That ‘Methane Time Bomb’ now lurks behind dams

Dam at Volchaya river (Karelian Isthmus)

Dam at Volchaya river (Karelian Isthmus) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From the American Chemical Society.

I wonder if they studied how much methane comes from sediment loads dropped by rivers naturally and compared them? The Mississippi Delta alone must be a terrible offender.

Sediment trapped behind dams makes them ‘hot spots’ for greenhouse gas emissions

With the “green” reputation of large hydroelectric dams already in question, scientists are reporting that millions of smaller dams on rivers around the world make an important contribution to the greenhouse gases linked to global climate change. Their study, showing that more methane than previously believed bubbles out of the water behind small dams, appears in ACS’ journal Environmental Science & Technology.

Andreas Maeck and colleagues point out that the large reservoirs of water behind the world’s 50,000 large dams are a known source of methane. Like carbon dioxide, methane is one of the greenhouse gases, which trap heat near Earth’s surface and contribute to global warming. Methane, however, has a warming effect 25 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. The methane comes from organic matter in the sediments that accumulate behind dams.

That knowledge led to questions about hydroelectric power’s image as a green and nonpolluting energy source. Maeck’s team decided to take a look at methane releases from the water impoundments behind smaller dams that store water less than 50 feet deep.

They describe analysis of methane release from water impounded behind six small dams on a European river. “Our results suggest that sedimentation-driven methane emissions from dammed river hot spot sites can potentially increase global freshwater emissions by up to 7 percent,” said the report. It noted that such emissions are likely to increase due to a boom in dam construction fostered by the quest for new energy sources and water shortages.

###

The authors acknowledge funding from the German Research Foundation.

The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With more than 163,000 members, ACS is the world’s largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

See also:

An alarmist prediction so bad, even Gavin Schmidt thinks it is implausible

and

An alarmist prediction so bad, even Gavin Schmidt thinks it is implausible

Oh, and this methane (CH4) projection versus reality from the IPCC AR5:

IPCC_AR5_draft_fig1-7_methane

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72 thoughts on “That ‘Methane Time Bomb’ now lurks behind dams

  1. Snork… another miserable prediction failure.

    According to the Scientific method, hypotheses whose predictions fail to come to pass are to be revised or rejected.

    Yet nothing seems to have improved moving from one AR to the next.
    Changed, yes, but not improved.

  2. Do they think that bacteria don’t eat that sediment if it had continued on down the river? Maybe they just haven’t figured out how to measure methane emitted from moving water, so they ignore it.

  3. Igor Semiletov has responded to Gavin here:

    http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2017089/arctic_methane_catastrophe_scenario_is_based_on_new_empirical_observations.html

    in it he says, “Yet in my interview with Prof Peter Wadhams, co-author of the Nature study and head of Polar ocean physics at Cambridge University, he told me that the scientists who rejected his scenario as implausible were simply unacquainted with the unique dynamics of the East Siberian Arctic Shelf, the nature of permafrost melting there, and its relationship to ongoing releases of methane in recent years which have been wholly unexpected within established models based on reconstructions of Earth’s historical climate:

    “Those who understand Arctic seabed geology and the oceanography of water column warming from ice retreat do not say that this is a low probability event. I think one should trust those who know about a subject rather than those who don’t. As far as I’m concerned, the experts in this area are the people who have been actively working on the seabed conditions in the East Siberian Sea in summer during the past few summers where the ice cover has disappeared and the water has warmed. The rapid disappearance of offshore permafrost through water heating is a unique phenomenon, so clearly no ‘expert’ would have found a mechanism elsewhere to compare with this… I think that most Arctic specialists would agree that this scenario is plausible.”

    ————–

    in your article you mention the mighty Mississippi.

    The Eastern Siberian Arctic Shelf has 3 main rivers, all feeding sediments that are riche in permafrost laden with trapped carbon, deposited into the ESAS under the ice and kept at or very close to freezing.

    The sediment layer, put in place since the glaciers melted at the beginning of the Holocene is now over 150 feet deep, full of methane and warming from exposure to sunlight and a warming ocean current.

    At this point it should be stated that, even if the probability is low, this is a clear and present danger.

  4. Sorry, continued. . .

    One of those Siberian rivers, the LENA is 7% larger than the Mississippi in flow rate, The OB river has a drainage basin second only to the Amazon and all three of these rivers have produced the largest and longest lasting (due to restricted current flow rates previously under the ice) sediment strata in very shallow waters anywhere in the world.

  5. So will environmental activists now oppose rather than protect wetlands? What better way to restrict methane than to pave over bogs, swamps & marshes?

  6. jai mitchell says:
    July 31, 2013 at 10:58 am

    Please explain why the clear & present danger exists now, yet the “danger” didn’t occur during the prior Holocene intervals lasting longer & warmer than now, let alone the Eemian & previous interglacials so much hotter for so much longer than our present one. Thanks.

  7. “With the “green” reputation of large hydroelectric dams already in question, scientists are reporting that millions of smaller dams on rivers around the world make an important contribution to the greenhouse gases linked to global climate change.”

    Over the years, hydroelectric power has gone from the darling of the greens to a villain that must be eradicated. That dams cut off entire watersheds to fish migrating upstream, that dams shred fish migrating downstream, that dams damage a river’s riparian zone and floodplain morphology and vegetation by manipulating the natural hydrograph – these things were all known or easily predictable when the first dams were being erected. Only a hundred years later do people find they care enough about these things that they are willing to do anything – including telling these “global warming” lies – to justify removing dams from the power grid.

    These evil dams, they demand be replaced with holy windfarms. Windfarms that, as they are being erected, are known to shred migrating birds, disrupt local temperature and rainfall, fill the environment with infrasound, sully landscapes with their sheer numbers (let alone the stroboscopic light pollution), and fail to produce anywhere near the amount of power they are advertised to provide. What lies will their children tell to justify tearing down the windfarms in favor of solar plantations, while fossil fuel continues to drive the world?

  8. Wouldn’t releasing water from the bottom of the dam flush this out? The dam at the west end of Lake Powell does a sediment flush annually. Another moot ‘clear and present danger’?

  9. Every government researcher on the planet who works with a 3 atom or more molecule, i.e. a molecule that absorbs and re-emits LWIR, tries the CO2AGW meme to get funding.

    While I understand the greed, I am by now of the opinion that all of them are scoundrels.

  10. Anytime you take a fast-moving water source and replace a section of it with a slow moving reservoir, you will get a local increase in methane production. The organic material in the sediment will break down differently depending on the quantity of oxygen available, and in low-oxygen environments (such as, at the bottom of a reservoir), it will anaerobically produce methane. This is well established.
    However, what matters on this study is whether the insertion of a dam, which stops the flow of sediment down the river, creates a local increase that is greater than the non-local decrease due to less sediment farther down the stream/river. The process of water flowing and pulling sediment with it will probably be significantly reduced with the dam, as small dams provide an effective first line of flood magnitude reduction, and floods are a major cause of river-borne sediment. On the other hand, with the shallow stream/river flowing freely, some of that organic sediment will break down aerobically and not end up as methane, reducing the amount of methane produced per unit of sediment.
    Unless that trade-off is evaluated, this is a narrow slice of a complex picture, with the world being no better informed about the consequences of the small dams as a result.

  11. This is an actual letter sent to a man named Ryan DeVries regarding a pond on his property.
    It was sent by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Quality, State of Pennsylvania .
    This guy’s response is hilarious, but read The State’s letter before you get to the response letter.

    State of Pennsylvania ‘s letter to Mr. DeVries:
    SUBJECT: DEQ File No.97-59-0023; T11N; R10W, Sec 20; Lycoming County

    Dear Mr. DeVries:

    It has come to the attention of the Department of Environmental Quality that there has been recent unauthorized activity on the above referenced parcel of property. You have been certified as the legal landowner and/or contractor who did the following unauthorized activity:

    Construction and maintenance of two wood debris dams across the outlet stream of Spring Pond.

    A permit must be issued prior to the start of this type of activity.. A review of the Department’s files shows that no permits have been issued Therefore, the Department has determined that this activity is in violation of Part 301, Inland Lakes and Streams, of the Natural Resource and Environmental Protection Act, Act 451 of the Public Acts of 1994, being sections 324.30101 to 324.30113 of the Pennsylvania Compiled Laws, annotated.

    The Department has been informed that one or both of the dams partially failed during a recent rain event, causing debris and flooding at downstream locations.. We find that dams of this nature are inherently hazardous and cannot be permitted. The Department therefore orders you to cease and desist all activities at this location, and to restore the stream to a free-flow condition by removing all wood and brush forming the dams from the stream channel. All restoration work shall be completed no later than January 31, 2010.

    Please notify this office when the restoration has been completed so that a follow-up site inspection may be scheduled by our staff. Failure to comply with this request or any further unauthorized activity on the site may result in this case being referred for elevated enforcement action..

    We anticipate and would appreciate your full cooperation in this matter. Please feel free to contact me at this office if you have any questions.

    Sincerely,
    David L. Price
    District Representative and Water Management Division.

    Here is the actual response sent back by Mr. DeVries:

    Re: DEQ File No.. 97-59-0023; T11N; R10W, Sec. 20; Lycoming County

    Dear Mr..Price,

    Your certified letter dated 11/17/09 has been handed to me. I am the legal landowner but not the Contractor at 2088 Dagget Lane , Trout Run, Pennsylvania .

    A couple of beavers are in the (State unauthorized) process of constructing and maintaining two wood ‘debris’ dams across the outlet stream of my Spring Pond. While I did not pay for, authorize, nor supervise their dam project, I think they would be highly offended that you call their skillful use of natures building materials ‘debris.’

    I would like to challenge your department to attempt to emulate their dam project any time and/or any place you choose. I believe I can safely state there is no way you could ever match their dam skills, their dam resourcefulness, their dam ingenuity, their dam persistence, their dam determination and/or their dam work ethic.

    These are the beavers/contractors you are seeking. As to your request, I do not think the beavers are aware that they must first fill out a dam permit prior to the start of this type of dam activity.

    My first dam question to you is:
    (1) Are you trying to discriminate against my Spring Pond Beavers, or
    (2) do you require all beavers throughout this State to conform to said dam request?

    If you are not discriminating against these particular beavers, through the Freedom of Information Act, I request completed copies of all those other applicable beaver dam permits that have been issued. (Perhaps we will see if there really is a dam violation of Part 301, Inland Lakes and Streams, of the Natural Resource and Environmental Protection Act, Act 451 of the Public Acts of 1994, being sections 324.30101 to 324.30113 of the Pennsylvania Compiled Laws, annotated.)

    I have several dam concerns. My first dam concern is, aren’t the beavers entitled to legal representation? The Spring Pond Beavers are financially destitute and are unable to pay for said representation — so the State will have to provide them with a dam lawyer.

    The Department’s dam concern that either one or both of the dams failed during a recent rain event, causing flooding, is proof that this is a natural occurrence, which the Department is required to protect. In other words, we should leave the Spring Pond Beavers alone rather than harassing them and calling them dam names.

    If you want the damed stream ‘restored’ to a dam free-flow condition please contact the beavers — but if you are going to arrest them, they obviously did not pay any attention to your dam letter, they being unable to read English.

    In my humble opinion, the Spring Pond Beavers have a right to build their unauthorized dams as long as the sky is blue, the grass is green and water flows downstream. They have more dam rights than I do to live and enjoy Spring Pond. If the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection lives up to its name, it should protect the natural resources (Beavers) and the environment (Beavers’ Dams).

    So, as far as the beavers and I are concerned, this dam case can be referred for more elevated enforcement action right now. Why wait until 1/31/2010? The Spring Pond Beavers may be under the dam ice by then and there will be no way for you or your dam staff to contact/harass them.

    In conclusion, I would like to bring to your attention to a real environmental quality, health, problem in the area It is the bears! Bears are actually defecating in our woods. I definitely believe you should be persecuting the defecating bears and leave the beavers alone. If you are going to investigate the beaver dam, watch your dam step! The bears are not careful where they dump!

    Being unable to comply with your dam request, and being unable to contact you on your dam answering machine, I am sending this response to your dam office.

    THANK YOU,

    RYAN DEVRIES & THE DAM BEAVERS

  12. It appears to me that if these reservoirs of methane are such ticking timebombs we should be mining them for the methane so we can safely contain it or use known thermal processes to convert it to a less deadly (GHG) form.

  13. jai mitchell says:
    July 31, 2013 at 10:58 am

    jai, have you taken a look at the units of the methane graph above. It is under 2 ppm and is going nowhere fast. Okay, even though its an illegitimate study, lets add 7% and we see it still is below 2 ppm. In the case of the methane in sediments behind the dams, were it not stopped there, it would continue downstream and deposit in a lake or the ocean where it would simply give off methane there. Think of the Mississippi delta – an enormous deposit of mud and organic material – its swamps are pretty gassy.

    I know you are fairly immovable at this time from your position on the CO2 scare science, but you seem to me to be an intelligent person and can see through the ‘dam’ dangers of methane. What doesn’t look good for the mainstream thinker and skeptic alike, is to accept everything, no matter how implausible, just because it supports the meme of one side or the other. Gavin Schmidt was praised here for this reason on the Arctic methane scare story, not because we think he has abandoned his very strong CO2 climate control position, but because he was not prepared to accept something preposterous just because it adds to the GHG story (you probably have no idea how rare is the criticism from your camp of partisans who have it grossly wrong – Gavin’s criticism was noteworthy for this reason). It’s really okay to criticize your own side, too. Here on WUWT we rip apart skeptic partisans who say illogical or insignificant things (or heaven forbid, stupid things). No one is safe here. Even the wisest among us, for example Willis Eschenbach, Anthony Watts and many others have had strips taken off them on many occasions by skeptics here. Also witness the Guardian columnist on environment who blew everyone away with uncharacteristic praises of Anthony Watts and WUWT for taking on the ultra anti CAGW folks at Principia Scientific International and doing a Facebook experiment to prove them wrong.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/07/30/im-gobsmacked/

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/tag/principia-scientific-international/

  14. milodonharlani

    The methane sediments began to be deposited around that time. before that the area was above water.

  15. Another Oh?

    With all of the impoundments and other drainage obstacles being removed yearly; why did they have to rely upon some sediment methane releases in Europe? They could’ve tested the silt sediments directly here..

    It’s also curious that they’re claiming the “…Maeck’s team decided to take a look at methane releases from the water impoundments behind smaller dams that store water less than 50 feet deep…” is an abnormal methane release? The only thing abnormal about the methane is that dams cause debris to settle behind the dam. In a natural process, these same debris and sediments would settle elsewhere in the drainage’s slow waters and then release methane there. With the end result of this study only dealing with a concentration point in the drainage, not an unusual methane source nor unusual amounts of methane.

    Many impoundments that release water over the dam’s top also build up quite a lot of hydrogen sulfide (rotten eggs which is also the main odor of swamps and estuary bottom exposed during low tide).

  16. jai mitchell says:
    July 31, 2013 at 12:09 pm
    milodonharlani

    The methane sediments began to be deposited around that time. before that the area was above water.

    That particular area may have been above water at that time, but those *methane sediments* were being deposited somewhere…milodonharlani’s question still requires an answer.

  17. Geomicrobiology of marine sediment containing methane
    Marine sediments contain an abundance of methane that is biologically produced and plays a significant role in the global carbon cycle. Microbes responsible for the carbon cycle in marine sediments, and the processes that they carry out, need to be characterized in order to fully understand the role of this large methane reservoir in the global carbon cycle.

    http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/xmlui/handle/1957/25778

  18. Methane production and consumption in anoxic marine sediments
    The production of methane in anoxic environments can lead to significant accumulations of this gas in appropriate marine sediments. However, the uniformly low methane concentrations in marine, anoxic, sulfate-reducing sea water and sediments represents a balance between production by methanogenic bacteria and consumption by sulfate-reducing bacteria. The primary sink for anaerobically generated methane in marine sediments is sulfate reduction, not aerobic oxidation.

    http://geology.gsapubs.org/content/4/5/297.abstract

  19. So instead of bubbling out of the sea, as in yesteryear, it now bubbles out of the rivers.

    And someone writes scary research on this; you just could not make it up.

  20. So, was the Medieval Warm Period caused by the increased number of monasteries in Europe, each of which built dams to create their fishponds? That would mean that the Reformation and the dissolution of the monasteries caused the Little Ice Age.

    Where do I apply for my research grant?

  21. What about all the storm water retention ponds that are mandated in new subdivisions. Not only do they collect organic sediment but all the oils off cars and any other matter of runoff. I’m sure methane production is quite rapid in these as well as mercury production, H2S, etc. Of course SOP is to clean these out every 20 or 30 years….that is until a rare spiny turtle or some exotic toad or plant takes root then all bets are off. Unintended consequences….what do you mean by that? ;-)

  22. It is obvious that the real problem isn’t the PPM in the atmosphere, it is the methane acidification of the dam lake.

    If the dam acidification goes any higher, those dam snails won’t be able to make their shells and the whole dam ecosystem will fail. Furthermore, the acidification will eat away at the dam walls, causing the dam to fail, releasing instant and catastrophic amounts of methane to be released, and the whole dam atmosphere will be polluted.

    We have to act right now on this dam problem!!

  23. RE:Mike Smith says:
    July 31, 2013 at 11:37 am

    Thanks for sharing that. It made my day!

    RE: jai mitchell says:
    July 31, 2013 at 12:09 pm
    “The methane sediments began to be deposited around that time. before that the area was above water….”

    Sorry, but I can match you link for link with evidence that the arctic was more ice free than it is today as recently as a thousand years ago, when the Vikings settled Greenland. Back around 6000 years ago the arctic sea was not only ice free, but higher, and made wave-washed arctic beaches above the current sea level that geologists can show you, if you bother to look. Both these factors throw a wrench in your calculations of methane building up without being disturbed, until now. The fact is, there were plenty of disruptions.

  24. before the area was inundated with water it was frozen solid up to and most likely sometime after the beginning of the Holocene, only after that was permafrost eroded away into the river deltas below the permanent sea ice, and this process continued through the last 10,000 years.

    Gary Pearse,

    Thank you for your kind words. However, I am not hear to exchange compliments.

    I am here to share with you something that should be inherently obvious.

    You say that Gavin was praised here because he wasn’t ready to accept the possibility that something “preposterous” could happen.

    1. In that single statement is the crux of your challenged position in this field of science.

    a) That Gavin wasn’t ready to accept the possibility that something “preposterous” could happen, when he actually only stated that it was highly unlikely.

    and

    b) That anyone here can possibly determine that the release of methane from the ESAS sedimentary layers after being covered with sea ice in a below freezing environment for thousands of years CANNOT POSSIBLY HAPPEN, even though the 3 main scientists in the world who actually spend their summers AND winters up there for the last decade CAN’T POSSIBLY TELL US THAT IT IS A POSSIBILITY.

    This indicates an anti-science basis for a belief that is either based in not knowing the science or not caring about the science.

    Face it Gary, the vast amount of opposition to the concept of global warming is based on an irrational fear that those who promote the science of global warming are actually promoting socialism and wealth redistribution which must be fought at any price, regardless of the actual science.

    in other words, this isn’t a scientific argument it is an ideological one. With an almost pathological disregard for the consequences.

    or, in other words, if you or I or anyone else was speaking at the Heartland conference and asked the audience,

    “If global warming actually WAS happening and the ONLY solution was a communal effort similar to a WWII wartime mobilization with appropriated/contracted production combined with increased tax rates and windfall profit taxes, would you be opposed to those actions even if not doing them meant that future generations of Americans would suffer and die?”

    upon asking that question, how many honest answers do you suppose would be “Yes, I would want those actions to happen, if Global warming was real”?

  25. Wonderstump Jai sez:

    July 31, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    milodonharlani

    The methane sediments began to be deposited around that time. before that the area was above water.

    Do you imagine before the dams existed that methane soaked silt slipped between legs of infinitely stacked turtles and disappeared into the dark world below? River deposits have always gone somewhere and will always go somewhere. Much of modern Arizona is sitting at the bottom of the Sea of Cortez at this moment. The soil of eastern Washington State is sitting at the bottom of the Pacific ocean thanks to multiple glacial dam bursts that left Portlandia, Oregon under 300′ of fresh glacial lake water. All of the midwest silt flows down the Mississippi river and creates land fill for New Orleans’s leaky dikes and which probably gives much of NO its distinct stink. Care to wonder where the headwaters of the Red River end up?

  26. Mike Smith

    You’re welcome.
    The current temperatures are far higher than the MWA and basically tied with the Minoan Warming Period.

    As far as the sea ice that was existing over the ESAS, sure, fine, show me a link to a peer reviewed study that shows that this area was ice free during this period. I’d love to see it.

  27. dp

    the simple fact is that they have taken direct core samples of the sedimentary deposits and found 1,000 GT of methane. I don’t know why you think talking about the sea of cortez has anything to do with it? are you feeling ok???

  28. oh, I see, you thought we were talking about deposits behind dams. no, we are talking about the Eastern Siberian Arctic Shelf and the methane rich sedimentary drape produced by the Lena, OB and other rivers in the area.

  29. I just found this video, interview with Natalia Shakhova regarding their findings.

    definitely worth watching.

  30. Will these guys ever stop looking for the bogey man under their beds to blame so that they can rage and take more freedoms from people..?

    Most people who know about how the methane got their in the first place understand that microbes cause it and then they are followed by microbes that eat it…

  31. Damn you jai mitchell. I have asked you here to explain what happened to the methane. 1,000 years of ice free Arctic summers did not lead to the destruction of the biosphere. Negative feedbacks.

  32. freddy says: @ July 31, 2013 at 11:09 am

    Does that mean I can blow up any Beaver dam I come across?
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Please Please DO, I have a couple that need blowing.

    What is even more amusing is the near by city has a problem with Giardiasis (beaver fever) and takes their city water just down stream from where my beaver pond water enters the river. I asked the city if they wanted to test the beaver on my land but they declined saying they already knew the beaver were infected. This of course never makes it into the news or into discussions at town hall meetings.

    The blackout is so complete that a friend after months of doctor’s visits finally had to send fecal samples from her toddler to her vet to get a positive diagnosis. When the authorities found out she was threated with criminal proceedings. (The newspapers refused to print her story of course.)

    Swamps and beaver are sacred of course so it won’t do to tell let the public know that a disease immune to public water treatment is carried by those cute little beavers… And you though polar bear mania was bad.

    (I have well water and don’t drink city water.)

  33. jai mitchell says:
    July 31, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    milodonharlani

    The methane sediments began to be deposited around that time. before that the area was above water.
    ——————-

    “Around that time”. Around what time do you refer?

    During the cyclic Pleistocene glaciations, the continental shelf off Siberia has been alternately under water, dry land & under ice for the past 2.4 million years, before which time, ie during the Pliocene, it was mainly under water. I’ve previously posted dating for permafrost, which applies to offshore buried hydrates as well.

    jai mitchell says:
    July 31, 2013 at 3:42 pm

    Mike Smith

    You’re welcome.
    The current temperatures are far higher than the MWA and basically tied with the Minoan Warming Period.
    ————————–

    This is so false as to be a blatant lie. Current temperatures in the Arctic & just about everywhere else are lower than in the Medieval Warm Period, the Roman Warm Period, the Minoan Warm Period & especially the Holocene Climatic Optimum. Proxy data show this observation to be what in science is known as a fact.

    If you really think that you have evidence for the Modern Warm Period’s being far hotter than these earlier warm periods, then by all means, please trot it out. If not, then kindly quit spewing glaring falsehoods.

  34. Richard M says:
    July 31, 2013 at 2:19 pm
    I can see a new WWF t-shirt … “Save the planet, kill a beaver.”
    *********************************************

    Richard

    It’s been done. However, the T-shirt slogan was a bit different. It was: “save a tree, eat a beaver.”

  35. Jimbo

    and yet we are basically tied with 2009 and 2010 with a very high likelihood that we will pass the 2007 minimum values, when the air has been absolutely frigid due to the collapse of the jet stream.

  36. milodonharlani

    This is so false as to be a blatant lie. Current temperatures in the Arctic & just about everywhere else are lower than in the Medieval Warm Period, the Roman Warm Period, the Minoan Warm Period & especially the Holocene Climatic Optimum. Proxy data show this observation to be what in science is known as a fact.

    proof??? because the proxy data I have seen shows significantly lower globally averaged temperatures and even comparatively identical current temperatures to both the Minoan warm and the Holocene optimum.

  37. Beaver fever is a parasitic disease caused by the flagellate protozoan Giardia lamblia organism. Any modern day water treatment plant should be remove/kill this parasite from the water. That being said major reservoir hosts for the parasite include beavers, dogs, cats, horses, humans, cattle and birds, So maybe Beaver fever is more of a Fido fever.

  38. Maybe we should start drilling and “fracking” those dam sediments (along with the Lena, Ob, Yenesei, and Lake Baikal, to settle poor old Jai down), burn the CH4, thus reducing it to poor old CO2, which doesn’t do a dam thing.

  39. jai mitchell says:
    July 31, 2013 at 3:57 pm
    **************************************
    The current warming is the least of the five warming periods of the past 10,000 years, and all the recent warming periods have not reached the warmth of the Eemian 125,000 years ago. The first and warmest period of the Holocene, the Climactic Optimum, covered 8,000 to 5,000 years ago. The less warm Minoan followed, then the cooler Roman, then the Medieval Warm Period (850 to 1350 AD, and now the least warm period, the current warming, which followed the coldest period of the last 10,000 years, the Little Ice Age. The Earth has been gradually cooling since the height of the Holocene Climatic Optimum.
    Since sea levels have been higher during the last 10,000 years several times, including during the Holocene Climatic Optimum, there have been ample opportunities for “catastrophic” methane releases, and none occurred. None occurred during the even warmer Eemian either. In fact, the past million years have seen 100,000 -year glacial periods alternating with 10,000-year interglacials. Warming during the interglacials never produced run-away warming, proof of which is that each was soon followed by much longer glacial periods, which began even as CO2 released from the warming oceans was at its peak.
    So to recap, warming began each time when CO2 was lowest, and cooling began each time when CO2 was at its comparative highest. The complexity of natural climate change trumps the simplicity of a CO2 driven, now falsified by observations, hypothesis. Alarmists desperately need a new hypothesis, one that explains how heat allegedly “sequestered” in the ocean can be causing changes attributed to atmospheric warming during a 16-year period with no significant warming. The rumored increase in ocean temperatures cannot even be measured with precision with today’s technology, and its existence is an act of faith bordering on religious fervor to answer the question: Where’s the heat?
    If it’s hiding in the oceans now, what was different during the warmer Eemian, and why did such heat give way to cold? It’s a fundamental mystery alarmists show no signs of solving.

  40. Good grief. Guess not many folks have walked in the woods in Canada in west coast rain forests or boreal forests or any other lowlands and watched the gases bubbling out of the natural impoundments. The only places I haven’t seen this is in high mountain glacial fed lakes. Elsewhere, all across Canada, the ponds “boil”. I have an aerated fish pond next to my house. Even it produces gas from decaying sediments. What rot.

    And to Tim – there are/were lots of water treatment plants with coarse filtration or insufficient disinfection contact time that did not remove Giardia, and many that do remove Giardia can become overloaded. And even those that take out Giardia may not remove Cryptosporidium. Most updated plants are good, but I suspect many are not. However as plants are upgraded to membrane filtration, the problems are usually resolved. (I have been out of the design loop for many years so I may not be up to date, but I still see warnings being posted.)

    However, “Beaver Fever” can originate from other vectors besides the municipal water supply.

    Dam beavers. Dam methane. What’s old is new again. I worked on both these issues 40 years ago.

  41. Jai,
    Here is the phase diagram showing the stability zone for methane hydrates:
    youtube – Cold Seeps and Methane Hydrates
    At 3:15 in the clip there is a global distribution map. Note the presence of methane ice in tropical/equatorial regions. If the tropical hydrates fail to alleviate your concerns about polar hydrate stability, watch the clip from start to finish, noting the presence of lifeforms feasting on (and in) the methane ice.
    An Earth without hydrocarbon powered microbes would be very different. The atmosphere might be orange, like that of Titan, and the oceans probably couldn’t support photosynthesis:, because
    “That the globe is not swamped with oil is testament to the efficiency and versatility of the networks of microorganisms that degrade hydrocarbons…”

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16489346

    The importance of methanotrophs is grotesquely underestimated/neglected in biology, evolution, and in climate “science.” But when ignorance is alarming…it is jolly to be wise. :)

  42. @Khwarizmi says:
    July 31, 2013 at 8:34 pm: That is fascinating. Nothing that can be converted to energy is wasted. What a superbly efficient world we live in. Thanks.

  43. I see that anything jai mitchell has an emotional reaction against anything he presumes is “a blatant lie”. He gives no proof whatever that anything is a “lie”, only his baseless opinion.

    That is typical of the religious cult of runaway global warming acolytes. Its adherents do not need any scientific evidence, they only need their inner ‘feelings’, which they presume are required to be shared by one and all.

    Could jai mitchell and his fellow acolytes be any less credible? Planet Earth is falsifying everything they believe in. This is the internet’s “Best Science” site, not jai mitchell’s wild-eyed Congregationalist feel-good ‘The End Is Nigh’ doom & gloom climastrology prophesy blog. Facts are necessary here, not emotional opinions.

  44. Wayne Delbeke says:
    I have an aerated fish pond next to my house. Even it produces gas from decaying sediments. What rot.
    = = = = =
    All methane-producing microbes (methanogens) are anaerobes – oxygen is their poison. So the gas from your pond probably isn’t methane.

  45. majormike1 says:

    July 31, 2013 at 8:07 pm

    jai mitchell says:
    July 31, 2013 at 3:57 pm
    **************************************
    The current warming is the least of the five warming periods of the past 10,000 years

    Stop right there and prove that statement. I believe it to be completely false. Absolutely. show me how you think this is true and maybe we can talk.

  46. majormike1

    I will respond to the following statement:

    So to recap, warming began each time when CO2 was lowest, and cooling began each time when CO2 was at its comparative highest. The complexity of natural climate change trumps the simplicity of a CO2 driven, now falsified by observations, hypothesis.

    ———

    Yes, warming began when CO2 was lowest in the glacial cycle because the normal interglacial cycle is driven by the milankovitch solar cycle where the difference in northern hemisphere solar intensity will very rarely and very very temporarily make the northern hemisphere glacier free.

    once the glaciers start to retreat the combination of decreased albedo and the release of carbon dioxide gasses produce additional warming. As the earth continues to warm additional moisture vapor (humidity) grows in the atmosphere. And the cycle continues, but always within equilibrium due to the very slow (>10,000 year) process of warming about 4 degrees C on average.

    Once the solar cycle peaks, the temperature stays warm for a while, several thousand years, then once the solar cycle is very much lower than the peak and the earth starts to cool, the humidity levels drop and it cools even more, then the natural CO2 emissions are absorbed by the earth and CO2 begins to drop and finally the earth’s temperature drops quite rapidly, (but still over several thousand years).

    No one ever said that previous interglacials were driven by CO2, they aren’t. They have always been described as I have just told you. In fact, we know that the amount of heat energy in the northern hemisphere simply isn’t enough to get rid of the ice ages. After all, the increased solar radiation in the northern hemisphere is balanced by a decrease in the southern hemisphere. So it is a land-based effect that produces the necessary heat required to push the earth into an interglacial.

    The last time CO2 was this high there were palm trees growing at the arctic circle.

  47. Khwarizmi

    you said, “The importance of methanotrophs is grotesquely underestimated/neglected in biology, evolution, and in climate “science.” But when ignorance is alarming…it is jolly to be wise. :)”

    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/332/6033/1033.3.full

    The giant solitary jet of oil-saturated gas at the Macondo site differs dramatically from hydrate-depth seepage plumes (13) and experimental deep sea hydrocarbon releases (14), which featured weaker intrusions near the thermocline (13, 14). Although it remains largely unknown whether methanotrophic microbial communities are efficient biofilters in hydrate dissociation settings, it is notable that δ13C profiles above deep, natural Gulf of Mexico seeps (500 to 1000 m) show considerable methane bypassing the microbial biofilter under low ebullition conditions (13, 14).

    Finally, today’s most vulnerable marine methane hydrate deposits underlie shallow Arctic waters (15), where methane is entrapped by submarine permafrost or stabilized as hydrates by year-round cold temperatures. Here, released methane rapidly reaches the atmosphere with minimal microbial oxidation (15). Therefore, extension of Kessler et al.’s conclusions to such contemporary natural hydrate destabilization events would be inappropriate.

  48. Jai,
    Your first link to “Permafrost-Associated Gas Hydrate” offered no useful information in the abstract on how they might “form and function differently,” and I’m not willing to shell out $30. Are you willing to pay $40 to read about the “Discovery of Viable Methanotrophic Bacteria in Permafrost Sediments of Northeast Siberia” … ?

    http://link.springer.com/article/10.1023%2FA%3A1016025709833

    Or is the title informative enough?
    Here’s another peer-reviewed paper (Marine Geology, Dec 2012) – no charge:
    “Methane seeps in the ocean are much more important to life in the ocean than we previously have suspected“:

    http://martinhovland.weebly.com/

    There is a link to my “exciting” website at the end of the paper. :)

  49. Roy Jones says:
    July 31, 2013 at 12:55 pm
    “So, was the Medieval Warm Period caused by the increased number of monasteries in Europe, each of which built dams to create their fishponds? That would mean that the Reformation and the dissolution of the monasteries caused the Little Ice Age. ”

    Great idea! One problem: The protestants never destroyed the fish ponds. There are such ponds a few kilometers from where I live in Germany; it’s a beautiful recreational area these days, the ponds have always been in use since their creation 900 years or so ago.

    The monastery was never dissolved by the protestants but only by Napoleon after his invasion of Germany.

    Aerial sight of the ponds:

  50. jai mitchell says:
    July 31, 2013 at 3:42 pm

    Mike Smith

    You’re welcome.
    The current temperatures are far higher than the MWA and basically tied with the Minoan Warming Period.

    Firstly, thermostats V proxies. Add observations = you are pulling facts right out of your arse. Where is your evidence?

    Read about the global Medieval Warm Period.

    http://www.co2science.org/data/mwp/mwpp.php

    Now, I look out the window and see this every day. Figs and grapes growing in the wrong areas TODAY! Ha.

    Dr. Michael Mann et. al.
    Medieval Climatic Optimum
    Volume 1
    The Earth system: physical and chemical dimensions of global environmental change – pp 514–516
    “It is evident that Europe experienced, on the whole, relatively mild climate conditions during the earliest centuries of the second millennium (i.e., the early Medieval period). Agriculture was possible at higher latitudes (and higher elevations in the mountains) than is currently possible in many regions, and there are numerous anecdotal reports of especially bountiful harvests (e.g., documented yields of grain) throughout Europe during this interval of time. Grapes were grown in England several hundred kilometers north of their current limits of growth, and subtropical flora such as fig trees and olive trees grew in regions of Europe (northern Italy and parts of Germany) well north of their current range. Geological evidence indicates that mountain glaciers throughout Europe retreated substantially at this time, relative to the glacial advances of later centuries (Grove and Switsur, 1994)….

    Some of the most dramatic evidence for Medieval warmth has been argued to come from Iceland and Greenland (see Ogilvie, 1991). In Greenland, the Norse settlers, arriving around AD 1000, maintained a settlement, raising dairy cattle and sheep. Greenland existed, in effect, as a thriving European colony for several centuries. While a deteriorating climate and the onset of the Little Ice Age are broadly blamed for the demise….”

    http://www.meteo.psu.edu/holocene/public_html/shared/articles/medclimopt.pdf

    It’s a good thing it turned colder.

  51. jai mitchell says:
    July 31, 2013 at 3:42 pm
    Mike Smith
    You’re welcome.
    The current temperatures are far higher than the MWA and basically tied with the Minoan Warming Period.

    Since you like any proxy that shows warmer today here are other proxies showing a warmer MWP.

    Abstract
    ……..SST averaged from shell time series would be weighted toward the fast-growing summer season, resulting in the conclusion that the early MCA was warmer than the late 20th century by ~ 1 °C. This conclusion is broadly true for the summer season, but not true for the winter season….

    http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2012.07.003

    Further reading
    Here is a review of the scientific literature says warmer MWP than today plus pdf original.

    http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.com/2013/07/review-finds-medieval-warm-period-was.html

  52. On Siberia.

    Abstract
    Late-Quaternary history of midge communities and climate from a tundra site near the lower Lena River, Northeast Siberia

    Analysis of midge remains in late-Quaternary sediment, recovered from a lake situated north of treeline in northeast Siberia, indicates the occurrence of notable climatic fluctuations during the last 12 ka.

    This suggests that climate was warmer than present since the modern distribution of both Microtendipes and C. ambigua is limited to forested sites in this region. This warm interval lasted until approximately 6000 yr BP when there was a precipitous decline in temperate chironomid taxa and an increase in cold-water chironomid taxa, such as Paracladius, Hydrobaenus/Oliveridia, Abiskomyia, and Parakiefferiella nigra. This cooling continued through the late-Holocene and the modern tundra chironomid assemblage developed by approximately 1400 yr BP.

    http://link.springer.com/article/10.1023/A:1013512506486

    —————————————
    Past environmental and climatic changes related to tree-line shifts inferred from fossil diatoms from a lake near the Lena River Delta, Siberia

    Abstract
    ……Significant limnological changes occurred at the same time as trees advanced into the region c. 9100 cal. yr BP (8500 radiocarbon yr BP) and subsequently retreated c. 3800 cal. yr BP (3500 radiocarbon yr BP). Prior to this tree-line shift, diatom assemblages were dominated by small benthic Fragilaria species, and diatom-inferred alka linity values were high, suggesting that climatic conditions were cool and relatively dry, and that lake pro ductivity was probably low……

    http://hol.sagepub.com/content/9/5/547.short

    —————————————
    Climate change and the northern Russian treeline zone

    Abstract
    Dendroecological studies indicate enhanced conifer recruitment during the twentieth century. However, conifers have not yet recolonized many areas where trees were present during the Medieval Warm period (ca AD 800–1300) or the Holocene Thermal Maximum (HTM; ca 10 000–3000 years ago).

    http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/363/1501/2283.short

  53. Jimbo,

    look at this graph that your own climate sceptic friend Roy Spencer used in his recent testimony. http://www.drroyspencer.com/wp-content/uploads/2000-yr-temperature-variations.png

    you will see that the 1998 peak in NORTHER HEMISPHERE temperatures is slightly higher than both the medieveal warm and the minoan warm period. These temperatures are northern hemisphere temperatures, not global temperautures. Globally we know that the warm pulses were regional events associated with an abnormally quiet north hemisphere volcanic activity and that the temperatures were much more moderate in the southern hemisphere during this period.

    Things are actually warmer now than even the Holocene climate optimum (or at least statistically tied).

    This is the most accurate representation of global temperature during the last 20,000 years, with a projection of the temperatures we currently expect to 2100 though the future projection assumes a very low emissions profile and an artificially low sensitivity. It would be more accurate to show a projected increase 3 degrees above the Hadcrut curve (red) at the end (so it should go up to 4 with uncertainty to 6).

  54. jai mitchell says:
    July 31, 2013 at 10:41 pm

    When are you going to study climate history before spewing on it?

    The last time CO2 was this high, during the Pliocene, there were not palm trees but boreal spruce & pine in the Arctic. The fact that now only scrubby vegetation rings the Arctic Ocean shows how insignificant is the effect of going from 280 to 400 ppm in 160 years.

  55. jai mitchell says:
    July 31, 2013 at 6:50 pm

    milodonharlani

    This is so false as to be a blatant lie. Current temperatures in the Arctic & just about everywhere else are lower than in the Medieval Warm Period, the Roman Warm Period, the Minoan Warm Period & especially the Holocene Climatic Optimum. Proxy data show this observation to be what in science is known as a fact.

    proof??? because the proxy data I have seen shows significantly lower globally averaged temperatures and even comparatively identical current temperatures to both the Minoan warm and the Holocene optimum.
    ——————–

    The fact that you have never posted such proxy data shows you to be a liar. You can’t because you’ve seen no such thing.

    Repeatedly here have been posted the proxy data showing that the earth has been in a cooling trend since the Holocene Optimum. Need we post again the Greenland Ice Sheet cores that clearly show this to be the case in the region most relevant to your ill-founded methane concerns?

    Soil radioactivity in Antarctica shows that the East Greenland Ice Sheet has been stable for at least 3000 years. Proxy data from all over the globe show that the world was warmest at the long Holocene Optimum peak, cooler in the Minoan Warm Period, cooler still in the Roman WP, cooler in the Medieval WP & coolest of all now, in the Modern WP, with also generally colder troughs in the interspersed Cold Periods, such as the Dark Ages & LIA.

    Post whatever data you’ve seen to the contrary, then we’ll talk.

  56. wow!!! I did not realize that Dr. Roy Spencer went before congress to show that the current global warming period was not exceptional and used a graph that was not only just northern hemisphere temperatures and left out the cooler southern hemisphere BUT it was also ONLY extratropical and left out the relatively milder northern hemisphere tropics. The temperature graph ONLY showed temperatures from 30 degrees North to the North Pole.

    And when he did, he showed this graph and stated that it showed that our current GLOBAL warming wasn’t exceptional.

    The graph that Dr. Spencer used had a modern NH temperature climb only .4 above the 1961-1999 mean but the actual data shows that it is .8C in the northern hemisphere above that value.

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3nh/from:1961/to:1999/mean:13/plot/hadcrut3nh/from:1961/to:1999/trend/plot/hadcrut3nh/from:1961/to:1999/mean:1

    He didn’t include the graph in his testimony. I wonder why that is. . .

    http://www.epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Files.View&FileStore_id=16e80c55-9ebf-42e4-852e-1f6e960b0902

    REPLY: Jai, you idiot. He showed SATELLITE DATA sets, including his OWN WORK. Why the hell would he show HadCRUT when he manages the UAH satellite data set? Like me, he thinks the surface data sets are polluted with biases and over adjustments.

    Take a 24 hour time out. Go protest the new bypass road in Willits or something, but don’t come back here until tomorrow morning 8AM. – Anthony

  57. I’d like to thank the people who tried to tell Jai Mitchell the historical facts regarding warm periods in the past. I myself gave up.

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