Although no single, unequivocal proof exists for the hypothesis we present, a broad range of evidence suggests it. We expect reluctance by scientists to support such an idea at this stage without further testing, but if the hypothesis holds, it will require a major shift in thinking about what drives Quaternary climate change.
Once through the seabed, fluids of any origin contribute to, and in some cases, significantly affect, the marine environment. The chemical, physical, and biological nature of seawater may be affected by seabed fluid flow. Even in the deep oceans, emissions from hydrothermal vents, cold seeps, and mud volcanoes are influential. However, a proportion of some components passes through the hydrosphere and enters the atmosphere. Methane is one of these components. Contributions to atmospheric methane by the oceans, and in particular the seabed, are poorly understood, but may be important not only to today's climate, but also to global climate change over geological time-scales.