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Stephen

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Catastrophic methane release
« on: March 02, 2014, 01:28:04 AM »
The guys over at Arctic News have posted a few articles suggesting that massive methane release from a clathrates, permafrost and the mantle will cause runaway greenhouse within 100 years.

http://arctic-news.blogspot.ie/2014/02/mantle-methane.html

http://arctic-news.blogspot.ie/p/global-extinction-within-one-human.html

I don't have the science to analyse their arguments so I'm interested in your opinions.
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Re: Catastrophic methane release
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2014, 04:31:05 AM »
I don't have the science to analyse their arguments so I'm interested in your opinions.

I'm afraid to say that while I think methane is a potentially very serious threat I have trouble taking stuff from Malcolm Light seriously in relation to this.

I've seen too many bits of junk (as opposed to science) in his stuff before to want to do more than very superficially glance at text of that length (it seems to contain some weird idea of a new source of methane, which instinctively I'm lumping in with his "invisible methane veil" from an earlier article).

That said I personally favour the Shakhova/Wadhams side of this debate - that massive abrupt releases are possible. I also personally think they likely at some point but it seems impossible to predict when they would occur (the risk factors would seem to increase as the Arctic becomes seasonally ice free).

I think there is no need to add junk science to what we already know about the methane situation - it's quite serious enough - and it can only mislead and misinform people to put out information that isn't rationally sound.

For methane stuff I strongly recommend the robertscribbler blog (plenty of past articles about methane, and no doubt will be more in the future):

http://robertscribbler.wordpress.com/

Not only does he seem to do better at referencing the actual science than the Malcolm Light stuff via Arctic News, but you can actually engage him in dialogue and challenge statements where appropriate. In the past when I have tried to query statements on Arctic News my comments haven't even been approved for anyone to see, much less responded to.

Stephen

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Re: Catastrophic methane release
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2014, 06:31:14 AM »
After a bit of searching I found this neat summary over at Real Climate

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2012/01/much-ado-about-methane/
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Re: Catastrophic methane release
« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2014, 08:27:34 AM »
After a bit of searching I found this neat summary over at Real Climate

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2012/01/much-ado-about-methane/

I remember reading that when it came out and thinking it rather conservative. Having re-read it now though, I'd say it's probably a lot nearer to the truth than the Malcolm Light stuff. My main criticism would still be that it has a hint of bias about it in terms of trying to downplay methane (as though it was intended first and foremost as a response to dismiss the Malcolm Light type claims, rather than an open minded exploration of the questions). There is some evidence for past abrupt releases from submarine clathrates -

Craters on the sea floor of New Zealand:

http://epic.awi.de/23124/1/Dav2010a.pdf

And the Storegga landslide (although I think there are competing theories to clathrates):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Storegga_Slide

Anyway, while the amount of methane from a single such eruption could probably be discounted - if conditions changed such that these could become more common, one has to suspect it would make a significant difference to the rate of change we experience, and not for the better. Shakhova was asserting the possibility of a relatively abrupt release of up to 50GT over decadal timescales, which was explored in a controversial paper by Wadhams somewhat more recently:

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-23432769

Quote
The authors say a release of methane on this scale could bring forward the date when global temperatures increase by 2C by between 15 and 35 years.

Not exactly methane doom, but still decidedly non trivial, if it were to occur.

Given how recently so many people were (and some still are) unwilling to predict near future seasonal ice free conditions in the Arctic, I think it pays to keep in mind that most climate impacts are occurring faster and worse than expected. While one cannot translate that into claims of apocalyptic methane doom I don't think the threat should be wholly disregarded either. My unscientific view is that it could prove rather significant at some later point this century (especially as the models don't tend to capture it to my knowledge and therefore any effect will tend to worsen reality versus predictions).

Theta

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Re: Catastrophic methane release
« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2014, 11:28:34 AM »
Although I have only read through the opening text of the article, I think it has the potential to hold ground as there appears to have been a lot of research done for this paper, however I will have to look into it further and read the references before coming to a conclusion.
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wili

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Re: Catastrophic methane release
« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2014, 09:17:09 AM »



Arctic Emergency: Scientists Speak
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

Laurent

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Re: Catastrophic methane release
« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2014, 09:06:28 PM »
Physical controls on CH4 emissions from a newly flooded subtropical freshwater hydroelectric reservoir: Nam Theun 2
http://www.biogeosciences.net/11/4251/2014/bg-11-4251-2014.html

Quote
Abstract. In the present study, we measured independently CH4 ebullition and diffusion in the footprint of an eddy covariance system (EC) measuring CH4 emissions in the Nam Theun 2 Reservoir, a recently impounded (2008) subtropical hydroelectric reservoir located in the Lao People's Democratic Republic (PDR), Southeast Asia. The EC fluxes were very consistent with the sum of the two terms measured independently (diffusive fluxes + ebullition = EC fluxes), indicating that the EC system picked up both diffusive fluxes and ebullition from the reservoir. We showed a diurnal bimodal pattern of CH4 emissions anti-correlated with atmospheric pressure. During daytime, a large atmospheric pressure drop triggers CH4 ebullition (up to 100 mmol m−2 d−1), whereas at night, a more moderate peak of CH4 emissions was recorded. As a consequence, fluxes during daytime were twice as high as during nighttime.

jai mitchell

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Re: Catastrophic methane release
« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2014, 09:14:15 PM »
When Gavin Schmidt stated his skepticism of the potential for methane bomb release from the ESAS based on paleoclimate analysis of the Eemian, he did us all a dis-service. 

There are simply far too many assumptions regarding situational comparisons between a slow, gradual milankovitch cycle event 130,000 years ago and the rapid rise of 12-35 degrees C (regional warming projected between 1880 and 2200 in the arctic)

we already know from Siberian permafrost speleotherms that CURRENT warming wlll complete thaw most of the permafrost over the next 100 years.  With future warming projections there will be NO permafrost anywhere on the planet in 130 years.

Not including carbon from peat fires and carbion dioxide and methane from anaerobic and aerobic decomposition of permafrost is one of several world ending oversights of the IPCC.


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Theta

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Re: Catastrophic methane release
« Reply #8 on: August 25, 2014, 11:12:39 AM »
BBC Report that discusses widespread emissions from the sea floor at the US Coast.



http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-28898223
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Re: Catastrophic methane release
« Reply #9 on: August 25, 2014, 02:27:36 PM »
Sure, they've not checked if it's truly methane, but anyway might be good to know: http://www.natureworldnews.com/articles/8699/20140825/over-500-methane-found-atlantic-ocean-floor-east-coast.htm

I've wondered where the heat that's beein going into the ocean has gone. Maybe it's here.

(modified a bit later) This is the same finding Theta reported, just shows how far I've progressed from mainstream media :D , but BBC I don't normally avoid.
 
« Last Edit: August 25, 2014, 02:56:58 PM by Pmt111500 »

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Re: Catastrophic methane release
« Reply #10 on: August 25, 2014, 05:37:40 PM »
I think we should be careful about overreacting to every methane seep that is discovered. These are naturally occurring on the continental shelves. Does the story say the seeps are growing?

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Re: Catastrophic methane release
« Reply #11 on: August 25, 2014, 05:56:37 PM »
I think we should be careful about overreacting to every methane seep that is discovered. These are naturally occurring on the continental shelves. Does the story say the seeps are growing?

They've been previously known to happen, but not to this extent. That of course means there might have been just as much seeps previously, but at least now folks now where to find those. Maybe next year they'll chart the same area to see that, but maybe their funding will be cut off so they won't find out if the seeps are growing.

Laurent

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Re: Catastrophic methane release
« Reply #12 on: August 25, 2014, 06:17:54 PM »
Hundreds Of Methane Plumes Seeping Out Of Seafloor Along East Coast
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/25/methane-seeping-east-coast_n_5708669.html?utm_hp_ref=green&ir=Green

Quote
"Now we have a study site where we can monitor these locations and see how they change," said David Valentine, a geochemist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, who was not involved in the study. "Finally we have a place where we can begin to address some of the questions about how water temperatures are influencing methane."

Laurent

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Re: Catastrophic methane release
« Reply #13 on: September 18, 2014, 07:37:15 PM »

Laurent

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Re: Catastrophic methane release
« Reply #14 on: September 18, 2014, 09:20:19 PM »

Ned W

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Re: Catastrophic methane release
« Reply #15 on: September 23, 2014, 06:54:32 PM »
A nice new graphic posted at RealClimate:

The story of methane in our climate, in five pie charts




wili

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Re: Catastrophic methane release
« Reply #16 on: September 24, 2014, 06:10:57 AM »
Thanks for that link and those charts, Ned.

It looks like RC is leaving out the huge middle territory between 20 years from now and some (mythical?) time when absolutely all currently sequestered carbon is released into the atmosphere.

But it is exactly over those the period of decades to centuries that people have concerns about releases from, for example, permafrost and Arctic hydrates.
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Laurent

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Re: Catastrophic methane release
« Reply #17 on: October 13, 2014, 10:46:28 PM »
Methane is Escaping Arctic Seafloor at a Terrifying 10 Times Its Normal Rate
http://ringoffireradio.com/2014/08/methane-is-escaping-arctic-seafloor-at-a-terrifying-10-times-its-normal-rate/

wili

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Re: Catastrophic methane release
« Reply #18 on: October 15, 2014, 11:08:32 PM »
wtf??

http://robertscribbler.wordpress.com/2014/10/15/ignoring-the-arctic-methane-monster-royal-society-goes-dark-on-arctic-observational-science/

Quote
Royal Society Goes Dark on Arctic Methane Observation

...Now, as the SWERUS C3 mission has come to a close, something rather odd has happened.

A part of the SWERUS C3 mission, perhaps the most important part, was to collect observational information about methane release from the sea bed. Initial reports from the mission indicated at least what appeared to be an important discovery in the Laptev. The mission also spent quite a period moving through regions of the ESAS — where earlier large releases were observed. It was expected that the lead researchers – Shakhova and Semiletov would present their findings. And what better place than the upcoming Royal Society meeting on ‘Arctic sea ice reduction: the evidence, models, and global impacts (emphasis added)?’

As a critical heat-trapping feedback in the Arctic, one would expect that observations on the release of methane — which is at least 25 times more potent a heat trapping gas by volume than CO2 — would be a matter of some importance to the issue of Arctic sea ice reduction. And it appears that the scientific forum was open enough to the issue to include a model-based discussion of the subject by Dr. Gavin Schmidt.

But with the failure of the Royal Society to invite Shakhova and Semiletov, a good portion of the observational science was simply excluded.

Modelers, instead, could have a discussion with themselves. And though I assume such a discussion was somewhat enlightening and probably more than a little reassuring, one wonders how much realistic grounding such a discussion can have without including the most recent observational findings for debate and analysis.

To this point, earlier this month, Dr. Shakhova made the following statement on behalf of herself and the 30 other scientists involved in her research:

    October 4th, 2014
    By mail and email

    Dear Sir Paul Nurse,

    We are pleased that the Royal Society recognizes the value of Arctic science and hosted an important scientific meeting last week, organized by Dr D. Feltham, Dr S. Bacon, Dr M. Brandon, and Professor Emeritus J. Hunt (https://royalsociety.org/events/2014/arctic-sea-ice/).

    Our colleagues and we have been studying the East Siberian Arctic Shelf (ESAS) for more than 20 years and have detailed observational knowledge of changes occurring in this region, as documented by publications in leading journals such as Science, Nature, and Nature Geosciences. During these years, we performed more than 20 all-seasonal expeditions that allowed us to accumulate a large and comprehensive data set consisting of hydrological, biogeochemical, and geophysical data and providing a quality of coverage that is hard to achieve, even in more accessible areas of the World Ocean.

    To date, we are the only scientists to have long-term observational data on methane in the ESAS. Despite peculiarities in regulation that limit access of foreign scientists to the Russian Exclusive Economic Zone, where the ESAS is located, over the years we have welcomed scientists from Sweden, the USA, The Netherlands, the UK, and other countries to work alongside us. A large international expedition performed in 2008 (ISSS-2008) was recognized as the best biogeochemical study of the IPY (2007-2008). The knowledge and experience we accumulated throughout these years of work laid the basis for an extensive Russian-Swedish expedition onboard I/B ODEN (SWERUS-3) that allowed more than 80 scientists from all over the world to collect more data from this unique area. The expedition was successfully concluded just a few days ago.

    To our dismay, we were not invited to present our data at the Royal Society meeting.

Furthermore, this week we discovered, via a twitter Storify summary (circulated by Dr. Brandon), that Dr. G. Schmidt was instead invited to discuss the methane issue and explicitly attacked our work using the model of another scholar, whose modelling effort is based on theoretical, untested assumptions having nothing to do with observations in the ESAS. While Dr. Schmidt has expertise in climate modelling, he is an expert neither on methane, nor on this region of the Arctic. Both scientists therefore have no observational knowledge on methane and associated processes in this area...
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AbruptSLR

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Re: Catastrophic methane release
« Reply #19 on: December 10, 2014, 04:34:06 PM »
The following link discusses information from the University of Washington documenting the significant quantities of methane being released from the Pacific Northwest (relative to North America) seafloor due to hydrate decomposition due to warming ocean waters due to climate change:

https://www.washington.edu/news/2014/12/09/warmer-pacific-ocean-could-release-millions-of-tons-of-seafloor-methane/

Quote: "While scientists believe that global warming will release methane from gas hydrates worldwide, most of the current focus has been on deposits in the Arctic. This paper estimates that from 1970 to 2013, some 4 million metric tons of methane has been released from hydrate decomposition off Washington. That’s an amount each year equal to the methane from natural gas released in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon blowout off the coast of Louisiana, and 500 times the rate at which methane is naturally released from the seafloor."
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Re: Catastrophic methane release
« Reply #20 on: July 14, 2015, 01:40:24 PM »
OK....just a thought as I was reading this article this morning:

https://gma.yahoo.com/rhode-island-beach-blast-last-thing-victim-remembers-135908995--abc-news-topstories.html#

Maybe some of the scientists in the group can weigh in with their thoughts.
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