A clathrate is an inclusion complex. This is a kind of compound in which a molecule is completely enclosed by another substance.
It is for this reason that a clathrate is at times called a “cage compound.”
Global WarmingPerhaps the most important clathrate is a molecule of methane gas (CH₄) entrapped in crystallized water – ice. This clathrate is found deep within the sea. It may play a role in terrifying events connected to global warming.
Many (perhaps most) opponents of global warming are not scientists at all. So they may not know how to recognize how the most subtle changes can influence and trigger major events. This should not surprise us. The world is controlled, after all, by the almighty buck. And the almighty buck leads us back to politics. People often believe what they want to believe.
A Tenuous ExistenceClathrate compounds require very specific circumstances in order to form. The conditions required are readily found deep within the sea. Even a fractional degree of temperature rise could initiate the melting of barely frozen methane water clathrates, potentiating seismic events.
This could lead to more severe storms that include larger and more horrific hurricanes. In fact, even earthquakes and tsunamis.
- ARS Technica: Frozen methane, from the gulf oil spill to climate change
- ORNL: Diffractometer puts the squeeze on methane hydrate cages, unraveling its high-pressure structure
- NASA GISS: Methane (hydrate)