Defusing the Arctic Methane Time Bomb

Guest Post by David Middleton

The Arctic methane time bomb keeps tickingFrom Scientific American

Climatewire

More Arctic Methane Bubbles into Atmosphere


A new study suggests more than twice as much of the potent greenhouse gas is bubbling out of the rapidly warming Arctic Ocean, speeding climate change

By Stephanie Paige Ogburn and ClimateWire

Arctic Ocean: A new study reports that methane releases from one part of the Arctic Ocean are more than twice what scientists previously thought.

[…]

SciAm

If the Arctic Methane Time Bomb is really twice as bad as “scientists previously thought,” one of two things must be happening:

  1. The Arctic methane time bomb is about to go off and turn Earth into Venus.
  2. “Scientists” preconceptions about the climatic hazards of Arctic methane are very wrong.

Arctic methane is currently trapped in permafrost and in methane hydrate deposits. Some methane from these traps escapes to the atmosphere every year, particularly during warm summer months. However, there is absolutely no indication that this represents some sort of Arctic methane time bomb, ticking its way to some sort of carbon Apocalypse.

Permafrost

Permafrost is ground that is frozen below the active layer (~30-100 mm) for multi-year periods. Some Arctic permafrost has been frozen for at least several thousand years. The active layer may thaw seasonally; however the permafrost substrate remains frozen year-round. The frozen nature of the soil below the active layer prevents it from adequately draining. This results in a very boggy active layer with abundant decaying plant matter. As such, permafrost is generally very methane-rich.

A rapid and extensive thawing of Arctic permafrost could theoretically release a lot of methane into the atmosphere. There’s just very little reason to think that this is even a remote possibility now or in the foreseeable future.

News in Brief: Warming may not release Arctic carbon

Element could stay locked in soil, 20-year study suggests

By Erin Wayman
Web edition: May 15, 2013
Print edition: June 15, 2013; Vol.183 #12 (p. 13)

Researchers used greenhouses to artificially warm tundra (shown, in autumn) for 20 years. They found no net change in the amount of carbon stored in the soil.

Sadie Iverson

The Arctic’s stockpile of carbon may be more secure than scientists thought. In a 20-year experiment that warmed patches of chilly ground, tundra soil kept its stored carbon, researchers report.

[…]

Science News

In the Alaska experiment, they warmed the permafrost by 2°C over a 20-yr period (10 times the actual rate of warming since the 1800s) and there wasn’t the slightest hint of an accelerated methane release.

There is no evidence of widespread thawing of Arctic permafrost since Marine Isotope Stage 11 (MIS-11), approximately 450,000 years ago. None of the subsequent interglacial stages indicate widespread permafrost thawing, above 60°N, not even MIS-5 (Eemian/Sangamonian), which was about 2°C warmer than present day, possibly as much as 5°C warmer in the Arctic.

The last interglacial stage (MIS-5, Sangamonian/Eemian) was considerably warmer than the current interglacial and sea level was 3-6 meters higher than modern times. It was particularly warmer in the Arctic. Oxygen isotope ratios from the NGRIP ice core indicate that the Arctic was approximately 5°C warmer at the peak of MIS-5 (~135,000 years ago).

It also appears that it was significantly warmer in the Arctic during the Holocene Climatic Optimum (~7,000 years ago) than modern times. The Arctic was routinely ice-free during summer for most of the Holocene up until about 1,000 years ago. McKay et al., 2008 demonstrated that the modern Arctic sea ice cover is anomalously high and the Arctic summer sea surface temperature is anomalously low relative to the rest of the Holocene…

Modern sea-ice cover in the study area, expressed here as the number of months/year with >50% coverage, averages 10.6 ±1.2 months/year… Present day SST and SSS in August are 1.1 ± 2.4 8C and 28.5 ±1.3, respectively… In the Holocene record of core HLY0501-05, sea-ice cover has ranged between 5.5 and 9 months/year, summer SSS has varied between 22 and 30, and summer SST has ranged from 3 to 7.5 8C (Fig. 7).

McKay et al., 2008

Vaks et al., 2013 found no evidence of widespread permafrost thawing above 60°N since MIS-11, not even during MIS-5…

The absence of any observed speleothem growth since MIS 11 in the northerly Lenskaya Ledyanaya cave (despite dating outer edges of 7 speleothems), suggests the permanent presence of permafrost at this latitude since the end of MIS-11. Speleothem growth in this cave occurred in early MIS-11, ruling out the possibility that the unusual length of MIS-11 caused the permafrost thawing.

[…]

The degradation of permafrost at 60°N during MIS-11 allows an assessment of the warming required globally to cause such extensive change in the permafrost boundary.

[…]

There is clear evidence that the Arctic was at least 5°C warmer during MIS-11 than it is today…

Several so-called “superinterglacials” have been identified in the Quaternary sediment record from LakeEl’gygytgyn (Melles et al.,2012). Among these “superinterglacials”, marine isotope stage (MIS) 11c and 31 appear to be the most outstanding in terms of their temperature, vegetation cover, in-lake productivity, and in the case of MIS11c also duration (Melles et al.,2012). Quantitative climate reconstructions for MIS11c and 31 at Lake El’gygytgyn imply that temperatures and annual precipitation values were up to ca. 5°C and ca. 300mm higher if compared to the Holocene (Melles et al.,2012)

Vogel et al., 2013

The best geological evidence for the Arctic methane time bomb being a dud can be found in the stratigraphy beneath Lake El’gygytgyn in northeastern Russia. The lake and its mini-basin occupy a 3.58 million year old meteor crater. Its sediments are ideally suited for a continuous high-resolution climate reconstruction from the Holocene all the way back to the mid-Pliocene. Unlike most other Arctic lakes, Lake El’gygytgyn, has never been buried by glacial stage continental ice sheets. Melles et al., 2012 utilized sediment cores from Lake El’gygytgyn to build a 2.8 million year climate reconstruction of northeastern Russia…

The data from Melles et al., 2012 are available from NOAA’s paleoclimatology library. And it is clearly obvious that Arctic summers were much warmer than either the Eemian/Sangamonian (MIS-5e) and the Holocene (MIS-1)…

MIS-11 peaked a full 5°C warmer than the Holocene Climatic Optimum, which was 1-2°C warmer than the present.

Referring back to Vaks et al., 2013, we can see that there is no evidence of widespread permafrost melting above 60°N since the beginning of MIS-11…

Since we know that the Arctic was about 5°C warmer during the Eemian/Sangamonian (MIS-5e) than it currently is and that there is no evidence of widespread permafrost melt above 60°N, it’s a pretty good bet that the MIS-11 Arctic was 6-10°C warmer than the Holocene Climatic Optimum.

The lack of evidence of permafrost melt during MIS-5 tends to indicate that MIS-11 may have been more than 5°C warmer. So, the notion that we are on the verge of a permafrost meltdown is patently absurd.

Methane Hydrate Deposits

Methane hydrates (or gas hydrate) are composed of molecules of methane encased in a lattice of ice crystals. These accumulations are fairly common in marine sediments.

Gas hydrate is an ice like substance formed when methane or some other gases combine with water at appropriate pressure and temperature conditions. Gas hydrates sequester large amounts of methane and are widespread in marine sediments and sediments of permafrost areas.

USGS

99% of methane hydrate deposits are thought to be in deepwater environments. The only way that climate change could destabilize these deposits would be through a sudden drop in sea level. The thermocline of the deepwater deposits changes very little (not at all at depth) even with 20 °C of surface warming over a 1,000-yr period.

Methane Hydrates and Contemporary Climate Change

By: Carolyn D. Ruppel (U.S. Geological Survey, Woods Hole, MA) © 2011 Nature Education

Citation: Ruppel, C. D. (2011) Methane Hydrates and Contemporary Climate Change. Nature Education Knowledge 3(10):29

Methane Hydrate Primer

Methane hydrate is an ice-like substance formed when CH4 and water combine at low temperature (up to ~25ºC) and moderate pressure (greater than 3-5 MPa, which corresponds to combined water and sediment depths of 300 to 500 m). Globally, an estimated 99% of gas hydrates occurs in the sediments of marine continental margins at saturations as high as 20% to 80% in some lithologies; the remaining 1% is mostly associated with sediments in and beneath areas of high-latitude, continuous permafrost (McIver 1981, Collett et al. 2009). Nominally, methane hydrate concentrates CH4 by ~164 times on a volumetric basis compared to gas at standard pressure and temperature. Warming a small volume of gas hydrate could thus liberate large volumes of gas.

A challenge for assessing the impact of contemporary climate change on methane hydrates is continued uncertainty about the size of the global gas hydrate inventory and the portion of the inventory that is susceptible to climate warming. This paper addresses the latter issue, while the former remains under active debate.

[...]

Fate of Contemporary Methane Hydrates During Warming Climate

The susceptibility of gas hydrates to warming climate depends on the duration of the warming event, their depth beneath the seafloor or tundra surface, and the amount of warming required to heat sediments to the point of dissociating gas hydrates. A rudimentary estimate of the depth to which sediments are affected by an instantaneous, sustained temperature change DT in the overlying air or ocean waters can be made using the diffusive length scale 1 = √kt , which describes the depth (m) that 0.5 DT will propagate in elapsed time t (s). k denotes thermal diffusivity, which ranges from ~0.6 to 1×10-6 m2/s for unconsolidated sediments. Over 10, 100, and 1000 yr, the calculation yields maximum of 18 m, 56 m, and 178 m, respectively, regardless of the magnitude of DT. In real situations, DT is usually small and may have short- (e.g., seasonal) or long-term fluctuations that swamp the signal associated with climate warming trends. Even over 103 yr, only gas hydrates close to the seafloor and initially within a few degrees of the thermodynamic stability boundary might experience dissociation in response to reasonable rates of warming. As discussed below, less than 5% of the gas hydrate inventory may meet these criteria.

Even when gas hydrate dissociates, several factors mitigate the impact of the liberated CH4 on the sediment-ocean-atmosphere system. In marine sediments, the released CH4 may dissolve in local pore waters, remain trapped as gas, or rise toward the seafloor as bubbles. Up to 90% or more of the CH4 that reaches the sulfate reduction zone (SRZ) in the near-seafloor sediments may be consumed by anaerobic CH4 oxidation (Hinrichs & Boetius 2002, Treude et al. 2003, Reeburgh 2007, Knittel & Boetius 2009). At the highest flux sites (seeps), the SRZ may vanish, allowing CH4 to be injected directly into the water column or, in some cases, partially consumed by aerobic microbes (Niemann et al. 2006).

Methane emitted at the seafloor only rarely survives the trip through the water column to reach the atmosphere.

[...]

Global Warming and Gas Hydrate Type Locales

Methane hydrates occur in five geographic settings (or sectors) that must be individually evaluated to determine their susceptibility to warming climate (Figure 1). The percentages assigned to each sector below assume that 99% of global gas hydrate is within the deepwater marine realm (McIver 1981, Collett et al. 2009). Future refinements of the global ratio of marine to permafrost-associated gas hydrates will require adjustment of the assigned percentages. Owing to the orders of magnitude uncertainty in the estimated volume of CH4 trapped in global gas hydrate deposits, the percentages below have not been converted to Gt C.

[...]

Conclusions

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 103 yr. Even when CH4 is liberated from gas hydrates, oxidative and physical processes may greatly reduce the amount that reaches the atmosphere as CH4. The CO2 produced by oxidation of CH4 released from dissociating gas hydrates will likely have a greater impact on the Earth system (e.g., on ocean chemistry and atmospheric CO2 concentrations; Archer et al. 2009) than will the CH4 that remains after passing through various sinks.

Contemporary and future gas hydrate degradation will occur primarily on the circum-Arctic Ocean continental shelves (Sector 2; Macdonald 1990, Lachenbruch et al. 1994, Maslin 2010), where subsea permafrost thawing and methane hydrate dissociation have been triggered by warming and inundation since Late Pleistocene time, and at the feather edge of the GHSZ on upper continental slopes (Sector 3), where the zone’s full thickness can dissociate rapidly due to modest warming of intermediate waters. More CH4 may be sequestered in upper continental slope gas hydrates than in those associated with subsea permafrost; however, CH4 that reaches the seafloor from dissociating Arctic Ocean shelf gas hydrates is much more likely to enter the atmosphere rapidly and as CH4, not CO2. Proof is still lacking that gas hydrate dissociation currently contributes to seepage from upper continental slopes or to elevated seawater CH4 concentrations on circum-Arctic Ocean shelves. An even greater challenge for the future is determining the contribution of global gas hydrate dissociation to contemporary and future atmospheric CH4 concentrations.

[...]

Nature Knowledge

The infamous photos, often posted by alarmists, of methane bubbling up from the Arctic sea floor and lake beds account for less than 1% of global methane hydrate deposits. These deposits are unstable in any temperature regime at depths of less than 200 m. They were already bubbling long before Al Gore invented CAGW.

Arctic Methane Time Bomb Defused

A substantial permafrost thaw above 60° N would require the Arctic to warm by more than 5°C relative to current conditions

A substantial destabilization of methane hydrate deposits is highly unlikely even with 20°C of warming relative to current conditions.

Arctic methane time bomb defused… QED.

References

McKay, J. L.; de Vernal, A.; Hillaire-Marcel, C.; Not, C.; Polyak, L.; Darby, D. (2008) Holocene fluctuations in Arctic sea-ice cover: dinocyst-based reconstructions for the eastern Chukchi Sea. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, Volume 45, Number 11, 2008 , pp. 1377-1397(21)

Miller, K.G., et al. (2005) The Phanerozoic Record of Global Sea-Level Change. Science. Vol. 310 no. 5752 pp. 1293-1298 DOI: 10.1126/science.1116412

Melles, M., J. Brigham-Grette, P.S. Minyuk, N.R. Nowaczyk, V. Wennrich (2012) 2.8 Million Years of Arctic Climate Change from Lake El’gygytgyn, NE Russia. Science. Vol. 337 no. 6092 pp. 315-320. DOI: 10.1126/science.1222135

Ruppel, C. D. (2011) Methane Hydrates and Contemporary Climate Change. Nature Education Knowledge 3(10):29

Vaks, A., et al. (2013) Speleothems Reveal 500,000-Year History of Siberian Permafrost. Science. Vol. 340 no. 6129 pp. 183-186. DOI: 10.1126/science.1228729

Vogel, H., Meyer-Jacob, C., Melles, M., Brigham-Grette, J., Andreev, A. A., Wennrich, V., Tarasov, P. E., and Rosén, P.: Detailed insight into Arctic climatic variability during MIS 11c at Lake El’gygytgyn, NE Russia, Clim. Past, 9, 1467-1479, doi:10.5194/cp-9-1467-2013, 2013.

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About David Middleton

I have been a geoscientist in the evil oil and gas industry for almost 30 years. My favorite hobby is debunking the junk science of the radical environmentalists...Particularly the junk science of anthropogenic global warming.
This entry was posted in Alarmism, Arctic, Methane, Paleoclimatology, Sea ice, Sea level. Bookmark the permalink.

80 Responses to Defusing the Arctic Methane Time Bomb

  1. David Middleton: My favorite hobby is debunking the junk science of the radical environmentalists…Particularly the junk science of anthropogenic global warming.
    —————–
    A noble pursuit – thank you Sir!

  2. knr says:

    Giggle bells , giggle bells , giggle all the way on what fun it is to ride in a dead horse open model.

    Dear Santa , for Christmas this year a like model that actual works , all the other scientists make fun of me becasue their do and mine never does . I been a good boy this year , I lied,smeared and BS with the best to support ‘the cause ‘ So could you please , please see your way to given me a ‘working climate model ‘

    Yours
    Sad Jonny , Climate ‘scientist’

  3. HenryP says:

    So where is the proof that the net effect of more CH4 is warming rather than cooling?

  4. Owen in GA says:

    So why haven’t we started mining these formations for the plentiful natural gas they represent?

  5. Alan Robertson says:

    About David Middleton
    I have been a geoscientist in the evil oil and gas industry for almost 30 years. My favorite hobby is debunking the junk science of the radical environmentalists…Particularly the junk science of anthropogenic global warming.
    ____________________
    You and others of like mind are having an effect. Just scan through the comments of any online article regarding climate or weather and see that the warmists are subjected to overwhelming ridicule. The chicken littles are having a hard time. It shouldn’t be too much longer until the politicians start to realize that the electorate has moved on.
    Here’s one example: http://discussions.latimes.com/20/lanews/la-fg-wn-snow-israel-egypt-20131213/10?page=2

  6. philjourdan says:

    In other words, if IGrandson, swings around the sun and makes a mad dash to earth crashing into the planet and setting the atmosphere ablaze – we have to worry about the methane time bomb?

    I think we would have bigger problems in that case.

  7. Eric Worrall says:

    Golly gosh, the only option to me is to mine the methane hydrate, and burn it, to reduce the harm – CO2 is a far less potent greenhouse gas than methane.

    Perhaps Greenpiss should send a ship to the arctic to demand the Russians do more to exploit their methane hydrate resources.

  8. Steven Mosher says:

    false dilemma

    ###############

    If the Arctic Methane Time Bomb is really twice as bad as “scientists previously thought,” one of two things must be happening:

    “The Arctic methane time bomb is about to go off and turn Earth into Venus.
    “Scientists” preconceptions about the climatic hazards of Arctic methane are very wrong”

    #####################

  9. Henry Clark says:

    It also appears that it was significantly warmer in the Arctic during the Holocene Climatic Optimum (~7,000 years ago) than modern times.

    And, during the 20th century, the bulk of decline in arctic ice extent occurred near 1920 A.D., not when human CO2 emissions were quite a number of times greater later on, as illustrated in a chart and reference about 3/4ths of the way down in in http://img176.imagevenue.com/img.php?image=81829_expanded_overview_122_424lo.jpg

    99% of methane hydrate deposits are thought to be in deepwater environments.
    The thermocline of the deepwater deposits changes very little (not at all at depth) even with 20 °C of surface warming over a 1,000-yr period.

    Yes. Part of the reason that the naive believe in CAGW methane release hype is mathematical illiteracy, having no quantitative understanding of the distinction between the time it takes to warm the depth of a puddle versus that of the oceans, not understanding how even specific heat alone (let alone all other considerations) prevents seawater hundreds to thousands of meters down from warming by multiple degrees on the timescales they envision. (The probable future this century is cooling of at least the Little Ice Age kind, not global warming anyway, but why that is so is another topic).

  10. Steven Mosher says:

    funny the article doesnt say anything close to what the post about it claims

    “While the quantity of methane being released may sound alarming, scientists are not sure whether this methane escape is new, or whether it has been happening for a long time. Until 2003, when Shakhova’s team started studying this part of the Arctic Ocean, no one had measured how much methane was being released from it.”

  11. MarkW says:

    If the permafrost truely is melting, where did all of that methane go. It didn’t make it to the atmosphere. Methane concentrations have been pretty much constant for more than a decade.

  12. Dave says:

    Great article. But keep in mind that some people are not interested in facts or data that get in the way of what they want to believe.

  13. thisisnotgoodtogo says:

    remembering the study that showed that life forms around the sea methane vents accommodated to refix the methane released

  14. Jim Cripwell says:

    Owen, you write “So why haven’t we started mining these formations for the plentiful natural gas they represent?’

    We have, or rather the Japanese have. There is an overproduction of natural gas on the North America continent at the moment, and the technology to successfully mine the methane hydrates is only now being worked out, by the Japanese. Until shale gas starts to run out, methane hydrates are simply too expensive. I would not be surprised if the US does not do some work at Prudhoe Bay, where there are large deposits, and the infrastructure to proceed slowly and comparatively cheaply is already in place. I don’t know of any other nation that has the know how, and the deposits near at hand, that can do this sort of work successfully.

  15. Ali Babba says:

    Its worse than we thought, the climate cult is still alive….

  16. thisisnotgoodtogo says:

    Mosher the fake scientist gives another evidence-free post.

  17. David Middleton says:

    The headline of the SciAm article…

    More Arctic Methane Bubbles into Atmosphere

    A new study suggests more than twice as much of the potent greenhouse gas is bubbling out of the rapidly warming Arctic Ocean, speeding climate change

  18. Teddi says:

    @ thisisnotgoodtogo says:
    December 13, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    I agree. Won’t miss his Climate Etc. posts……….

  19. David Middleton says:

    It’s called “humor.” Sarcasm is another one of my hobbies. I thought it was sufficiently obvious that I didn’t need to use /sarc.

  20. DocMartyn says:

    ” Some Arctic permafrost has been frozen for at least several thousand years”

    Which would mean that several thousand years ago the are was much, much, warmer and supported a thriving ecosystem.

  21. David Middleton says:

    CH4 is opaque to certain bandwidths of IR radiation.

  22. David Middleton says:

    Natural gas prices would have to rise to about $20/MCF and remain at least that high for about 50 years to make gas hydrates economic.

  23. thisisnotgoodtogo says:

    teddi, it’s all good to advertise that you are a scientist when your definition for “scientist” is non-standard and potential customers have no idea.

  24. Bill Illis says:

    One of the links is called “The $60-trillion Arctic methane time bomb”

    http://www.iol.co.za/scitech/science/environment/the-60-trillion-arctic-methane-time-bomb-1.1553430#.UquHNLKA3aR

  25. markstoval says:

    There are literally unlimited scenarios that a chicken little could come up with to claim the sky is falling. This is just one more of them. At some point, after moving the goal posts and changing the story time after time after time, the public will finally get disgusted and stop their believing in the lame heifer dust. I do hope that time draws nigh.

  26. Stephen Pruett says:

    Mosher, I think this is the type of statement from the article that the post addresses, “More Arctic Methane Bubbles into Atmosphere. A new study suggests more than twice as much of the potent greenhouse gas is bubbling out of the rapidly warming Arctic Ocean, speeding climate change”

    Notice the key words: Potent, Bubbling, Rapidly Warming, Speeding Climate change. Which, as noted by Mr. Middleton, are not justified.

  27. Peter Miller says:

    Sadly the important subjects of ocean acidification and its effect on methane hydrate release, plus the amplification of this gas release caused by polar bears swimming nearby, is not discussed here.

    Sarc off/

    I had not realised the much warmer last interglacial period (the Eemian) would be able to unravel so much of today’s climate alarmism.

  28. Bill Illis says:

    The new NEEM ice core from Greenland has Arctic temps in the Eemian at 125,000 years ago at +7.5C.

    Methane in the Antarctic ice cores only got to 700 ppb at 125,000 years ago versus today’s 1900 ppb so Methane time bomb diffused (as David said).

  29. jones says:

    Oh my Lord, Van Allen belts discovered….

  30. jones says:

    If one were to discover tectonic plates would it be analogous to conclude that the earth was cracking up?

  31. timetochooseagain says:

    Funny, one would think if there were any significant Methane feedback from a warming Arctic, we’d see Methane increasing at an exponential rate as human emissions combine with the emissions of nature.

    Er…Well that doesn’t work.

  32. more than twice as much

    “Twice nothing is still nothing.” – Cyrano Jones

  33. Joe says:

    Steven Mosher says:
    December 13, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    funny the article doesnt say anything close to what the post about it claims

    “While the quantity of methane being released may sound alarming, scientists are not sure whether this methane escape is new, or whether it has been happening for a long time. Until 2003, when Shakhova’s team started studying this part of the Arctic Ocean, no one had measured how much methane was being released from it.”
    ——————————————————————————————————–

    Bad Mosh, naughty Mosh :(

    You’re clearly intelligent, and you can’t honestly claim not to see what the whole slant of the article is.

    As an intelligent person, you should also be well aware that a great number of readers of that article won’t appreciate the importance of that paragraph you’ve quoted and will come away with an impression of yet another study confirming the apocalypse, as undoubtedly intended by the author.

    As a scientist you should be outraged that publishers are still misusing valid scientific work in this way, but instead you seem content to peddle alarism by (clear) implication as long as they’ve left themselves an “out” to say “that’s not what we said” when challenged. In other words, “everything we’ve just told you in the name of science doesn’t mean what we’ve let you think it means, we’re banking on you not noticing that, but we’ve left a get-out in case you do”.

    It’s as dishonest as those liability exclusion notices you see with a footnote saying they “don’t affect your statutory rights”.

  34. TimO says:

    … like we would have the technology or ability to do anything about a runaway Venus effect. That ranks right up there with ‘just move the Earth a little farther away from the Sun to cool it more.’ People watch too much Star Trek.

  35. thisisnotgoodtogo says:

    “You’re clearly intelligent, and you can’t honestly claim”
    That kinda makes it that you’re not actually addressing the intended fake scientist recipient.

  36. thisisnotgoodtogo says:

    Has Steve McIntyre stated billing himself as a climate scientist ?

  37. Brian H says:

    So twice as much as thought has been entering the atmosphere all along, we didn’t notice, and it still has had no discernable effect. (Nor has anything else, most especially including CO2). Default conclusion: Both CO2 and CH4 are ineffective in warming the atmosphere at all prospective levels.

  38. thisisnotgoodtogo says:

    To go the other extreme, John Cook, climate scientist working out of University of …!

  39. David Middleton says:

    @Steve Mosher,

    The link in the first sentence takes you to the original Arctic Methane Time Bomb article. While the article I quoted is fairly innocuous, the headline of the SciAm article is right in line with the Arctic methane hysteria…

    More Arctic Methane Bubbles into Atmosphere

    A new study suggests more than twice as much of the potent greenhouse gas is bubbling out of the rapidly warming Arctic Ocean, speeding climate change.

  40. David Middleton says:

    @Steve Mosher,

    It would be a false dilemma fallacy if it was a serious argument. I was clearly being facetious, prefacing the serious part of the post with some sarcastic humor. I thought the humor was so obvious that I didn’t need to use /sarc off notation.

  41. Alan Robertson says:

    thisisnotgoodtogo says:
    December 13, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    “You’re clearly intelligent, and you can’t honestly claim”
    That kinda makes it that you’re not actually addressing the intended fake scientist recipient.
    __________________________
    I suppose that now you’ll be wanting the Thread Gold Star next to your name.

  42. Debunking some myths about oceanic methane in permafrost and deep ocean sediments:
    1) Because of the latent heat effect, these systems are more-or-less self preserving.
    2) When gas hydrates, due to pressure release or slight warming start to dissociate, they actually freeze up, and preserve themselves. This is because the realeased gas expands and cools the system adiabatically.
    3) This is one of the reasons why it is very hard to produce methane from hydrates formed in Natural systems. The moment you get a flow going, the same moment it freezes up and self repairs (a self-sealing system, like most seeps).
    4) This was wonderfully demonstrated recently, when JAMSTEC touted that they had started producing methane from deep in the Nankai Trough off Japan – big News, and a small flame that could be photographed. However, don’t tell the press: they did’t only produce by depressurization, i.e., passively – oh no – they had to heat up the formation to get the stuff out of the ground….
    This paper explains more about the cryogenetics of gas hydrates in confined reservoirs:
    Clennell, MB, Hovland, M, Booth, JS, Henry, P, Winters, WJ., 1999. “Formation of natural gas hydrates in marine sediments. Part 1: Conceptual model of gas hydrate growth conditioned by host sediment Properties”, J. Geophys. Res. 104, B 10, 22985-23003.

  43. Beta Blocker says:

    Alan Robertson says: December 13, 2013 at 1:40 pm You and others of like mind are having an effect. Just scan through the comments of any online article regarding climate or weather and see that the warmists are subjected to overwhelming ridicule. …. Here’s one example: http://discussions.latimes.com/20/lanews/la-fg-wn-snow-israel-egypt-20131213/10?page=2

    Reading the kind of commentary the article is generating, it appears the LA Times has rescinded its previous decision not to publish the comments of climate skeptics. Is that what’s happened there at the LA Times?

  44. DirkH says:

    David Middleton says:
    December 13, 2013 at 2:18 pm
    “Natural gas prices would have to rise to about $20/MCF and remain at least that high for about 50 years to make gas hydrates economic.”

    Given that technology does not cut down the costs of gas hydrate mining, relative to other mining activities.

  45. DirkH says:

    Martin Hovland says:
    December 13, 2013 at 5:07 pm
    “3) This is one of the reasons why it is very hard to produce methane from hydrates formed in Natural systems. The moment you get a flow going, the same moment it freezes up and self repairs (a self-sealing system, like most seeps).”

    Very interesting! That explains how BP’s efforts at capping the Macondo well failed initially due to hydrate buildup.

    And here’s an idea to exploit this nasty effect: Pump a bunch of Methane hydrate into a storage hall. Siphon off released Methane. Now you have
    a) a low-flow source of Methane
    b) a long lasting refridgeration facility that stays cool until it has released all its Methane.

  46. u.k.(us) says:

    David Middleton says:

    December 13, 2013 at 4:43 pm

    @Steve Mosher,

    It would be a false dilemma fallacy if it was a serious argument. I was clearly being facetious, prefacing the serious part of the post with some sarcastic humor. I thought the humor was so obvious that I didn’t need to use /sarc off notation.
    ===============
    A noble thought, that underestimates the stupidity of this reader.

  47. Alan Robertson says:

    Beta Blocker says:
    December 13, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    http://discussions.latimes.com/20/lanews/la-fg-wn-snow-israel-egypt-20131213/10?page=2

    “Reading the kind of commentary the article is generating, it appears the LA Times has rescinded its previous decision not to publish the comments of climate skeptics. Is that what’s happened there at the LA Times?”
    _____________________________
    If the Times had that policy, then…

  48. Alan Robertson says:

    Oops!
    I meant to add to reply to Beta Blocker:
    …this would be further evidence that the walls are tumbling.

  49. Jimbo says:

    In the Alaska experiment, they warmed the permafrost by 2°C over a 20-yr period (10 times the actual rate of warming since the 1800s) and there wasn’t the slightest hint of an accelerated methane release.

    Check out the treelines further north than now during parts of the Holocene. Methane didn’t play ball or if she did she was eventually defeated. 1-0.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/10/24/claim-last-100-years-may-be-warmest-in-120000-years-in-the-arctic-but-not-so-fast/#comment-1457628

    Just how damned hot do Warmists imagine it’s going to get this century? I say imagine because so far it doesn’t look like runaway carbonoxious / methane induced thermal meltdown. The Arctic was bloody freezing this summer, Arctic sea ice extent up on last year by 50%, Antarctica record highs, no global warming for over 16 years, snow in Jerusalem and Cairo, USA frigid. Brrrrrrrrrr.

  50. Jimbo says:

    Here is Dmitrenko who Shakhova cited some time back via Revkin of the New York Times.

    Dec. 29, 9:28 a.m. | Addendum |
    Igor Dmitrenko, whose paper is cited above, disputes the interpretation of his work by Semiletov and Shakhova. He sent this comment, starting with a quote from their statement:

    “The model in the Dmitrenko paper [link] assumed a thaw point of zero degrees. Our observations show that the cornerstone assumption taken in their modeling was wrong. The rate at which the subsea permafrost is currently degrading largely depends on what state it was in when recent climate change appeared. It makes sense that modeling on an incorrect assumption about thaw point could create inaccurate results.”

    This assessment of the model we used is completely wrong! The model takes into account that water can remain unfrozen at temperature below 0 degrees – “…the simulated temperature of sediments down to 25 m is below 0°C (dark blue line in Figure 6). Note that the sediments can still remain unfrozen because of the salt contamination”, page 7, right column, first paragraph.

    This comment by Dr. Semiletov clearly demonstrates that he even didn’t carefully read our paper. Figure 6 shows simulated temperature profiles below the seafloor as a function of depth with unfrozen sediments at temperature below 0°C in the upper 30 m layer.

    http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/12/27/leaders-of-arctic-methane-project-clarify-climate-concerns/?_r=0

    When are these nuts going to let go of the Arctic methane horse dung?

  51. Bob Greene says:

    Well, there is another climate scare put to sleep for a few months. If the methane clathrate release was likely, it seems that it would have happened earlier. We seem to need a new terror or a recycled older terror about impending climate doom. I wonder what’s next.

  52. Jimbo says:

    Methane timebomb runaway warming has never occurred. It didn’t happen during the warmer Eeimian interglacial. it didn’t happen during the warmer Holocene Climate Optimum. It has NEVER happened otherwise……….

  53. ossqss says:

    I must say that I almost thought I am watching a monty python video for the first minute. Between the first sound through the young lady butchering names and the long pause……

    Looking forward to the remainder and Leif too !

  54. Jimbo says:

    The poor penguins have to walk further now to reach the sea. It’s actually caused by global warming. The Arctic September extent bounce on 2012 was also caused by global warming. Jerusalem’s children knowing what snow is is also caused by global warming. Record cold in Antarctica is also caused by global warming. No surface temperature rise for over 16 years is as a direct result of increased co2 and no global warming. This is science.

  55. Bob Greene says:

    http://nypost.com/2013/12/12/beneath-yellowstone-a-volcano-that-could-wipe-out-u-s/

    Will methane end the world before the Yellowstone super volcano does us in?

  56. Dudley Horscroft says:

    MarkW says:
    December 13, 2013 at 2:02 pm
    “If the permafrost truely is melting, where did all of that methane go. It didn’t make it to the atmosphere. Methane concentrations have been pretty much constant for more than a decade.”

    Methane plus oxygen plus source of ignition = carbon dioxide plus water. Lightning strikes are a massive source of ignition. No, the amount of methane is so low that the flame cannot continue, but every strike removes some methane. And it is also removed by bushfires, cars, aircraft, railway engines, trucks, ships – anything that takes in air and heats it up so the methane is burnt.

    If these sources did not remove the methane, one would think that the atmosphere would be full of methane now.

  57. gymnosperm says:

    Do they think we live in the first ice age the earth has endured? The Carboniferous/Permian glaciation surely produced bountiful methane hydrates. Why would their release a quarter of a billion years ago when the planet recovered not have boiled the oceans then?

  58. Poptech says:

    thisisnotgoodtogo says: Has Steve McIntyre stated billing himself as a climate scientist ?

    McIntyre has too much integrity for such behavior and yet has a real B.S. in Mathematics, unlike Mosher’s B.A. in English and Philosophy.

  59. TalentKeyHole Mole says:

    No “Bomb.”

    No Nothing!

    No funding!

  60. James McCown says:

    “The Arctic methane time bomb is about to go off and turn Earth into Venus.”

    Here are Lady Gaga’s thoughts on the issue: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FqGUazdA3yE

  61. david@cagedm.freeserve.co.uk says:

    Can anyone tell me the budget available to prove that the methane sources below the ice are not the cause of the local not global warming of that area? Since they are now saying that the lack of global warming is because it is all concentrated in that sub Arctic area surely the most basic check is that it did not originate there.
    The NASA sea anomaly has always indicated the existence of sudden random hot flushes in that area totally at odds with any global source of low temperature widespread source.
    It is time climate scientists got off their well padded complacent rear ends and looked at the world itself not at the computer screens. More so since they have not even a kindergarten level as to creating a computer model properly from the publicly available examples in the UK.

  62. Henry Galt says:

    “We really need to get rid of the Eemian”.

    Thanks again David. I always enjoy your demolition jobs, reading the cited papers and wondering when the very few members of the cause can get around to ‘debunking’ them all ;)

    Funny how geologists are not the ‘go to’ guys when it comes to climate. No wonder the clowns spend so long attacking them.

  63. hunter says:

    There should be a pattern clear to all that studies which use the term “worse than predicted” or “more than previously thought” are basically phony studies, when related to climate or any other topic dominated by the so-called progressives.

  64. Bruce Cobb says:

    The real “time-bomb”, and what scares the bejesus out of these “scientists” is the soon-to-come (probably within 5 years) doom for their cherished Alarmist industry. When the quackscience blows up in the quackscientists’ faces, there will be much sound and fury, furious backpedaling and finger-pointing, but ultimately many reputations and careers destroyed. It will be a travesty.

  65. Steve from Rockwood says:

    “Arctic permafrost”. The Arctic is mostly water after all.

  66. ferd berple says:

    Methane emitted at the seafloor only rarely survives the trip through the water column to reach the atmosphere.
    ============
    bacteria and algae have regulated earth’s climate for the past 2 billion years. it is the ignorance and arrogance of humans that leads them to believe they are driving climate.

    methane is produced continually within the earth as a result of plate tectonics. limestone (fossilized CO2) and water are carried from the oceans into the earth, heated under pressure and reduced in the presence of iron from earth’s core to form hydrocarbons.

    The basic chemistry behind this is that steam and iron when combined produce hydrogen, as the iron captures the oxygen but not the hydrogen. A similar process happens with limestone and iron when heated. the oxygen is captured by the iron, the carbon is released to combine with the hydrogen from the steam, and the calcium is released back into solution. Which explains why the oceans and life itself are rich in calcium.

    The hydrocarbons, being lighter than water, percolate upwards towards the surface. bacteria consume these hydrocarbons, releasing CO2 which is captured by the oceans to produce limestone, completing the cycle.

    bacteria have been using methane long before humans learned to do so. humans, by burning methane for energy are simply recycling in a fashion similar to bacteria.

  67. ferd berple says:

    Poptech says:
    December 13, 2013 at 8:11 pm
    unlike Mosher’s B.A. in English and Philosophy.
    ==============
    He’s overqualified for climate science.

  68. joe says:

    Either :
    1) all that methane bled off during the Holcene period and someone put it all back, or
    2) it didnt bleed off during the holcene period which means it likely wont bleed off this time.

  69. Steve from Rockwood says:

    Most of the Arctic land mass is Russian. I wonder what their scientists have to say about methane release through permafrost loss?

    Back in the 1990s we were tasked with the job of re-surveying older drill holes at the Voiseys Bay exploration project (latitude 56 deg 20 min). Even in mid July many of the drill holes were frozen shut (permafrost). Problem was there was no rhyme or reason which holes were shut and which were open. Some we never did open up – too much ice. Others were frozen only for a few meters. Others still were open at surface and frozen deeper down.

    Then there were the ponds, covered with four feet of ice in the winter. I always wondered if there was permafrost under those lakes. Because northern Canada is FULL of fresh water lakes.

    My conclusion? Permafrost is not so simple.

  70. Steve from Rockwood says:

    joe says:
    December 14, 2013 at 8:04 am
    ————————————————–
    3) or whatever methane was there bled off during the Holocene and nothing bad happened.

  71. Matthew says:

    This reminds me of the nincompoopery following the September 2001 moratorium on commercial air travel that suggested that contrails masked the true extent of the AGW nightmare. As “proof” of the theory the authors (nincompoops) cited several surface temperature spikes (cherry picked of course) during the less than 72 hour period.

    It also frightens me about as much.

  72. Roger Gladdish says:

    “The only way that climate change could destabilize these deposits would be through a sudden drop in sea level.” The last time that happened was during the last ice age. Was the greenhouse effect due to the release of methane deposits a contributing factor in the global warming that brought us out of the ice age?

  73. Robert_G says:

    Re: Fred Berple “methane cycle”
    What a fascinating and great explanation!
    Aside: I find your insights and opinions to be among the most informative and interesting on the site. I look forward to reading them. Thanks.

  74. Brian H says:

    Re the Cullen blog: Google (or DuckDuckgo) “Pobiti Kamani”, aka Earth’s natural natural gas pipelines.

  75. tobias smit says:

    Thanks David for an really concise explanation of the subject. One thing I also noticed in your report was that the Arctic ocean was ice free a lot from about a 1000 to 7000 years ago, why that is of interest is that was also a period that number of cultures did explorations that have been prevented since then until just recently ( and probably will be halted again in the near future I don’t believe that we have the tech. to exploit up there jet on a long term profitable basis anyway). Tobias

    In a way that is sad but maybe the oil and mining industries will leave it alone long enough so the polar bears can return (sarc off)

  76. Andrew W says:

    David Middleton says:
    December 13, 2013 at 2:12 pm

    It’s called “humor.” Sarcasm is another one of my hobbies. I thought it was sufficiently obvious that I didn’t need to use /sarc.

    Excellent! It’s a long time since I read a post at WUWT that made me laugh as hard as this one did!

    Congratulations.

  77. Mike Jonas says:

    If ‘more than twice as much of the potent greenhouse gas [methane] is bubbling out of the rapidly warming Arctic Ocean‘ as ‘scientists previously thought‘, then they must have wildly overestimated somewhere else. See AR5 Figure 1.7 – measured methane concentration is running below every single IPCC prediction (FAR, SAR, TAR, AR4).

  78. DirkH says:

    Dudley Horscroft says:
    December 13, 2013 at 7:42 pm
    “Methane plus oxygen plus source of ignition = carbon dioxide plus water. Lightning strikes are a massive source of ignition. No, the amount of methane is so low that the flame cannot continue, but every strike removes some methane. And it is also removed by bushfires, cars, aircraft, railway engines, trucks, ships – anything that takes in air and heats it up so the methane is burnt.”

    Shouldn’t most of it be oxidized near the surface by Ozone or undergo reactions with natural volatile organic compounds, often with the help of UV photons? UV splits VOC’s into radicals, radicals react with something that wants to, or somesuch. VOC’s are emitted by plant stomata I read in the wikipedia:

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

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