from? Understanding such phenomena becomes paramount in a world with increasing concern about the potential role of humans on global climate change.

Citation: Kennett, J. P., K. G. Cannariato, I. L. Hendy, and R. J. Behl (2003), Methane Hydrates in Quaternary Climate Change: The Clathrate Gun Hypothesis, 216 pp., AGU, Washington, D. C., doi:10.1029/054SP.

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