New AGU study negates the climate ‘methane emergency’ in Alaska

One of the most “out there” climate activist groups is the Arctic Methane Emergency Group, a collection of luminary scientists who are convinced we are on a one-way trip to perdition in a picnic basket because Arctic methane is going to cause runaway feedbacks:

AMEG-statement-methane-feedback

THURSDAY DEC. 4 2014 – Press Conference Room 2, COP-20, Lima

PRESS CONFERENCE ANNOUNCEMENT
Arctic Methane Emergency Group

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

TIME: Thursday, December 4, 2014, 12:00-12:30 PM

SUBJECT: Arctic meltdown: a catastrophic threat to our survival
AMEG calls for rapid refreezing of the Arctic to halt runaway melting

Just who would direct Gaia to do this “rapid refreezing”? Inquiring minds want to know. Since they have not updated their web page since December, 2014, perhaps there is no emergency after all….Gavin seems to think not. Or, maybe they just decided to run away from the conspiracy theory rantings of AMEG member Dr. Peter Wadham, or his failed prediction of an ice-free Arctic.

wadhams-murder-conspiracy

Or, maybe they’ve all been terminally targeted by the “hit man”, I sure hope not. I do know this, AMEG member Paul Beckwith is still with us, as he’s apparently sending me some hilarious email and is active on Twitter.

Meanwhile, AGU says there no trend in Alaskan methane. Look for calls of “big oil shill” to be levied at AGU any minute now for ‘denying” this so called emergency, must be their yearly sins.

From the American Geophysical Union:


Study: As Alaska warms, methane emissions appear stable

Fate of carbon stored in permafrost remains subject of intense research

WASHINGTON, DC — Analysis of nearly three decades of air samples from Alaska’s North Slope shows little change in long-term methane emissions despite significant Arctic warming over that time period, according to new research published in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union.

Scientists estimate that Arctic permafrost, a thick layer of frozen soil that encircles the globe, contains two and a half times as much carbon as has been emitted since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. As the region warms, this carbon will be released from the permafrost’s icy grip.

Scientists need to know where that carbon will go and what form it will take. This has become more critical since the Arctic is warming faster than other regions of Earth, with corresponding losses in sea ice coverage. Some models suggest that a portion of that carbon will be released as methane, a potent greenhouse gas that has almost 28 times the warming influence of carbon dioxide over a 100-year timescale.

In the new study, researchers from the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado Boulder, NOAA, NASA and other university partners examined 29 years of continuous, precision measurements of atmospheric methane and other gases from the NOAA Barrow Atmospheric Baseline Observatory, which is part of NOAA’s Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network.

“There has been a huge increase in Arctic warming, and while we do see spikes in methane due to short-term temperature changes, we’re not seeing a long-term change in methane levels,” said Colm Sweeney, a CIRES scientist working at NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder and lead author of the new study.

But that doesn’t mean thawing permafrost isn’t releasing carbon, Sweeney said. “It’s happening. It just isn’t showing up as methane.”

Arctic permafrost contains an estimated 1,000 gigatons (1,000 billion tons) of carbon. Besides being emitted as methane, carbon stored in thawing permafrost could be released into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide, carried off by meltwater into river systems, or taken up by vegetation as plant communities expand their range.

The team supplemented the continuous measurements from the Barrow observatory with measurements made by a five-year, NASA-led airborne campaign known as CARVE (Carbon in Arctic Reservoirs Vulnerability Experiment), which helped them nail down methane’s seasonal and long-term trends in the region. They saw an uptick in methane levels in late fall and winter, but no long-term signal across Alaska’s North Slope.

“Bacteria that produce methane and bacteria that consume methane will both become more active as temperatures get warmer,” said Steven Wofsy of Harvard University and co-author of the study. “Our study suggests that over the past 30 years, these processes have balanced out in the study area.”

The researchers conclude that observed short-term methane spikes from the Arctic will likely have little impact on global atmospheric methane levels in the long-term.

This finding is critical to science’s understanding of how the Arctic is responding to the unprecedented disruption of its climate and the degradation of permafrost. The lack of significant long-term trends indicates that processes regulating North Slope methane emissions need more study.

With little observed change in methane emissions, researchers are further examining the Barrow observatory’s dataset for signs that the permafrost has been emitting carbon dioxide, by far the most significant of the greenhouse gasses, as it may be more affected by large temperature changes (and by extension, melting permafrost) in the Arctic. The Barrow dataset features in an upcoming paper on Arctic carbon dioxide levels co-authored by Sweeney. Several other research efforts are also examining this hypothesis.

###

This research article will be freely available for 30 days from the date of publication. A PDF copy of the article can be downloaded at the following link: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2016GL069292/pdf

 

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57 thoughts on “New AGU study negates the climate ‘methane emergency’ in Alaska

  1. I’ve been wondering where we will get new CO2 to pump into the atmosphere once fossil fuel deposits start to run out. We can’t let CO2 levels drop to near starvation levels again.
    Looks like Arctic permafrost is the answer.

  2. So, can I assume that at some other time, it must have been warm enough up there to grow all those plants that ended up sequestering all that carbon in the deep freeze? It had to get there somehow, right?

  3. I would like to tender for the re-freezing contract, what temperature do you want it down to ?

  4. The Artic methane explosion – The reason that the arctic methane bomb did not explode during any of the prior warming periods is that the methane inherently knows not to manifest itself unless the warming was caused by excessive CO2 emitted by Mann. The current warming caused by man (even though significantly less than prior warming periods) is more that sufficient to set off the unreversable methane bomb that will result in catastrophic warming.

    Its a shame that science deniers would continue to deny basic science.

  5. “Arctic warming” and “Ocean acidification” are two peas in a pod. If going from a pH of 8.1 to 8.0 is acidification, then I suppose going from -30 C to -20 C is warming rather than just being less cold. Furthermore, is that “warming” even enough for bacteria to do anything? Do they not have to thaw out first?

  6. despite significant Arctic warming …..
    …if they would stop adjusting it so much….it wouldn’t be so significant

    • I’d like to see a climate reference network style station placed in a couple of places in the far Arctic Circle to compare readings with the interpolated from 1500km away adjustments. Right now I can’t honestly say whether the Arctic is warming or not – forget determining its precedence in history.

  7. ‘for signs that the permafrost has been emitting carbon dioxide, by far the most significant of the greenhouse gasses’

    What? Seems to me I grew up understanding that WATER VAPOUR was the most significant.

  8. Where have all the carbon sinks gone?
    Long time passing
    Where have all the carbon sinks gone?
    Long time ago

    Where have all the carbon sinks gone?
    Gone to clathrates everyone
    Oh, when will they ever learn?
    Oh, when will they ever learn?

    Where have all the clathrates gone?
    Long time passing
    Where have all the clathrates gone?
    Long time ago

    Where have all the clathrates gone?
    Gone for methane everyone
    Oh, when will they ever learn?
    Oh, when will they ever learn?

    Where has all the methane gone?
    Long time passing
    Where has all the methane gone?
    Long time ago

    Where has all the methane gone?
    Gone for CO2 everyone
    Oh, when will they ever learn?
    Oh, when will they ever learn?

    Where has all the CO2 gone?
    Long time passing
    Where has all the CO2 gone?
    Long time ago

    Where has all the CO2 gone?
    Gone to carbin sinks, everyone
    Oh, when will they ever learn?
    Oh, when will they ever learn?

  9. Where are methane hydrates found?
    Enormous amounts of methane hydrate have been found beneath Arctic permafrost, beneath Antarctic ice and in sedimentary deposits along continental margins worldwide. In some parts of the world they are much closer to high-population areas than any natural gas field.
    Methane Hydrate: The World’s Largest Natural Gas Resource
    geology.com/articles/methane-hydrates/
    Search for: Where are methane hydrates found?
    Can Methane be a solid?
    What is frozen methane?
    How is methane is formed?

    • P10, see essay Ice that Burns for detailed answers to all your questions. Subpermafrost Artic methane clathrate is mostly thermogenic (ordinary natural gas migrated from underlying source rock). Marine sediment methane clathrate is mostly biogenic (from methanogens) except in GoM. Neither is much of a natural gas resource, especially marine sediments-too diffuse, insufficiently porous (sandy). The methane is not solid, nor is it frozen. It is a gas trapped in a frozen ice cage, hence clathrate. One CH4 for every 8 H2O. How formed? Thermogenic from marine kerogens, biogenic from methanogen decomposition of organic matter. Clathrates form naturally under conditions of sufficient pressure at sufficiently low temperature. The Arctic and temperate oceans below about 800 meters along continental shelves.

      • ristvan,

        I studied methane hydrate/clathrates when I was working on my geology degree back in the 1980’s as part of a coastal plain geology class. I’m no expert, but they didn’t scare me then and they don’t scare me now. I’m just gobsmacked how 30+ years later they have become a sign of the next coming of the apocalypse.

  10. “With little observed change in methane emissions, researchers are further examining the Barrow observatory’s dataset for signs that the permafrost has been emitting carbon dioxide, by far the most significant of the greenhouse gasses…”

    Since water vapor is 95% of greenhouse gasses, you would think it deserves a mention as “by far the most significant of the greenhouse gasses.” CO2 is less than 4% of greenhouse gasses, and the human contribution to atmospheric levels of CO2 is only 3.6%, leaving the human contribution to total greenhouse gasses at less than 0.002%.

    It it reminiscent of “The Mouse that Roared”

  11. These people tend to talk about carbon as if it was an evil entity, some scary hobgoblin of doom.
    Rather than the basic building block of all life on Earth.
    I think I need to buy a manikin, and dress it up like a warmista.
    My slappin’ dummy, you know…just to get it outta my system.

    • They hate trees and especially Ents. Ask Saruman about how nasty trees are!

      Seriously though, they really seem psychotic about tree food. Trees love H2O and CO2 both. And it seems our rulers think the O2 stuff magically appears out of thin air and not when trees eat the C first.

    • Trees…the ultimate fuel source just cut down and burn.
      Cut down … destroy the Carbon sink
      then Burn … releasing CO2 into a decimated Carbon sink

      Makesa whole lotta sense

    • “My slappin’ dummy,”

      Hey! That’s a good idea!

      Too bad we can’t reach through that tv screen sometimes and do a little slapping of real dummies. :)

  12. It’s been imminent doom for the last fifty years. Yet another dreadful scenario that just doesn’t work out as the apocalyptics claim. It did probably work as a fund-raising subject, though.

    • Have you seen their beach-front mansions, Tom?
      with floodlights burning 24/7/365, and scary personal jets?
      If not, may I suggest a scintilla of doubt about the funding success?

      Auto – not yet fully attuned to the imminent dooms spouted by warmistas.

  13. “. . .we are on a one-way trip to perdition in a picnic basket. . .”
    Toto took one of those trips. Remember how it ended up for the witch.

  14. The ice is on the surface of the ocean and the methane hydrates are hundreds of feet under the ocean floor that is over 3400 feet below the surface on average.

    I’m left wondering what arctic ocean ice has to do with methane hydrates?

    • Brian
      Same Ocean. (1)
      Same need for funding – far an executive lifestyle on the backs of the tax-payers. (2)
      Same belief system as the Mann who Made Climate Change, too.(3)
      Same need for funding – far an executive lifestyle on the backs of the tax-payers.(4)
      Same need for funding – far an executive lifestyle on the backs of the tax-payers.(5)
      Same need for funding – far an executive lifestyle on the backs of the tax-payers.(6)

      Do you get the picture?

      Auto, in a mildly repetitive mood.

  15. That CO2-detecting satellite should provide an answer to the question of how much the Arctic is emitting. Why haven’t we hear reports from it recently?

    • just like all their thermometers it can’t see the Arctic well … bad angles … Arctic measurements are pure conjecture and guesses based on a handful of human observations … in other words nobody really knows anything about it …

  16. The big, huge, elephant-in-the room point that the methane huffers religiously ignore is that methane has only a five year half-life in the atmosphere. It turns over much faster than their limited thinking can handle. The same is true for CO2.

  17. My guess is that as the permafrost warms up, and starts giving up its methane, bacteria eat the methane before it can get to the atmosphere.

    Approximately 30 Mt of methane are removed from the atmosphere annually by uptake in soils. Soils contain populations of methanotrophic bacteria that can oxidise methane, by a process known as ‘high affinity oxidation’. These bacteria consume methane that is in low concentrations, close to that of the atmosphere (<12 ppm). The bacteria favour upland soils, in particular forest soils. Surprisingly, the bacteria responsible for high affinity oxidation processes remain largely unidentified. link

    In other words, it’s happening but hasn’t been sufficiently studied.

    • commieBob
      Agree.
      “In other words, it’s happening but hasn’t been sufficiently studied.”
      Still a need for funding – for an executive lifestyle on the backs of the tax-payers.
      But, here – real science: –
      No funding.
      No gorgeous conferences in exotic locations.
      No live interviews on CNN, BBC, CBC, etc. etc. [fill in your local trash-talking network].
      No ‘Scientist of the Year’ accolade in the Warmista Post-Courier.
      No executive lifestyles, most likely.

      Tragic loss of science to Ad-Land.

      Auto, a bit pessimistic tonight.

  18. the infrared absorption spectrum of methane is covered by the absorption spectrum of water vapor. A lot of competition for the few methane molecules up in the air.

  19. “a portion of that carbon will be released as methane, a potent greenhouse gas that has almost 28 times the warming influence of carbon dioxide over a 100-year timescale”

    Is the effect different from ’28 times’ at other time scales?

  20. Not even Gavin the Schmidt, Hansen’s heir, buys into the methane catastrophe. I suspect even he may be privately embarrassed by the claims. Which is plausible, if only because the faces of climate science show no public embarrassment, at all, ever.

  21. The *real* danger of carbon is cancer:
    1 in 1 trillion atoms of carbon in the atmosphere is radioactive carbon-14,
    carbon is absorbed by plants and finds it’s way into all our food (except table salt and water),
    about 40% of our food is carbon,
    the carbon in our food is the source of the carbon in our DNA,
    about 40% of our DNA is carbon,
    radioactive carbon from our food makes its way into our DNA every time our body’s cells reproduce,
    when the radioactive carbon in our DNA decays it absolutely WILL cause a mutation,
    the common agent that causes all known cancers is mutations from DNA damage.

    Conclusion: radioactive carbon-14 is a known cause of the mutations behind cancers.

    Carbon from fossil fuels contains NO radioactive carbon-14.
    Burning fossil fuels adds SAFE carbon to the atmosphere, diluting the radioactive cancer, and thus reducing the radioactivity of our food, and also the radioactivity of new DNA.
    Every 3 seconds approximately 10 radioactive carbon atoms in a human’s DNA decay to produce a nitrogen-14 atom, a beta particle, and a DNA mutation.
    Fossil fuels are GOOD for us all.

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