Arctic time bomb (?)

by Judith Curry

It will be difficult — perhaps impossible — to avoid large methane releases in the East Siberian Sea without major reductions in global emissions of CO2.- Gail Whiteman, Chris Hope, Peter Wadhams

Nature has published a Commentary by Whiteman, Hope and Wadhams entitled Vast Costs of Arctic Change.  Excerpts:

As the amount of Arctic sea ice declines at an unprecedented rate. the thawing of offshore permafrost releases methane. A 50-gigatonne (Gt) reservoir of methane, stored in the form of hydrates, exists on the East Siberian Arctic Shelf. It is likely to be emitted as the seabed warms, either steadily over 50 years or suddenly. Higher methane concentrations in the atmosphere will accelerate global warming and hasten local changes in the Arctic, speeding up sea-ice retreat, reducing the reflection of solar energy and accelerating the melting of the Greenland ice sheet. The ramifications will be felt far from the poles.

To quantify the effects of Arctic methane release on the global economy, we used PAGE09. This integrated assessment model calculates the impacts of climate change and the costs of mitigation and adaptation measures. An earlier version of the PAGE model was used in the UK government’s 2006 Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change to evaluate the effect of extra greenhouse-gas emissions on sea level, temperature, flood risks, health and extreme weather while taking account of uncertainty7. The model assesses how the net present value of climate effects varies with each tonne of carbon dioxide emitted or saved. 

We ran the PAGE09 model 10,000 times to calculate confidence intervals and to assess the range of risks arising from climate change until the year 2200, taking into account sea-level changes, economic and non-economic sectors and discontinuities such as the melting of the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets (see Supplementary Information; go.nature.com/rueid5). We superposed a decade-long pulse of 50 Gt of methane, released into the atmosphere between 2015 and 2025, on two standard emissions scenarios. First was ‘business as usual’: increasing emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases with no mitigation action (the scenario used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report on Emissions Scenarios A1B). Second was a ‘low-emissions’ case, in which there is a 50% chance of keeping the rise in global mean temperatures below 2°C (the 2016r slow scenario from the UK Met Office). We also explored the impacts of later, longer-lasting or smaller pulses of methane.

In all of these cases there is a steep global price tag attached to physical changes in the Arctic, notwithstanding the short-term economic gains for Arctic nations and some industries.

The methane pulse will bring forward by  15–35 years the average date at which the global mean temperature rise exceeds 2°C above pre-industrial levels — to 2035 for the business-as-usual scenario and to 2040 for the low-emissions case (see ‘Arctic methane’). This will lead to an extra $60 trillion (net present value) of mean climate-change impacts for the scenario with no mitigation, or 15% of the mean total predicted cost of climate-change impacts (about $400 trillion). In the low-emissions case, the mean net present value of global climate-change impacts is $82 trillion without the methane release; with the pulse, an extra $37 trillion, or 45% is added . These costs remain the same irrespective of whether the methane emission is delayed by up to 20 years, kicking in at 2035 rather than 2015, or stretched out over two or three decades, rather than one. A pulse of 25 Gt of methane has half the impact of a 50 Gt pulse.

The economic consequences will be distributed around the globe, but the modelling shows that about 80% of them will occur in the poorer economies of Africa, Asia and South America. The extra methane magnifies flooding of low-lying areas, extreme heat stress, droughts and storms.

The Guardian

An article on this paper in the Guardian includes the following reactions from climate scientists:

Not everyone agrees that  imminent methane release is plausible. Nasa’s Gavin Schmidt has previously argued that the danger of such a methane release is low, whereas scientists like Prof Tim Lenton from Exeter University who specialises in climate tipping points, says the process would takethousands if not tens of thousands of years, let alone a decade.

If Prof Wadhams is correct in his forecast that the summer sea ice could be gone by 2015, then we might be closer to the tipping point than we realise.

Selected statements from Wadhams:

Given present trends in extent and thickness, the ice in September will be gone in a very short while, perhaps by 2015. In subsequent years, the ice-free window will widen, to 2-3 months, then 4-5 months etc, and the trends suggest that within 20 years time we may have six ice-free months per year. 

I think that most Arctic specialists would agree that this scenario is plausible.

Carbon Brief

More comments from climate scientists in this post at the Carbon Brief:

The scientists we spoke to suggested the authors have chosen a scenario that’s either implausible, or very much at the upper limit of what we can reasonably expect. Dr Vincent Gauci, a researcher at the Open University and director of the MethaneNet research network explained to Carbon Brief:

“It’s not a given all the methane will end up in the atmosphere. Some could be oxidised [broken down] in the water by bacteria, and some could remain in the sediments on the seafloor.”

Dr Gauci told us that the authors had made an “enormous leap” assuming that the entire 50 billion tonnes of frozen methane trapped in ocean sediments would end up in the atmosphere over a ten-year period.

Those sentiments were mirrored by Professor David Archer from the University of Chicago, who researches ocean sediments and methane. He told us even if the ocean warms, most of the methane released by thawing permafrost could stay in the seabed or dissolve in seawater. Professor Archer, who blogs at Realclimate , described the scenario as “totally unjustified”, saying:

“No one has proposed any mechanism for releasing methane that wouldn’t take centuries, not just a few years.”

Dr Julian Merton from the University of Sussex explained to us that permafrost doesn’t respond quickly to rising temperatures:

“Permafrost hundreds of metres thick simply doesn’t warm or thaw much in ten years on account of its thermal inertia.”

Melting of the Arctic Sea Ice

Climate Dialogue has an excellent post on Melting of the Arctic Sea Ice, which includes essays  by myself, Walt Meiers and Ron Lindsay, as well as an extended summary by the moderators.  If you haven’t visited this discussion, I encourage you to do so.  I was the nominal skeptic in the bunch, but the disagreement among us wasn’t all that large.  None of the three subscribed to the ‘spiral of death’ scenerio whereby an ice free arctic is plausibly ice free within a few years.

With regards to climate models, there is a new paper by Jiping Liu in PNAS that infers from CMIP5 climate model simulations that the Arctic will be ice free in September by around 2054-58.  Liu et al. selected the climate model runs that agreed most closely with the observed sea ice decline. So even the climate models with a CO2 sensitivity that is arguably too high don’t predict an imminent ice free Arctic.

Methane hydrates and contemporary climate change

Given the dire consequences of a major methane gas release triggered by ongoing warming the latest science now says that such a release of methane will not happen for several hundred years.  Nature has a paper by Carolyn Ruppel entitled Methane hydrates and contemporary climate change.  From the conclusion:

Catastrophic, widespread dissociation of methane gas hydrates will not be triggered by continued climate warming at contemporary rates (0.2ºC per decade; IPCC 2007) over timescales of a few hundred years. Most of Earth’s gas hydrates occur at low saturations and in sediments at such great depths below the seafloor or onshore permafrost that they will barely be affected by warming over even 1000 yr. Even when CH4 is liberated from gas hydrates, oxidative and physical processes may greatly reduce the amount that reaches the atmosphere as CH4. 

JC comment:  The plausibility of Wadhams’ scenario rests on two assumptions:

  1. the ‘spiral of death’ loss of arctic sea ice
  2. connection of the sea ice loss to a massive release of methane hydrates into the atmosphere on the time scale of a decade

Each of these assumptions is highly implausible, based upon my understanding; the combination of these two assumptions into a single scenario seems impossible to me.

So, if you are not a fan of climate models, I suspect that you really will not like impact assessment models used by Wadhams et al..

200 responses to “Arctic time bomb (?)

  1. Oliver Manuel

    Thank you, Professor Curry, for trying to stay up with a constantly moving target.

    When I was a young man in Viola, KS there was a plowed field near our house.

    Environmentalism is as quick to change directions as the jack rabbits that I tried, but never managed, to shoot as they dated across the field.

    Unfortunately science has become a tool of propaganda that is largely devoid of reality.

    This will eventually destroy those who thought they could use science to control mankind.

    Until then, we must be kind to one another and know that truth is more powerful than all the world’s leaders, combined.

    Oliver K. Manuel

    Sent from my iPhone

  2. Nature always has a scare story, wheather or not Nature has one.

  3. Huh.

    So Gauci’s oxidized methane in the water.. that’d be CO2 and water, and oxygen-depleted water at substantially lower pH?

    How is that better than methane, again?

    And what’s this reliance on an Arctic Death Spiral at all? Even without the death spiral, the best projections center on an ice free Arctic by 2038.. +/- 20 years.

    Also, why focus on ice-free year at all?

    The depletion of the Arctic Sea summer ice makes frankenstorms possible, and so far as we know, the more depleted the more likely.

    Who cares about some arbitrary zero, when the first frankenstorm cost the USA over $60 billion, and the second frankenstorm a few months later was a major winter disaster at the local and state level, too?

    • the GFC the greatest destruction of wealth the world has seen was around 45 trillion,where are we today?

      • maksimovich | July 25, 2013 at 11:19 am |

        The GFC followed two critical price spikes in the 3F effect (food/fuel/fertilizer) triangle caused by two consecutive runs of extreme weather events coinciding globally.

        While we can place idiotic banking policy at the head of the list of causes of the GFC and hence loaded the gun, it is plausible that Climate Change pulled that trigger.

    • So Gauci’s oxidized methane in the water.. that’d be CO2 and water, and oxygen-depleted water at substantially lower pH?

      How is that better than methane, again?

      You’re not a climate scientist, but how can you even play one on TV without knowing that methane is a much more powerful GHG than CO2?

      • ozzieostrich

        AK,

        You might care to point me in the direction of even one experiment which demonstrates the ability of a gas to warm a body by doing nothing more than surrounding that body.

        You might as well as well argue that various types of Philosopher’s Stone have different efficiencies when turning lead into gold.

        The “GHE” is about as real as the aforementioned Philosopher’s Stone. Produce experimental proof of either one, and I will grovel in mortification.

        Live well and prosper,

        Mike Flynn.

      • I don’t waste my time on sky-dragons

      • ozzieostrich

        AK,

        I don’t really know what a sky-dragon is, but I think you just did – waste your time, that is.

        Am I right?

        Live well and prosper,

        Mike Flynn.

      • No. Wasting time would be trying to explain why you’re wrong, esp. with ref’s.

      • ozzieostrich

        AK,

        Let me get this clear – saying you’re not prepared to waste your time on sky- dragons, (whatever they might be), is not wasting your time.

        I’m not sure why not, but it’s your assessment.

        You then say trying to explain why I’m wrong would be (a waste of your time).

        I asked if you might care to point me in the direction of an experiment that shows the GHE. I’m not sure that you would be capable of explaining why asking a simple question is wrong, with or without “ref’s”.

        Members of the Cult of Climatology tend to talk in condescending and patronising one-liners, but prove to be sadly lacking when asked to provide either facts or logic.

        You seem to have neither fact nor logic on your side. Oh well, faith will suffice!

        Live well and prosper,

        Mike Flynn.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        http://www.atmos.washington.edu/~dennis/321/Harries_Spectrum_2001.pdf

        It is proof in fact of IR photon scattering by greenhouse gases.

      • AK | July 25, 2013 at 12:41 pm |

        Methane that escapes the sea is generally a small fraction of methane that is released from clathrates at the sea floor, though if the concentration rose high enough so much could make it to the atmosphere that the impact of methane as a GHG in air (before it devolves to CO2 in air) overwhelmed the negative effects of methane decomposing to CO2 in the oceans.. that would be a staggering event indeed.

        We might well see oceanic limnic eruptions should this degree of methane release occur.

        The GHG effect is a thing. But it’s not the only effect.

    • spartacusisfree

      Yet more false scare stories. The storm frequency has fallen substantially as temperature has risen.

      Now temperatures are falling, storm frequency will substantially increase.

      And the explanation: simple, higher temperatures mean lower temperature gradient to the poles and vice versa, and it’s the temperature gradient that matters.

      This July is 0.131 K cooler than average as the World tips into the new LIA:

      • sparticus,

        You need to keep up. As the renowned Dr Francis had shown (well she actually hasn’t shown anything, just offered a hypothesis), that reduced gradient will result in a meandering jet stream, which will play havoc with weather and lead to an increase in “extreme” weather.

      • spartacusisfree

        The reduced jet stream is from solar effects.

      • Sparticus,

        I was not being serious. It is a dig at how some people can change the narrative whenever the facts become too inconvenient.

      • spartacusisfree

        you make a point that I have made a number of times. Reading through tens of thousands of records it is noticeable that the violence and number of storms and extreme weather was worse in the past than it is today. The Periods of the LIA contributed the most extremes, presumably because during those episodes there was the greatest temperature gradient between poles and equator.
        tonyb

    • George Turner

      Couldn’t this lead to an increasing frequency of sharknado events?

    • Bart,

      Weather, it’s a bitch.

      BTW – Use of the term frankenstorm tends to be a tell. As in people who employ it either are pushing an agenda or haven’t a clue. It is a media construct to draw people’s attention. It has no other basis.

      • timg56 | July 25, 2013 at 5:24 pm |

        Tends to be a tell?

        You mean people will think I’m a Progressive if I recognise the existence of something that freaking covers a tenth of the planet?

        Sounds like basis enough for me.

        There are satellite images of the thing. Sounds like basis enough for me.

        There are analyses showing Sandy in its frankenstorm phase to be the largest storm on record, and by a substantial marging. Sounds like basis enough for me.

        There were predictions in peer-reviewed scientific literature that shifts in the jet stream and surface temperature and blocking conditions would contribute to just such a new phenomenon. Sounds like basis enough for me.

        Mock away. Label away. There’s a US President who lays the fault for the spending of $63 Billion dollars of taxpayer money at the feet of that ‘tell’.

        Sounds like basis enough for me.

        What sounds baseless to me? Calling frankenstorm a tell.

        And in other media construction based on actual Arctic weather expertise, what do you have to say about decayed ice?

        http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/stronger-arctic-cyclones-rapidly-chewing-up-weak-sea-ice/article13446896/

      • k scott denison

        Hey Bart, I’m really interested in your answers to the following questions:

        1. Was the “Frankenstorm” the biggest of all time?
        2. If “no” to #1, what was?
        3. If “yes” to #1, how do you know?
        4. What are the specifications of a storm to qualify as a “Frankenstorm”?
        5. How many have ever occurred?
        6. What are the categories above and below “Frankenstorm”?
        7. Does Al Franken factor into a “Frankenstorm” somehow?
        8. For what % of man’s existence have we had satellite images?
        9. How did we confirm or deny a storm as a “Frankenstorm” before that?
        10. What else are you irrationally afraid of?

      • k scott denison | July 25, 2013 at 10:33 pm |

        Really? You still on the multi-part still-beating-your-wife question shtick?

        That doesn’t get old for you?

        What are the specifications of a storm to qualify as a “Frankenstorm”?

        http://www.nws.noaa.gov/os/assessments/pdfs/Sandy13.pdf

        Sandy also made an atypical transition to post-tropical status. The storm evolved when a tropical cyclone merged with an intense low pressure system and dramatically increased in size before landfall.

        Merging of a tropical cyclone with a major arctic low pressure system, and voila, frankenstorm. See how that works? There’ve been two in the USA. Have there been any elsewhere? Who cares? Any before they hit the USA? Who cares?

        What makes you so fascinated with un-American things? Are you anti-American?

      • Bart,

        it is a media coined term. There are no grounds to argue otherwise. I did not put out any labels, progressive or other such terms. You doing so is a duck and weave. Sandy stretched across one of the largest geographic areas of any tropical storm or hurricane. But that is a single metric. There have been hurricanes which covered more area when you account for their track. Sandy’s record is for diameter of the storm.

        you can yammer on all you want about peer review. It is not some magic wand which confirms any thing. Fact, there are no proven mechanisms to link Sandy or any other weather event to climate change. There are some people offering hypothesis’s . That is it. Not much different than those put forth to explain say the Shroud of Turin. I fully believe in freedom of religion. So feel free to use terminology better suited for encoyrgagibg

      • Bart, Funny how you constantly demand more back up research
        from others but your own claims are exempt. Case in point, yer
        weak rhetorical evasive tactics in response to k scott denizon’s questions to you @ 10.33 pm. Go hither and do that which yer
        require of others.
        Bts

      • timg56 | July 26, 2013 at 3:02 am |

        No, it’s a Caltech-USGS coined term the media adopted with vim in early 2010 and reframed to describe Sandy.

        http://urbanearth.gps.caltech.edu/winter-storm-2/

        Though USGS redubbed it ARkstorm for their media campaign drumming up support for their adaptation strategy.

      • Beth Cooper | July 26, 2013 at 5:36 am |

        I demand more of myself than of others in backing claims and founding cases. But these ‘questions’, they’ve been answered in the very post they follow. They’re badgering, not discourse, and their intention is patently to insult not clarify.

        1-3. The largest storm by area of any storm on record we can confirm by instrumental observations is Sandy, the first of the frankenstorms formed as a result of the merging of a tropical cyclone and an intense arctic low.

        At 1,100 miles across, is it the largest storm on record in all other senses?

        No, clearly not, even if counting only the Holocene. Before instrumental records, we can be pretty sure there have been storms lasting longer, with more precipitation, likely even to have been in the same size range and maybe even more. Certainly, there’s been costlier storms in terms of life and livelihoods. But diminishing the seriousness of frankenstorms because once or twice a millennium something else on the same scale happened elsewhere?

        How is that anything but disingenuous?

        5-9. We don’t know of any well-enough observed conditions to confirm a prior frankenstorm of this type. There’ve been other multihazard storms, as we know from history, including the history that prompted coining the term frankenstorm in the first place. But frankenstorm now has a specific meaning due common usage, distinct from the other multihazard storms. Which are also predicted to grow more common.. and even if they don’t grow ‘more common’, we have far too little data to establish how ‘common’ they were to begin with, so may want to be ready for what might be quite a lot more ‘common’ than we ever knew.

        So, Beth. Do you want to explain the rationale you have for being afraid of facts and inference? I’m sure it would entertain ks denison no end.

      • Bart,

        I read the report you linked to. Not a single mention of the term frankenstorm. Of course it was used in the second link you provided. Which was, uh, a tv news anchor on some local CBS affiliate. Congrats, you’ve just proved beyond all doubt that it is not a term meant for media use.

        For that matter, the term ArkStorm is primarily a media artifact. They have to call it something and if you want your efforts to get attention, attaching media friendly terminology helps – i.e. it’s catchy.

      • timg56 | July 26, 2013 at 2:13 pm |

        That’s an interestingly nuanced shift from “media coined term” to “meant for media use”.

        You overestimate how vested I am in this label. I think it’s interesting that Frankenstein’s monster retired to the North Pole at the end of the novel, and now the term ‘frankenstorm’ evokes the monster of man’s making returning to haunt us. That’s a properly Beth-level sentimentality with no objective meaning, but it appealed to my sense of humor.

        Haven’t you been encouraging me to lighten up?

        But if some prefer “perfect storm” (a tad over-generalized I think), or ARkstorm or multihazard storm, who am I to stick my finger in their pie?

        I just like to get facts straight. I think it’s helpful.

        That people are so desperate to control the discourse that they have to dictate to others what words can and cannot be used, that draws immense guffaws from me at their patently absurd uptightness.

        Glad I could be of help here.

      • timg56 | July 26, 2013 at 2:13 pm |

        A team of experts .. on what they call a ‘Frankenstorm Scenario’.

        How impatient are you that you can’t make it eight seconds into a 39 second clip?

      • And again, attribution to Caltech by the media for the creation of the term, and an explanation of its provenance:

        http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/01/24/scientists-create-model-monster-frankenstorm/

        ..a team of scientists hunkered down at the California Institute of Technology to work on a “Frankenstorm” scenario.. ..scientists stitched together data from two recent storms to create “Frankenstorm.”

        When even Fox News tells you they didn’t invent it themselves..

    • Chief Hydrologist

      http://www.atmos.washington.edu/~dennis/321/Harries_Spectrum_2001.pdf

      It is proof in fact of IR photon scattering by greenhouse gases.

    • BartR

      Fortunately we have records that enable us to identify Frankenstorms that predate your examples by many centuries.

      A good place to start reading might be Hubert Lambs book ‘Historic Storms of the North Sea, British Isles and Northwest Europe.’ which lists storms from 1164 and provides charts from 1694
      tonyb

      • climatereason | July 26, 2013 at 2:14 am |

        Aha!

        Tonyb, I’d been meaning to correspond. This is the perfect chance.

        Have you considered expanding your historical pursuits to the full gamut of all fifty essential climate variables?

        http://www.wmo.int/pages/prog/gcos/index.php?name=EssentialClimateVariables

        I know you’re exactly the man for the job.

        As for Lamb, wonderful narrative it provides, does it specifically demonstrate either storm spans in excess of 1,100 miles or created by the interaction of a tropical cyclone with a major Arctic low pressure system, or does it just rhyme off a list of the vague recollections of a few mariners and dotty old aunts?

      • BartR

        I will be delighted to carry out the historical work you suggest. Please send an advance grant of $30 Million to enable me to set up the teams funding for two years.

        As for your apparent belief that knowledge of historic storms are based on a few drunken sailors yarns in the inn I am afraid that our information is much more detailed than that. If you don’t want to read Lambs highly detailed Book I noticed whilst in the Met office library earlier this week (its called research Bart) that they have bound copies of the US weather review from 1872. This lists all storms.

        Presumably this must be online so you can sit in your chair and carry out your own research into pre satellite records. Perhaps you can eventually get back to LIA weather.

        Have fun. (Ps don’t forget to send the large grant)

        tonyb (official storm chronicler to BartR since 2013)

      • tonyb | July 26, 2013 at 3:59 am |

        You value your work much too cheaply. It should be considered priceless.

        And did you have a specific single cyclone candidate in the written records you claim to be larger than 1,100 miles across?

        (Hint. It’s likely Tip from 1972, which had gale force winds almost 1400 miles from its center.)

        http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2012/10/31/16873/

        But Tip is a Pacific typhoon, and Sandy an Atlantic frankenstorm; if storms on the Atlantic are going to become more like the typical typhoon in the Pacific, that’s quite serious.

      • Tonyb, are we just talking of Atlantic storms? Sandy was very, very big in area, surely the widest Atlantic blow that’s been measured. Below cat 1 at landfall in NY, but cat 3 at peak, 940mbar. 1,100 miles across. Anything that strong and that huge in area will make a mess. Of course, there have been many Atlantic hurricanes of greater intensity, even affecting NY and above. Of acknowledged Atlantic cat 5s, 1924′s Cuba had the lowest pressure at 910mbar, Camille in 1969 recorded the highest windspeed (190mph, gulp).

        Mind you, England has some form in the Atlantic. Daniel Defoe said of the Great Storm of 1703: “No pen could describe it, nor tongue express it, nor thought conceive it unless by one in the extremity of it.” People doubted the tales of the Great Storm…till a similar monster hit in 1987, 953mbar and winds up to 134mph!

        Or are we talking of recent monsters, any ocean? 1979′s Tip was the biggest and meanest anybody knows about. Bigger in area than Sandy and far more intense. Size and intensity truly “Franken”: 1,380 miles across…and 870mbar! Sandy’s one minute sustained speed was 115mph. Tip’s was 190mph.

        By the way, Australia’s own Cyclone Mahina has official acknowledgement for the world’s highest known storm surge. But that was in 1899, and the measurements are in dispute. Nonetheless, they were picking dolphins 40 feet up cliffs afterwards. Don’t want another one of those. Trouble is, what we want and what we get etc…

        It’s a naughty old planet, isn’t it!

      • BartR

        Ever willing to bring you the classic weather data you like and value so much I bring you this from the USA.

        Holyoke and Wigglesworth meteorological diaries, Dr. E. A. Holyoke’s sub-daily data;
        The meteorological diary of Dr. Edward A. Holyoke from Salem (Ma. USA) is published by E. Hale (1833) A Meteorological Journal from the Year 1786 to the Year 1829, inclusive, by Edward A. Holyoke, M.D., A.A.S., Mem. Amer. Acad. Arts Sci. 1:107-216. The digitized data is taken from this publication.

        http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/data/holyoke/

        The specific entries are here;
        http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10584-007-9292-x#page-15

        Not sure if any of the really great storms were recorded as we were entering the warmer more benign modern period rather than experiencing the severity of the depths of the LIA when most extreme weather seemed to have occurred. To my surprise our friends at CRU reckoned that the period 1786-1829 had warm days more or less similar or even slightly higher than in the modern period. The number of cold days in winter was markedly more and winter pressure considerably lower back then.

        tonyb

  4. why is such rubbish considered Nature material?

  5. What is the value of an integrated assessment model that combines highly unlikely physical scenarios with an economic model that does economic calculations based on numbers that are throughout pure guesswork, and does that furthermore in a way that overemphasizes highly the part of the period on which we know as little as 19th century people knew about today?

    I admit that I have nor read the paper, but based on earlier similar calculations, it’s very likely that this is the nature of that paper.

  6. So. The arctic will be ice free sometime on Friday morning and the cost will be over 56 thousandy gabillion dollars. And worse CNBC stated that the sea level rise will be 7 million. No units given so I’m assuming cubic acres. This is all very, very disturbing.

  7. ‘I think that most Arctic specialists would agree that this scenario is plausible’

    its ‘plausible I could become the next pope , despite not being a catholic , although the odds are very much against it, its still more likely than Wadhams claims . But give him credit for not using a time scale which by ‘lucky chance ‘ means the person making the claim will not be around to answer as to why it was BS, as so many climate scientists have got into the habit of doing.

  8. spartacusisfree

    The scare story about methane is based on an imaginary 72 times higher climate sensitivity than CO2. It is trivial to show that processes involving clouds change OLR spectral distribution. The upper bound warming from 125 Gt CH4 = 50 ppmV is <0.23 K.CO2 climate sensitivity <0.08 K.

    The fundamental problem is that no-one, yes no-one in Climate Alchemy has really thought out the science. Thus going back to 1846 and John Tyndall, anyone with statistical thermodynamics' knowledge knows that thermalisation of IR from a higher temperature source cannot occur in the gas phase at local thermodynamic equilibrium.

    The reason is that the IR activated vibrational density of states is full so the excess energy pseudo-diffuses to heterogeneities, in the case of Tyndall the wall of the brass tube. In the atmosphere it's clouds and Space.

    And as for Aarhenius idea, it's ludicrous because back radiation's the false belief that all the radiation field of the atmosphere does thermodynamic work when in reality it's the maximum rate of work on a sink at 0 deg K.

    ghg-AGW and the Clathrate Gun are scare stories paid for by corrupt politicians to establish totalitarian government. Houghton made 3 mistakes. Hansen et. al. in 1981 claimed 33 K GHE switching the GHE with lapse rate.

    In effect they claimed that if you reduce ghgs to zero, the surface falls to -18 deg C. However, the insolation rises by 43% [no clouds or ice] so the real surface temperature is 4 – 5 deg C, a real GHE of 11 K.

    That is the origin of the 3 x positive feedback. It's time this science was reclaimed from the fraudsters and the incompetents.

  9. Pingback: Gavin on why the Arctic methane alarm is implausible | Watts Up With That?

  10. One of the problems is that this story has been carried by our Canadian Broadcasting Corporartion; on their web site, and on radio to my certain knowledge. I have not actually seen it on TV. So the Canadian public, most of whom do not understand the science anyway, have one more reason to believe that our Federal Government is wrong to do nothing about carbon taxes, CAGW, etc. etc.

    • I’m surprised the Guardian article was more balanced than the CBC article. The CBC ranks at the bottom with NBC and SciAm for biased science reporting. Mostly ignorant commenters (1000+) too.

  11. Matthew R Marler

    Given present trends in extent and thickness, the ice in September will be gone in a very short while, perhaps by 2015.

    That’s a timely update from “perhaps by 2013″.

  12. I’m sure there must be a clear signature of this scenario from Eamian in which the arctic regions were 5 degrees C warmer than at present, all the arctic sea ice was melted and the Greenland ice cap somewhat reduced. (Hansen 2011).

    /sarc

  13. Wadhams et al.

    Finally, A Model that makes Climate Models Look Good.

  14. lurker, passing through laughing

    So these clowns run a crappy science fiction style model 10,000 times and get teh results they pre-programmed in it and claim that is a plausible sciencey study.
    What a hoot.

    • “I wonder what would happen… well, let’s find out”

      SET AND
      IFTRUTH=”?”THEN_OUTPUT=”CATASTROPHE” AND
      WHERE_RESULT<="FRIGHTENING"THEN_INCREASE=cs*2 AND
      VALID_SCIENCE*1000 AND
      SET_RESULTS_FILTER=FRONTPAGEWORTHY

      RUN

      "oh my God!"

    • If these guys were really as smart as they think they are, they would be using their expensive computer time running models to predict the winners of the World Cup and Super Bowl.

  15. There is a “pause” – so climate should now be combined with weather for funding purposes.

    There is a “pause” – so we should now use massive government spending to fund “resilience” rather than mitigation.

    There is a “pause” – so now we should focus solely on the Arctic, where there does appear to be localized warming, rather than global climate.

    There is a “pause” – so no matter what happens, we have to divert attention from the plain and simple fact that we don’t understand the climate. We simply can’t afford to lose control of the massive flow of funds from tax payers that our scare mongering has gotten us so far.

    Globalclimatewarmingchange is the Freddy Kreuger of progressive policy excuses. Nothing can kill it. There will always be a sequel.

  16. lurker, passing through laughing

    Since the Arctic has been warmer in the past, and we have never heard from climate sciencey types about past methane apocalypses, we can safely assume that this ‘study’ is just another excercise in moral hazard by greedy researchers looking to cash in on the money hunt that is AGW.
    The 3rd assumption in this is whether or not the mechanism of methane release and its impacts are well understood by the sciencey guys who wrote this study.

  17. R. Gates the Skeptical Warmist

    I am a very big fan of both Wadhams and climate models, but how could this be the case, given that each of them has differed so much?

    I am a big fan of Wadhams because his approach does the best in taking into account non-linearities in the climate system. At a time when even the latest non-Wadham’s models are suggesting an ice-free summer Arctic in the 2050+ timeframe, Wadhams has been pretty much the outlier in suggesting it will be before 2020. The Arctic sea ice is beginning to display extreme non-linearites with multiple unaccounted for positive feedbacks and the long-term trend indicating that Wadham’s generally is right on target.

    Why am I a big fan of the models? Not because they are correct (at least not Wadham’s models) but because they remain useful in understanding sea ice dynamics despite their shortcomings. As we begin to observe more non-linearities, (such as we saw for the first time in 2007), new dynamics are included in the models and they can be improved. In this way, slowly but surely the models more accurately portray the dynamics of what is going on. Unfortunately, the ice is now in such a long-term freefall, that it will likely be gone in the summer before the models fully account for why it declined so fast. Wadhams comes closest of anyone to understanding the real current dyanamics. If he has concerns about a methane release, I would tend to favor his position more than those who remain in the same camp that believes we might not see an ice-free summer Arctic until the 2050′s. That clearly is very unlikely.

    Lastly,

  18. Methane not only absorbs very little IR from sunlight, but it auto-oxidizes in it and becomes CO2 and water vapor.

    CO2 is a “trace gas” in air, insignificant by definition. It absorbs 1/7th as much IR, heat energy, from sunlight as water vapor which has 188
    times as many molecules capturing 1200 times as much heat making 99.9% of all “global warming.” CO2 does only 0.1% of it. For this we should destroy our economy?

    Carbon combustion generates 80% of our energy. Control and taxing of
    carbon would give the elected ruling class more power and money than
    anything since the Magna Carta of 1215 AD.

    See The Two Minute Conservative via Google or: http://adrianvance.blogspot.com and when you speak ladies will swoon and liberal gentlemen will weep.

  19. David Springer

    Nonsense.

    pCO2, pCH4, and temperature in ice cores going back 800,000 years show them joined at the hip.

    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/fig/figure-ts-1.jpeg

    http://www.eurekalert.org/multimedia/pub/8131.php?from=114124

    But sea level in the previous (Eemian) interglacial was 5-9 meters higher than today with Northern Greenland some 8C warmer.

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v493/n7433/full/nature11789.html

    If there were some tipping point where feedback from melting clathrates were positive we’d have seen it in the Eemian period ice cores.

    This also brings up a point, again, about natural variability. The Eemian interglacial through perfectly natural variation (assuming there were no SUVs 130,000 years ago) reached temperatures 8C higher and sea level 5-9 meters higher.

    Eemian maxima for temperature and sea level must, by definition, fall within range of natural variation.

    • R. Gates the Skeptical Warmist

      You’re not looking back far enough to find something close to what’s happening today. Best we currently have for a comparable time using paleoclimate data is not the Eemian but much further back– to the Pliocene. Seems most people here on Climate etc. still don’t get the wealth of data coming from Lake El’gygytgyn:

      http://en.rian.ru/world/20130509/181057231.html

      and:

      http://www.clim-past.net/full_text_search.html?q=Lake+El%E2%80%99gygytgyn

      Short of some abrupt turn around in CO2 and other GH gas levels, we’re likely headed back to Pliocene-like conditions– forget the Eemian. Such is the power of the Human Carbon Volcano.

      • David Springer

        Human Carbon Volcano spells Pliocene climatic optimum?

        Great! Ice sucks.

      • R. Gates the Skeptical Warmist

        Human Carbon Volcano spells geologically large rapid forcing with lots of carbon moving from lithosphere to atmosphere (a rate not before seen in the geological record) with unkown consequences.

        Last time this much carbon was in the atmosphere it was the Pliocene.

      • The Pliocene paradox is that temperatures were substantively higher then the present and Co2 was lower ( there is a large spread in the range of around 310-380ppm) not a good anthropocentric argument.

    • David Springer

      With my Mr. Rogers hat on I ask

      “Can you spell methanotroph?”

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

    • More dust, less sunlight, colder oceans, but more dust means that more dust falls on the oceans, which means the more iron fertilization of photosynthetic organisms there is, the higher the level of photosynthesis, so the more CO2 is converted into biomass, so more organic carbon falls to the sea bed, so the more atmospheric carbon disappears into the ocean sink, and also the wider the oxic band at the oceans surface and so more methane is oxidized on the way to the surface.
      So high dust, global cooling, low CO2 and low CH4.
      Low dust, global warming, high CO2 and high CH4.

  20. Greg Goodman

    “Nature has published a Commentary by Whiteman, Hope and Wadhams entitled Vast Costs of Arctic Change. Excerpts:”

    “An article on this paper in the Guardian includes the following reactions from climate scientists:”

    It should probably be emphasised that this was COMMENT and not give it undue credibility by refering to it as a “paper” when it was not.

    Thanks for the resume of knowledgable comments on this commentary.

  21. Actually I’m in the UK and its gone 2015 now. I can’t say I can see any difference, the cat’s outside having a pee and looks OK so we may have got away with it this time. I’ll get back to you all in an hour’s time. Phew! Next time however……….

  22. Judith:

    So, if you are not a fan of climate models, I suspect that you really will not like impact assessment models used by Wadhams et al.

    Somehow you added to you manifold other skills an ability to read my mind. :) But one thing I must say in Wadhams’ favour. Without the double implausibility you report I would not have learned so much in such a short time about methane in the Arctic or thereabouts. A very useful post on CE.

    • David Springer

      Gavin and I both knee jerked the same talking about points about hotter in the Eemian and methane spike would be apparent in ice cores.

      Gavin seems a lot more sensible than the average climate boffin. If it weren’t for his dysfunctional personality and censoring ways he might not be quite so loathesome.

    • David Springer

      For consistency’s sake should not Wm. Cannoli and Gavin Schmidt be calling for some miscreant Nature editor’s head to roll for allowing this tripe into the rag? Or is it only when it’s skeptical tripe that editors are culpable for letting it see the light of day?

      Inquiring minds need to know!

  23. Trees for Free

    Arctic time bomb (?)

    More like a Whiteman, Hope and Wadhams Credibility Time Bomb. And they just set it off under their own butts.

    Maybe as an excuse they can claim they were all knocked senseless and stupid because a large chunk of falling sky whacked them up side their empty little heads.

  24. Greg Goodman

    “As the amount of Arctic sea ice declines at an unprecedented rate….”

    maybe we should take a look at the unprecedented rate:
    http://climategrog.wordpress.com/?attachment_id=421

  25. “Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas”

    This is a nonsense. There is no greenhouse gas effect; it is a fiction.

  26. Nabil Swedan is correct. There is no credible experiment that proves that the “greenhouse gas effect” exists. The magic number of 20 times the effect for CH4 over CO2 can not be demonstrated because the GHGE can not be demonstrated by experiment.
    Here are two references that must be examined before anyone believes that
    the bull crap about the danger of the ocean melting.
    There is an experiment that proves that the Greenhouse gas effect does not exist. This experiment which has been technologically reviewed by Ph.D physicists (at least 4). Ph.D. Chemical engineers (at least 2 at last count) and others Ph. D’s in other fields The experiment is found on the web-site http:// http://www.slayingtheskydragon.com click on the blog tab then on page 3 of 12. . It is titled “The Experiment that failed which can save the world trillions-Proving the greenhouse gas effect does not exist”

    The Greenhouse Effect Explored
    Written by Carl Brehmer | 26 May 2012
    Is “Water Vapor Feedback” Positive or Negative?
    Exploiting the medium of Youtube Carl Brehmer is drawing wider attention to a fascinating experiment he performed to test the climatic impacts of water in our atmosphere.
    Carl explains, “An essential element of the “greenhouse effect” hypothesis is the positive “water vapor feedback” hypothesis. That is, if something causes an increase in the temperature this will cause an increase in the evaporation of water into water vapor.”

    Another important website is www. The Great Climate Clash.com -G3 The Greenhouse gas effect does not exist.

    • Had the infrared radiations of the greenhouse gas effect existed, we would have already captured it in our infrared telescopes. But we do not! because it does not exist.

      • Steven Mosher

        wrong part of the spectrum. IR telescopes are built the way they are because of the ghg effect.

        http://www.astro.caltech.edu/~george/ay20/ir-telescopes.pdf

        “Another problem to be overcome by ground-based
        observatories was the absorption of infrared radiation
        by gases such as water vapor and carbon dioxide in the
        Earth’s atmosphere. Fortunately, in the near-infrared
        and mid-infrared regions, from 1 to 10 µm, there are
        some clear atmospheric ‘windows’. From observatories
        on high mountain peaks, astronomers are able to use
        these ‘windows”

      • ozzieostrich

        Steven Mosher,

        It is fairly obvious that CO2 usually heats up during the day (along with the rest of the atmosphere). Your quote indicates one mechanism by which this occurs.

        It is also fairly obvious that the atmosphere (including the CO2), cools down at night.

        The fact is that the surface of the planet has cooled. It is no longer molten. It will continue to cool. CO2 does not “trap” heat. Nothing does.

        Things warm up, and subsequently cool, if they are “warmer” than their surroundings.

        Get used to it – you’ve been had!

        Live well and prosper,

        Mike Flynn.

      • Steve Mosher,

        The article that you referenced does not say that infrared telescopes are built to avoid infrared radiations of the greenhouse gas effect. The telescopes are simply located to avoid water vapor and CO2 because they absorb infrared radiations and the incoming infrared cosmic signal weakens.

    • Trees for Free

      Actually, greenhouse operators regularly use CO2 as a plant growth stimulant by pumping it into their buildings.

      Just saying.

      And the irony is magnificent.

      • Just a reality check, do they do it because plants can suck all the CO2 out of a greenhouse or because it stimulates plant growth?

    • Your expperiment measures the heat capacity of greenhouse gases and not the greenhouse effect, sorry no sale.

      The greenhouse effect does not require the greenhouse gases to get warmer.

  27. Whether or not “vast quantities of methane from Siberian hydrates” will be released as a result of human-induced global warming is anything but certain.

    Models may well predict this, but models are only as good as the assumptions that have been fed in, i.e. they are worthless as prognosticators of the future.

    But there could be an opportunity to mine the methane (as the Japanese are planning to do offshore) and either collect it and feed it into a pipeline system or by liquefaction.

    Siberia is remote, but it is certainly a much easier place to operate than offshore, especially in northern latitudes.

    Max

    • Models are missing the potential energy of the atmosphere in the energy equation, which is 50% of the energy exchange with the earth. There is no way that they can make correct projections unless it is fixed. Until then, and in the absence of correct numbers, I think we should continue to drill.

  28. Arctic summers ice-free ‘by 2013′
    “Professor Peter Wadhams from Cambridge University, UK, is an expert on Arctic ice … is in agreement with the model result of Professor Maslowski.”

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7139797.stm

    How is that 2013 arctic ice melt going?

    • With over 2/3 of the melt season behind us, here is a current image from the the Beaufort Sea at about 74.5N 142W. Something tells me “ice-free” isn’t going to happen in my lifetime.
      http://obuoy.datatransport.org/monitor#buoy7/camera

      • R. Gates the Skeptical Warmist

        Depends on how long you intend to live Bob. Your single day photograph of ice in the Arctic ocean is interesting, but to get a feel for the long-term trends, these graphs are far more revealing:

        http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/files/2012/09/naam-ice-12.jpg

        or

        http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/files/2012/09/naam-ice-031.jpg

      • R. Gates, that ‘reconstructed’ ice record is based on what exactly?

      • R. Gates,

        Why should I put any confidence in those graphs? Compare them circa 1960. The data differ by about 2 million sq. km. Who screwed up? Just one of them or both?

        At least my single day image is reality. It updates every 10 minutes, so you can watch it for the rest of the season if you wish.

      • R gates

        You will remember that I contacted julienne stroeve ( your first link) for my 1920 to 1940 melting arctic article.

        Don’t forget they can’t really tell the difference between ice, water on ice and water.

        Also remember the charts are often meteorologically not observationally based and that the 1970 charts constructed by the forerunners of cru omitted the Russian data and much else due to lack of cooperation during communist times and then the cold war and also that dmi charts treated ice melt as being finished by end August.

        That chart bears no relation to reality.Ice extent was much lower than shown during the 1920 to 1940 period, but probably not as low in 20007 and 2012

        Pity Neven was too busy to reconstruct real world ice extent of the era now we have access to so much more data. I did offer.

        Tonyb

    • Could go, maybe not

      most of the ice is in the 60% area range

      http://igloo.atmos.uiuc.edu/cgi-bin/test/print.sh?fm=07&fd=24&fy=2012&sm=07&sd=24&sy=2013

      Just a few days behind last year, could catch up could fall back.

  29. Another version of the “we are doomed unless we tax carbon” mantra.

    Only difference, as our hostess observes, is that this one is a bit more absurd than some of the others.

    Ma

  30. As we all know the residence time of methane in the biosphere is in the order of a gazillion years, rather than about 3 years.

    Geeze, if only it oxidized rapidly in the upper atmosphere or in interaction with the aquasphere.

    It is lucky that it is denser than air, if not then all the methane generated near the surface of the terrasphere would whisk its way off into the atmosphere.

    The typical concentration of methane in the upper ocean surface is about 3 nM.
    The main reason it is so low is that above the hypoxic zone it is food. Many bacteria love methane, which is why methane is part of the carbon cycle between the oxic and anoxic regions.

    We are all going to die!
    Thermogeddon is here. Its worse than we thought!
    Gaia doesn’t have a clue what to do with biological gasses!

    Can I say bullsh1t without getting banned?

    • David Springer

      Actually it’s food regardless of whether oxygen is present.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anaerobic_oxidation_of_methane

      AOM is considered to be a very important process reducing the emission of the greenhouse gas methane from the ocean into the atmosphere. It is estimated that almost 90% of all the methane that arises from marine sediments is oxidized anaerobically by this process.

      AOM was discovered in 1974 but little detail is known about the bacteria and archaeans involved especially the archaeans. A clue to the cluelessness about exotic metabolisms is the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico and no one able to say what if any microorganisms would come along and eat the hydrocarbons at great depth before it could become a problem close to the surface or on beaches.

      • I remember speaking to a pipeline guy shortly after the Exxon Valdez disaster and all the agony about the mess. I mentioned that it was all biodegradable, and he paused and a funny look came into his eye.
        =====================

      • David, I know all about the sulfate/sulphide, manganese and iron redox shunts. However, it is doubtful that any atmospheric methane is ever going to diffuse through the surface waters to the depths.

  31. This article is a fraud.

    Here is the multidecadal oscillation:

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut4gl/compress:12/detrend:0.8

    Arctic sea ice loss in the last 30-years was due to the warming phase of the AMO.

    Arctic sea ice must increase in the next 20 years during the cooling phase of the AMO.

    • R. Gates the Skeptical Warmist

      Seems the AMO is acting the strangest it has in some 1450 years, eh? Or maybe the AMO is the not the full answer to the current decline, eh?

      • k scott denison

        So R Gates, how repeatable is the climate? You seem to want the AMO to “act the same” today as 1450 years ago. So up until 1450 years ago it always acted the same? Really? And you know how?

        In case you’ve never been told, these types of statements sound absurd. They make it appear as if you believe that geologic and paleoclimatic data have high precision and accuracy.

      • The alarmists are all grasping at straws as they cling bitterly to their fears.
        And for what?
        ==========

    • Girma

      To complete your graph showing the detrended multidecadal oscillation in HadCRUT4 surface temperature anomaly, you should also show the underlying long-term trend (around 0.7C from 1850 to today).

      http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut4gl/compress:12/detrend:0.8/plot/hadcrut4gl/trend

      Max

      Conclusion: There has been a long-term warming trend of around 0.5C per century with a strong multidecadal oscillation superimposed. The much touted IPCC “poster” period starting in the 1970s is one of those cycles, which stopped early this century.

      It is NOT (as IPCC would have us believe in AR4 WG1 Ch.3, p.240) a “widely acknowledged ‘climate shift’ (e.g.,Trenberth, 1990)” or a “time (see Chapter 9) when global mean temperatures began a discernible upward trend that has been at least partly attributed to increases in greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere.”

      That’s all just IPCC “smoke and mirrors”, to make its “CAGW” sale.

  32. Judith, you comment that “Each of [Wadhams’] assumptions is highly implausible, based upon my understanding; the combination of these two assumptions into a single scenario seems impossible to me.” The other side of the scare story, the damaging economic consequences, can also be questioned. Here’s a relevant article by a generally sensible economist in today’s Australian:

    Model of a clunky subsidy system
    by: ADAM CREIGHTON The Australian July 26, 2013 12:00AM

    Climate change might not be absolute crap, as Tony Abbott once suggested, but the modelling used to justify “climate action” typically is. As pundits ponder what Australia’s carbon price will be if a local emissions trading scheme gets under way next July, it is worth remembering we have no idea how curbing carbon emissions will affect the climate, let alone the economy.

    Renowned economics professor Robert Pindyck of Massachusetts Institute of Technology has recently canvassed the value of so-called “integrated assessment models”, which attempt to calculate the optimal social price for emitting a tonne of carbon given its ultimate impact on the climate and the economy. “They are of little or no value for evaluating alternative climate-change policies” he concludes, “completely ad-hoc with no theoretical or empirical foundation.”

    The economic justification for Australia’s carbon price — be it a fixed or floating — stems from one of various IAMs conducted here and abroad. Introducing Australia’s response to climate change, the Gillard government warned that unless Australia and the world acted, average temperatures would increase across Australia by 2.2C-5C by 2070. The 2008 Garnaut review said Australia’s gross national product would be about 2 per cent lower in 2050 and about 7 per cent down by 2100 from the economic damage of unmitigated climate change.
    Statements such as these, Pindyck implies, create a “perception of knowledge and precision, but that perception is illusory and misleading”. The problem is that “climate sensitivity” — the speed and size of the response of temperatures to a doubling of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere — and the “damage function”, how the subsequent temperature changes affect the economy, are completely unknown.

    Take the first. Since 1850 the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased by about 40 per cent and will likely have doubled by 2050 unless countries change their energy habits. Science can say temperatures will increase, not when or by how much. As Pindyck observes, the “feedback loops” between CO2 and the climate are largely unknown, perhaps even unknowable. Drawing implications for economic growth — assuming we know the sensitivity — is even more heroic. The professor says “damage functions” are “completely made up”.

    “There is no economic theory that can tell us how temperature changes affect economic growth,” he argues. A little amusingly, the official 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates arose from a survey of contemporary IAMs, which now tend to cite the IPCC’s parameters as gospel. Given these difficulties, the G20′s promise at the Copenhagen Summit in 2009 to limit the rise in global temperatures to 2C is an extraordinary example of vain statist ignorance.

    On top of this, how do we value the welfare of future generations? Discounting their utility in the same way most economic models do — reflecting how individuals tend to treat their own futures — suggests inaction on climate change is the best policy. Of course, the fetish for phony precision is not unique to climate-change models but rife in economic analysis, from interest rate settings to social costs of smoking.

    Simply because modellers cannot ascertain with any accuracy how carbon should be priced doesn’t mean it should not be priced at all. Even conservative climate boffins reckon the science is well developed enough to detect a very small probability of a catastrophic rise in temperatures — about 7C-8C on average — by 2100. Pindyck, a professor famous among economics students for fleshing out the economic value of delay, argues that is enough to warrant action. As individuals and businesses insure their premises against the small probability they will burn down, countries should pay a premium against a disastrous rise in global temperatures.

    In Australia’s case, it is too bad we are spending the proceeds of our carbon tax on prosperity-sapping handouts and corporate subsidies rather than using all the money to cut less efficient taxes. That way, even if climate science turned out to be junk we would still be better off. Alternatively, we could have ploughed the permit revenues into developing an Australian nuclear industry. Is it not odd that a country with one-third of the world’s accessible uranium reserves has only one paltry nuclear reactor?

    To be sure, Canberra’s carbon tax and proposed ETS is seriously flawed, given their limited scope and the raft of accompanying anti-market subsidies, restrictions and targets. The sad part is that rather than axing the latter and using permit revenue wisely, Australia’s free-market party proposes to replace an ETS with a clunky system of feckless subsidies.

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/opinion/model-of-a-clunky-subsidy-system/story-fnc2jivw-1226685249659

    • It is clear that associated with the temperature rise of the last two centuries there has been obvious economic gains. Granted, those gains were not all due to the warming, but our contemporary group of ostrich researchers haven’t been able to find the causal connections between warming and social and economic improvement. Probably, they are afraid to find benefits. What else could explain the seemingly deliberate blindness?
      ==============

    • To rephrase my earlier comment, and basically in agreement with the thinking of prof Pindyck (his name is familiar to me from the book Dixit & Pindyck: Investement under Uncertainty on which I have based some of my lectures about 10 years ago).

      When a integrated model is built chaining together several steps, each of which is badly understood, if understood quantitatively at all, cannot end up in anything useful. Building such a model requires so many choices that the results can be anything.

      • Back in the 60′s and early 70′s biochemists thought they could model fluxes there metabolic pathways as they understood the kinetics of each step; they failed. Kacser and Burns and also Heinrich and Rapoport came up with metabolic control analysis, which is now integrated in to classical control theory.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metabolic_control_analysis

        Control theory is why enzymologists don’t construct complex computer models based on changing an single input into an integrated metabolic pathway, but do experiments instead.

  33. Let’s hope the neutral observers can get an eyeful here. Here is a patently unscientific article, seemingly created out of whole cloth, deliberately raising fear and alarm, and posing a guilt trip any early adolescent could see through?

    What is the purpose of this flailing around?
    ================

  34. Brian Adams

    Here’s the latest Arctic sea ice extent (black line.) Does it look like we are in a “death spiral?” to anyone?

    http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/clip_image019.png

    • Well I for one am wetting my knickers and don’t mind handing over my wealth, freedom and first born’s maidenhead to these ‘climate scientists’ to save me from the fires of hell on Earth.
      Wait until next week when we find out that atmospheric CO2 molecules exchange tachyon particles so that heat absorbance today heats the air in the future, which explains why we have hidden heat, a pause and why climate sensitivity appears to be lower than the 8.73 degrees it really is.

  35. Oh, those non-Kardashian models again? But even the Guardian’s nappy is dry over this lot. Maybe they’ve heard that it ‘s all happened before, with a big melty-Arctic alarm in the 1920s (just like those melty 1810s!). By the iced-up 1970s…a contrary alarm! The lesson in all this is that all trends have an end. Justin Bieber too shall pass.

    Any adults left out there? Hello? Adults?

  36. For a relative stability gauge for the layman between CO2 and CH4, try oxidizing both compounds.
    =================

  37. David Springer

    http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/07/25/arctic-methane-credibility-bomb/?_r=2

    Note Gavin Schmidt’s series of tweets making exactly the same points I did about ice cores and Eemian temperature.

    I swear to all that’s holy I did not read Gavin’s comments before making mine. It should be how any informed individual disputes the notion of runaway methane release from melting clathrates. And it should only take a moment’s reflection on it to form the rebuttal.

  38. thisisnotgoodtogo

    Does the person who wins the ice free summer game become instant guru to the stars?

  39. David Springer

    http://www.amethox.com/

    Some actual science can be found above. Anaerobic methane oxidation was discovered in 1974 and is thought to account for up to 90% of methane release from melted clathrate in ocean sediments.

    Remarkably the archaebacteria involved have not been isolated for further study.

    Life is, if nothing else, opportunistic. The bacteria and especially archaebacteria (a.k.a. extremophiles) have barely begun to be explored. And there’s even smaller forms of pseudo-life such as bacteriophages and prions whose surface has barely been scratched.

    There’s more to heaven and earth, Horatio, than is dreamed of in your philosophy.

    • “Life is, if nothing else, opportunistic.” Very, very true. There can never be an “ideal” climate or environment, any change which is detrimental to some creatures will create opportunities for others. Those species which can best adapt will thrive. We humans have always been highly adaptable and innovative, the policies proposed to resist change rather than embrace it seem designed to reduce our capacity to adapt, not enhance it. To the extent that they have slowed growth, they have already done so.

      • Faustino,

        Yes. But overall warmer is better. Life thrived when the planet was warmer than now and struggled when colder. According to AR4, WG1, Chapter 6, there was more carbon tied up in the biosphere when the planet was warmer.

        Conclusion: More life when warmer. Life prefers warmer. Warmer is better.

  40. methane is harmless:

    The good Lord made, methane to be produced as a molecule with other HEAVIER compounds TOGETHER. By itself, methane is odorless; but is very smelly, when produced. The ‘’smelly’’ bit is the organic particles, the sinker; to make it to sink in the ground. When cow / human releases methane; comes out together with 30-50 other different compounds – (depends on what the cow / human has being eating). It’s called: ”MOLECULAR ADHESION” After sinking in the ground; those organic particles disintegrate deep in the soil. Or, together with methane; get eaten

    Many times they go to Antarctic, Greenland and bring lots of lies. For you is cheaper to believe them, than to go there in person and see that they are lying. But for methane is NOT necessary – because all of you are producing it! Admit, that it smells, when fresh, is not odorless!

    Same as when the cow is belching, or releasing methane from the other end. ‘’METHANEGATE’’ is to cover up the smell. Well, unless the Green People go behind every cow, elephant, bison, sheep and instantly purify the methane = they are lying; by using methane, for destroying the grazing animals. P.s. methane produced from coal doesn’t smell; that’s where the ‘’canary in the coal-mine’’ comes from. In the coal-mine the good Lord didn’t need to invent something, to make methane to sink, because is produced in the ground. Organically produced methane above the ground, is never in a pure form. You don’t need to go and sniff the cow’s exhaust, grass clippings from the lawnmower after a week, smell same as the cows methane. Simple proof of Warmist ‘’Methanegate’’. Please read my post to see what they are really covering up; it will knock your socks off::

    Experiment: in a transparent bottle, catch some methane from cow, sheep, or your own; let it on the sunlight for few hours (as long as there is oxygen in the bottle also – to imitate atmosphere. In couple of hours that methane will turn into 2 droplets of water; magic. Methane disintegrates in less than an hour on the sunlight, doesn’t stay in the atmosphere for 10 years!!! http://globalwarmingdenier.wordpress.com/methane-ch4/

  41. Chief Hydrologist

    Methane is created in anoxic sediment and involves the conversion of organic materials biologically. Respiration in these organisms is methane rather than carbon dioxide. They are technically Archean which were associated with hot springs and volcanic vents – hence were known as extremophiles. They are in fact found everywhere oxygen is excluded – including our digestive systems giving rise to a source of great and enduring hilarity. Methane bubbles to the surface of the sediment where it forms methane clathates in the right conditions of pressure and temperature.

    Release as methane gas requires a significant change in bottom water temperature. Are we there yet?

    ‘According to the Clathrate Gun Hypothesis (Kennett et al., submitted) episodic atmospheric CH4 emissions resulting from instability of the marine sedimentary methane hydrate (clathrate) reservoir contributed significantly to the distinctive behavior of late Quaternary climate on orbital (Milankovitch) and millennial time scales. Resulting CH4 releases to the atmosphere/ocean system provided crucial amplification to “jump-start” rapid warmings at stadial and glacial terminations that were significantly reinforced by
    other greenhouse gases, especially water vapor. Collectively, these changes shifted the climate system into an interglacial/interstadial state.’ http://www.netl.doe.gov/KMD/Cds/disk10/kennett.pdf

    It probably happens all the time. The last glacial transition for instance – leading to wild fluctuations in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere not captured by the ice records.

    http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/Steinthorsdottir_CO2_stomata_2013_zps0180f088.png.html?sort=3&o=2

    Thinking it is not part of a very much wider system – or that it is predictable – is mistaken. Predicting an ice free Arctic on linear trends seems pretty optimistic as well.

    • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

      Chief Hydro said:

      ” Predicting an ice free Arctic on linear trends seems pretty optimistic as well.”

      ——
      Exactly who is doing that? There is not one model that show the decline to be linear, and only Wadhams comes even close to the actual path the sea. Ice ha taken precisely because he takes nonlinearities into consideration.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        I have told you several times now – if you are going to attempt to make a point you will need to point to your sources, construct a rational argument and not simply pull stories out of your arse.

        http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/detect/detection-images/climate-ice-seaice-extent-trend-sep12.png

        Until the so called models can model the physics of decadal and much longer variability – I will take them with a grain of salt.

      • R. Gates the Skeptical Warmist

        Chief said:

        “Until the so called models can model the physics of decadal and much longer variability – I will take them with a grain of salt.”
        _______
        You are missing the point Chief. The models have failed to predict the rapid decline in sea ice because models cannot predict nonlinear behavior brough about by the complex interact of feedbacks. Chaos is deterministic but not predictable at the bifuraction points. To further complicate the picture of why models are always wrong is natural variability. What we very likely have going on in the Arctic is some combination of nonlinear behavior from anthropogenic forcing of a chaotic system and natural variability (warm AMO?).

      • Chief Hydrologist

        ‘The climate system has jumped from one mode of operation to another in the past. We are trying to understand how the earth’s climate system is engineered, so we can understand what it takes to trigger mode switches. Until we do, we cannot make good predictions about future climate change… Over the last several hundred thousand years, climate change has come mainly in discrete jumps that appear to be related to changes in the mode of thermohaline circulation.’

        Chaos is natural variability and models lack far too much physics to be useful. Only some models are useful.

        The system is chaotic and goes well beyond either the Arctic or anthropogenic forcing.

  42. 2015 comes from projecting minimum sea-ice volume which is decreasing more sharply than area, e.g.,
    https://14adebb0-a-62cb3a1a-s-sites.googlegroups.com/site/arctischepinguin/home/piomas/grf/piomas-trnd9-1.png

    • Chief Hydrologist

      The Arctic has been ice free in the Holocene – it is not particularly interesting in itself.

      • I don’t know about that. Anyway others are disputing that 2015 is possible. The graph shows it is, which was the point.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        There are so many factors that the graph shows sfa.

  43. Methane looks bad. But for the same reason our knowledge Of CO2 proved insuffiishent, not understanding it’s excitation modes, we may have a similar problem with methane.Of course the Russians may decide that it is too valuable a fuel to let it flow to waste.

  44. The main absorption peak for methane is at a wavelength of about 3.3 microns. At this wavelength the radiant flux from the Sun is of the order of 85 times greater than that from an Earth at 15 degrees Celsius. This must result in about 85 times as much infrared radiation from the Sun, at 3.3 microns wavelength, being sent back into space by the absorption and re-radiation from methane molecules in the upper atmosphere as could be re-radiated into the lower atmosphere for infrared radiation sourced from the warmed Earth. Furthermore as the Sun’s radiation is re-emitted into space before reaching the Earth’s surface, that surface will be colder than the assumed 15 degrees Celsius and thus will release even less radiation at all wavelengths.

    To conclude, more methane in the atmosphere means a colder Earth, not hotter.

      • Basics of GHE are explained in really many places. Some of these explanations are simpler, but less correct on details, some more accurate, but also more demanding for the reader. If someone has not learned anything from any of those, it’s not likely that I could do any better. (AK made recently a comment on the same issue in different words.)

        It’s, however, funny that those who know least of physics tell, how ignorant the scientists are.

      • The above comment should be a little lower in this thread.

      • Pekka, “Basics of GHE are explained in really many places.”

        Bevan is moving a bit beyond the basics with are up/down simplifications that have to assume ideal radiant “shells” as in minimal anisotropic transfer or “scattering” if you prefer. CH4, O3, OH and others in the stratosphere and up, that ignored 20% of the atmosphere, with Brewer-Dobson circulation, refraction/defraction that adds about 1.5 hours to the “day” as twilight and absorbs about 20Wm-2 of the 75Wm-2 total SW atmospheric absorption might be called GHE 201.

    • ozzieostrich

      Bevan,

      Absolutely. And in different proportions, the other gases that comprise the atmosphere.

      Climatologists live in denial of basic physics – they deserve our compassion rather than our condemnation.

      A pity that so many resources have been diverted into such a chimera.

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

      • I wonder who lives in denial of basic physics.

      • David Springer

        Instead of drive-by snark, weasel boy, why don’t you try explaining how you think Bevan is wrong?

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Bevan seems to believe that the Earth and sun radiate at the same frequencies – and that the incoming energy is 85 times the outgoing. These are such basic misconceptions that it is surprising that anyone has much time for this.

        Mike Flynn lives in another universe and Jabberwock is as he always is.

      • David Springer

        Wrong weasel boy. I meant the fin.

        But hey, if the shoe fits.

        You hugely misread Bevan which is par for the course.

        Both the earth and the sun emit 3.3 um radiation. Not much in either case but it’s some for both. It’s on the low frequency side of the Boltzmann distribution for solar energy and the high frequency side of earth emission. The claim is that there is 85 times as much 3.3 um power in sunlight as there is in earthlight. I have no idea how accurate that is but eyeballing the chart you yourself posted one can see the solar power is the larger.

      • David Springer

        Wrong weasel boy. I meant the fin.

        And for what it’s worth the fin gets it right below while Chief Kangaroo Skippy Ellison can’t read well enough to understand what Beven quite clearly wrote.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        I must admit I paid little attention to the comment – much as I pay little attention to yours Jabberwock.

        85 times sfa is sfa as we all know. Your habitual cretinous responses to Pekka was the impetus for my response. Pekka knows 85 times more than you – oh wait – that’s sfa. Pekka knows a lot more than that.

        There are 2 CH4 peaks – one in far more energetic regions of the curve.

        You can usually count on specious reasoning if someone comes to the conclusion that methane is cooling not warming. Similarly if they invent a new physics for anything out of whole cloth. The Stefan school of atmospheric physics. You can always count on specious reasoning and abuse from the Jabberwock.

      • ozzieostrich

        Chief Hydrologist,

        I do live in a different universe. The universe of reality.

        Live well and prosper,

        Mike Flynn.

    • maksimovich

      Bevans on the right track the so called anti greenhouse effect from excess CH4 (Haze)is well known eg Titan.

      Additionally CH4 and Co2 can only coexist at specifics ratios, and we also have the problematic effects on the stratosphere (which needs to be accounted for in the model has anyone any details ?)

      • Maks, “…problematic effects on the stratosphere (which needs to be accounted for in the model has anyone any details ?)”

        It is not accounted for in the models with any accuracy. The models basically stop at 11.2 km and assume up/down radiant response from there.

      • maksimovich

        the stratospheric warming would be significant if you cannot not account for the dynamic response the model would be essentially useless.

      • The mass of the stratosphere is small and it’s basically stratified. For these reasons it’s influence on the troposphere and surface is not that great or difficult to estimate. There are complications related to dynamic mixing of stratosphere and troposphere, but that doesn’t change the overall picture.

      • Maks, “the stratospheric warming would be significant if you cannot not account for the dynamic response the model would be essentially useless.”

        Yep. Best I can tell the upper 14% of the atmosphere has roughly a 30Wm-2 SW impact, so the models are missing around 60 Wm-2 total since they like to use gross instead of net.

      • maksimovich

        The effects of methane photolysis and the subsequent organic haze would allow for absorption and remission of solar energy at that level which would in turn cool the surface,we have a very nice model planet showing this Titan.

      • Pekka, “The mass of the stratosphere is small and it’s basically stratified. For these reasons it’s influence on the troposphere and surface is not that great or difficult to estimate. ”

        That would be a simplifying ASSUMPTION. IF, water vapor feedback were 2 time CO2 forcing, it would have been a useful assumption. Its not so it isn’t.

        Most of the problem with the assumption is timing. The upper/middle atmosphere leads/lags the “surface”. Since water vapor is a “surface” response with a relatively “fixed” condensation temperature, the stratopause maintains an nice 0C, 316Wm-2 “surface” with a “sensitivity” of 0.8 C per 3.7 Wm-2 of forcing. Changes in the atmospheric chemistry in that neglected upper/middle atmosphere have a significant impact on the GHE in the dry portion of the atmosphere. There are two greenhouse effects and both are poorly modeled.

      • Capt. Dallas,

        What makes you claim that the strength of water vapor feedback has any influence on my argument?

        Timing is not important, if the whole effect is not important.

        If you have some real arguments, you must justify them better.

        Finding great relative uncertainties in something that’s very small anyway is not particularly significant.

        I have some experience in varying the atmospheric composition in calculation of the the stratospheric temperatures. The changes may be rather large in the upper stratosphere but have no effect on troposphere or the surface.

      • Pekka, “What makes you claim that the strength of water vapor feedback has any influence on my argument?” Water vapor and CH4 share portions of the spectrum. With water vapor warmer relative to CH4 in the upper atmosphere, the OLR available to CH4 would be limited by H2O. The atmosphere is not homogenized.

        “Timing is not important, if the whole effect is not important.” That would be correct. With CO2 demoted to 2nd order because it does not “force” water vapor, what is relatively important changes. Welcome to a chaotic non-linear dynamic systems.

      • Altitude profiles of concentration are different, but we are discussing details of something that’s almost zero anyway.

        I mentioned that only to tell that even that tiny amount of solar radiation is mostly absorbed somewhere in the atmosphere.

      • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

        Pekka said:

        “The mass of the stratosphere is small and it’s basically stratified. For these reasons it’s influence on the troposphere and surface is not that great or difficult to estimate.”

        ——
        Sudden stratospheric warming events have a huge influence on the troposphere and move downward from high in the statosphere over the pole. I’d be careful about making large general sweeping statements about stratospheric influences on the lower atmosphere.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        It is probably more accurate to say that the troposphere has an impact on the stratosphere in the case of SSW.

        But there are more subtle and far reaching effects of solar UV/ozone interactions modulating climate from the top down.

        e.g. http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/5/3/034008

      • I had those events in mind when I formulated my expressions. While they are strong events, I do believe that they don’t change the overall situation so much that they would invalidate the point I was trying to make.

      • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

        How so, Chief? The planetary wave that begins in the subtropics at stratospheric levels culminates in the downwelling of air from the stratosphere into the troposphere over the poles. Connected strongly to the Brewer-Dobson circulation, this entire cycle is primarily a stratospheric and even lower mesospheric phenomenon, that finally breaks down into the troposphere at the terminal stages.

      • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

        Chief said:

        “It is probably more accurate to say that the troposphere has an impact on the stratosphere in the case of SSW.”

        —–
        Certainly there is a cycle here, all dependent ultimately on the total energy of the Earth system, and of course driven by solar energy as well as gravity. In the specific case of SSW’s, we could say the troposphere affects the stratosphere which in turn effects troposphere, with the net effect that what was originally solar energy is advected at very high altitudes in the stratosphere and mesosphere from equator to the pole and then down into the troposphere. This process is all part of the Brewer-Dobson circulation and insures that the polar regions (especially the North Pole) are warmer than they would be without this large scale circulation.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        You ignore the significant point for the less. As seems fairly typical.

      • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

        The point should be that the stratosphere and troposphere can affect each other, and that cycles like these are driven by solar energy. Also of course, in he case of the Brewer-Dobson Circulation, models and observation has shown it to be affected by GH gas concentrations which of course dictate strongly the total energy being stored in the Earth system at any given time.

      • R. Gates, “Also of course, in (t)he case of the Brewer-Dobson Circulation, models and observation has shown it to be affected by GH gas concentrations which of course dictate strongly the total energy being stored in the Earth system at any given time.”

        Water vapor is the major player. Latent cooling wipes out nearly all of the WMGHE where the SST is near 26C which is a larger portion of the oceans. The main issue is reasonably determining attribution and avoiding overly confident BS like your statement. Ozone and stratospheric water vapor are the two major GHG’s involved in B-D circulation. Natural variability, MJO, QBO, ENSO, SOLAR, PDO, AMO, NAO all make contributions. Satellite data indicates that there is a longer term, decadal variation in SSW event magnitudes. ENSO btw is not a fixed metric. It shifts from East to West and in the Westerly mode increases the Tabetain Plateau influnce which Tsonis et al mentioned as a Mongolia tripole potential for the NAO. The models don’t even come close to replicating the complexity of just ENSO which currently has nina 1 through 4 regions and will likely have a 5 and 6 region within a few years.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        A whole alphabet of things with little idea of actually causes first order climate change.

        By the way – I am pretty sure that the multivariate ENSO index of Claus Wolter is a better way to go than even 6 SST ENSO regions. Where do you get this nonsense?

        ‘Here we attempt to monitor ENSO by basing the Multivariate ENSO Index (MEI) on the six main observed variables over the tropical Pacific. These six variables are: sea-level pressure (P), zonal (U) and meridional (V) components of the surface wind, sea surface temperature (S), surface air temperature (A), and total cloudiness fraction of the sky (C). ‘

        Now I am sure Brewer-Dobson is all very interesting – but unless you actually have some science that relates this to some fundamental climate variability then I am afraid it is all so ho hum. You’re probably better off thinking about oceans as fundamental drivers of climate.

        Try some actual science – quote something – link something – not just your usual blather.

    • Based on some of the other comments I respond directly to Bevan’s comment. (My earlier comment was more a reaction to Mike Flynn than to Bevan’s message.)

      1) The influence of methane on the Earth energy balance is not due to the absorption peak at 3.3 µm because that wavelength has very little role in solar radiation and even less in IR radiated from the Earth. The more important absorption/emission of methane is in the range 7-8 µm. About 0.2% of radiation from the sun has the wavelength in the interval 3.25-3.4 µm. That the corresponding share is still much smaller in IR is irrelevant as both shares are very small. Methane is not the only absorber around 3.3 µm as water vapor is also absorbing at those wavelengths.

      2) Only at extremely high altitudes in the thermosphere the collisions are rare enough to make re-emission at 3.3 µm to be significant. At lower altitudes the excitations are in almost all cases relaxed by collisions rather than re-emission. Then the rate of emission at 3.3 µm is proportional to the value of Plank’s function at that wavelength and therefore not that strong. Thermosphere is on the other hand rare enough to have little role in the balance of IR.

      More methane in the atmosphere has its main influence on temperature from tropospheric methane. The whole effect is due to the other absorption peak.

      • Pekka, “About 0.2% of radiation from the sun has the wavelength in the interval 3.25-3.4 µm.” 0.002*1361= 2.7 Wm-2. The areal difference between the mesopause and “surface” is 3.1 percent, due to the atmospheric transparency and density gradient, the effective “day” of the middle atmosphere is 1 to 2 hours longer than a “surface” day. You are on the same order of magnitude as CO2 without water vapor feedback.

        The variation in UV and near IR during the solar 11 years cycle is significant as well. Atmospheric tides would be significant. Surface tides would be significant. Second and third order effects are significant because CO2 is a second order effect. Water vapor is first order.

  45. Here is a good read. People who use environmentalism as an excuse to take us back to the dark ages are described here:

    http://responsestoliberalism-period2.wikispaces.com/Luddites

  46. Peter Wadhams, one of the authors of the study responded to the criticism of the his paper and Freedman’s article:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/capital-weather-gang/wp/2013/07/26/rebuttal-to-methane-mischief-misleading-commentary-published-in-nature/

  47. Methane built up under much more extensive areas of frozen sea and ground during the last ice age. When that ice melted, were dangerous amounts of methane released? Not that I have heard. If dangerous amounts of methane had been released, there would have been lots of publicity about this subject.

    If the authors have a model that shows that the end of the last ice wouldn’t have produced dangerous released of methane and that AGW will do so, then maybe there is something to worry about.

    • Imagined risk, low probablility. Take precautions against nightmares.
      =======================

    • David Springer

      To learn more about the risk send money.

      He could’ve tweeted his rebuttal with room to spare.

    • maksimovich

      he cites Semiletov/Shakhova but does not as these authors do not, tell you what the Ch4 isotopic ratio is.There is observation of aerobic methane production in the pacific region of the arctic waters.

  48. The North Pole is Now a Lake
    Guinness world record fame awaiting the first swimmer

    • The North Pole has been a ‘lake’ (more of a pond) for a few weeks or months every summer for years now, as the video notes.

      People have been boating there in past years to mark the ice pond’s now reliable formation.

      Though we know it was not always thus, though people have been to the Pole for so little of history, by virtue of the fact that the circumpolar peoples have had to invent new words to describe meltwater ponds on permanent ice in their far more southerly ranges, indicating this phenomenon was exceedingly rare or next-to-nonexistent before this generation.

      Do you have a map of prehistoric polar ice lakes, Tonyb?

      http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/charctic-interactive-sea-ice-graph/

      Tied for fourth lowest sea ice extent, in a three-way tie for lowest sea ice volume, the fastest one month sea ice loss for the date, and unusual Arctic cyclone activity affecting the decayed ice of the polar regions, focus just on the lake too trivializes what’s happening in a region the size of the Arctic Ocean.

      And at the same time, in the Antarctic the increasing rate of loss from the continent across the southern seas reflected in the increase extent of sea surface flow sourced on land is even more compelling evidence of Unnatural Normalized Trend in Climate.

      • BartR

        I’m glad you raised this as these ‘lakes’ have been known about for years.as I noted in my recent article as follows;

        ‘This was noted by the author in the library of the Scott Polar institute in Cambridge and has parallels in one of the news items previously quoted;

        ‘Observational data of the drifting station 1950-51-by M Somov -Volume 1 of 3 of this Russian North pole station on an ice floe.’

        Middle of June onwards ‘the melting of the snow and ice took place very quickly although the air temperature remained close to freezing’
        ‘the sun shone…could walk about without a coat…some even tried to get a sun tan.’

        ‘because of the thaw an enormous amount of water accumulated on the ice’

        ‘walking was only possible if one wore high rubber boots reaching above the knees’ (because of the water sitting on the ice.
        ‘many problems because of the thawing.’

        The book described how later in the season some high spots became dry and these were little hillocks in a sea of icy water sitting on solid ice. This caused me to ask the following question of NSIDC;

        “ …..how did pre satellite researchers estimating sea ice extent tell the difference between water, water floating on ice, and solid ice, and how can satellites differentiate between the three states? I was struck by Russian reports from the 1950’s at The Scott Polar institute in Cambridge when staff at the floating research stations commented about using Wellington boots in order to walk around the station, and how little dry ice islands eventually formed by the end of the summer surrounded by water on top of ice.”

        I received the following reply from Julienne Stroeve ;(reproduced with permission)

        “ … using passive microwave data it is very easy to tell the difference between ice and water as the dielectric constant differs quite a bit and this is reflected in large differences in the microwave emission. The main advantage of using passive microwave is that it can see the ice even if it’s cloudy or dark. There is a problem however in summer when melt ponds form on the ice since the sea ice algorithms then underestimate how much ice there really is (they think it’s open water).

        That’s one reason why we focus on extent rather than true ice area for the NSIDC sea ice news and analysis web site.

        Visible and thermal imagery provides higher spatial resolution but is often hampered by clouds. Trying to do this work using earlier visible and thermal imagery requires the scientists to go through each image and manually filter out the clouds and determine where the ice is.”

        tonyb

    • ‘walking was only possible if one wore high rubber boots reaching above the knees’ (because of the water sitting on the ice.”

      Hi Tony
      The article accompanying the video said that currently the water depth is around 30 cm, which is in line with your quote.
      Ergo: nothing new, it was seen before; Arctic ice is just following its natural variability.

      • Vuk

        Rarely anything new in climate.

        One big trouble is that we have great difficulty in even defining the meaning of ice as indicated by julienne stroeve

        Tonyb

  49. Pingback: Arctic Ice Scare — Climate Price Tag Claim Melts Under Scrutiny

  50. double posting same comment very appropriate here from the expert
    An interesting quote from Neven on the weather for future reference
    “That’s 10 days from now. The forecast will change.”

    Posted by: Neven | July 24, 2013 at 13:38

  51. One thing I note is the relative lack of disambiguation between deep ocean methane sources and surface permafrost methane sources.

    Those are far more certain to release methane at an increased rate.

  52. Regarding JC’s two points:
    a) The Arctic is already in a death spiral.
    http://www.wunderground.com/earth-day/2013/stu-ostro-my-climate-change

    b) The authors did not limit their analysis to one, single decade scenario.
    “The research also explored the impact of a number of later, longer-lasting or smaller pulses of methane, and the authors write that, in all these cases, the economic cost for physical changes to the Arctic is “steep”, with developing nations bearing 80% of the cost through extreme weather, poorer health and damaged agriculture.”
    – See more at: http://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/cost-of-arctic-methane-release-could-be-size-of-global-economy-warn-experts#sthash.W9YB4m2g.dpuf

    • There is nothing implausible about dark water absorbing more sunlight energy than ice, and there is nothing implausible about more energy resulting in warmer temperatures.

  53. Scientists in Japan and the U.S. say they are moving closer to tapping a new source of energy: methane hydrate, a crystalline form of natural gas found in Arctic permafrost and at the bottom of oceans.
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324694904578600073042194096.html

  54. Pingback: Weekly Climate and Energy news Roundup | Watts Up With That?

  55. Pingback: Better news coverage of climate change. Our institutions still function! | Fabius Maximus

  56. http://judithcurry.com/2013/07/25/arctic-time-bomb/#more-12300

    I appreciate your elucidation of this topic and am marking it. I have materials dating from five or six years ago which predicted that this summer will be the benchmark year for the complete disappearance of Arctic ice. (It’s like prophecies for the year which is the numeric equivalent to 666(3).) CH4 is an odd one. On one website blog, I recall using “The Peculiarity of Methane” as my user name.

  57. Pingback: The great Arctic methane scare, again | wryheat

  58. Thanks for re-linking, JDH; well worth reading. Great name ‘Wryheat’.
    ==============