You’ve probably heard about the mysterious odor in New York City, which is similar to the methyl mercaptan with which natural gas is odorized.
At Whirled View, CKR considers the possibility that the government - or a terrorist group - is conducting a vulnerability test to ascertain the reach of a biological or chemical agent. We know that the government has resumed open-air vulnerability testing in NYC (albeit with odorless agents), so her theory isn't entirely farfetched.
And that's just what's wrong with it, frankly. Someone has to come up with an entirely farfetched theory, and it might as well be me.
Methyl mercaptan occurs naturally in natural gas fields. Suppose the smell in NYC had something to do with this?
According to U.S. maritime industry sources, tanker captains are reporting an increase in onboard alarms from hazard sensors designed to detect hydrocarbon gas leaks and, specifically, methane leaks. However, the leaks are not emanating from cargo holds or pump rooms but from continental shelves venting increasing amounts of trapped methane into the atmosphere. With rising ocean temperatures, methane is increasingly escaping from deep ocean floors. Methane is also 21 more times capable of trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide.(Link via Peak Energy.)
In fact, one of the major sources for increased methane venting is the Hudson Submarine Canyon, which extends into the Atlantic 400 miles from the New York-New Jersey harbor.
To be fair, underwater methane venting probably has nothing at all to do with the smell in NYC. But what’s the point of having a blog if you can’t indulge in a bit of ill-informed, irresponsible speculation from time to time?
Meanwhile, the spoilsports at Newsday take the easy way out, and blame New Jersey:
"We think it emanates somewhere between Secaucus and Jersey City," said Charles Sturcken, a spokesman for the New York City Department of Environmental Protection….
[New Jersey Environmental Protection Commissioner Lisa Jackson] bristled upon hearing that New York officials said they believed the smell came from New Jersey. "It looks an awful lot like jumping to conclusions," she said.