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Physics Project involving ice, gases, and global warming

  1. Sep 22, 2010 #1
    it is required of me to to the physics part in a group project where the topic is "causes of global warming". my group has chosen methane clathrates or methane hydrates if you like (in the ocean, not on land). The way these work is that it is methane gas that is trapped in water molecules that had turned into ice under the cold temperatures and pressures. as the temp of the earth warms up, the water warms up as well and the rate at which the ice melts increases, releasing more gas, causing more temp increases, faster dissolving, and so on.

    now what im planning on doing is something along the lines of how much energy is required to melt the ice (q=mc delta T), how fast it takes to transfer that much energy from the water (im not so sure about which equation to use here), how much energy it takes to raise ocean water a degree (q=mc delta T). Then from there i plan to get the approximate percent composition of the atmosphere and demonstrate how an increased amount of methane will keep more energy trapped and not let it escape, thus warming the earth, through reflection of energy (im sure i have this formula somewhere, just to troublesome at the moment to find it). I believe that would be enough to demonstrate our point, so please, if someone can just tell me if what im doing is correct (right formulas and what not) i would be extremely grateful.
    Thank you in advance to anyone who even takes the time to read this over.

    N.B. just for future reference, i was reading about q=ha delta T and something about heat transfer. so would i need to use this too?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 23, 2010 #2


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    Are you planning on calculating how fast it takes to transfer energy FROM the water, or TO the water?
  4. Sep 23, 2010 #3
    from water to the ice
    i was reading about newtons law of cooling or something like that, but i couldnt really find a heat transfer coefficient
    also when it comes to calculations, my teacher said to use 1 kg of the methane clathrate since it is relatively unknown exactly how much of it there is around the world.
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2010
  5. Sep 23, 2010 #4
    to tell the truth, i dont think that it will be possible to effectively calculate the rate at which it melts and all that since it is impossible to get conclusive numbers on the amount ocean water, temperatures, size of the clathrates and other things.

    instead, can anyone tell me if there is a certain equation i can use to calculate the amount of energy a gas (methane gas in this case) would absorb and release when it is in the atmosphere and the approx composition/amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere currently?

    thank you.
  6. Sep 23, 2010 #5


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    Sorry, wish i could help you further. =(
  7. Sep 23, 2010 #6
    its alright
    ill just have to hope that the theory part of what it does will suffice for it

    thanks for trying either way
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