Claim: Reservoirs play substantial role in global warming

From Washington State University and “the EPA and ecos now have another new tool to prevent new reservoirs in California” department:

A recent photo of a reservoir on the Snake River in Washington. (Photo by Shelly Hanks, WSU Photo Services)

A recent photo of a reservoir on the Snake River in Washington. (Photo by Shelly Hanks, WSU Photo Services)

 

VANCOUVER, Wash. – Washington State University researchers say the world’s reservoirs are an underappreciated source of greenhouse gases, producing the equivalent of roughly 1 gigaton of carbon dioxide a year, or 1.3 percent of all greenhouse gases produced by humans.

That’s more greenhouse gas production than all of Canada.

Writing [this] week’s journal BioScience, the WSU researchers say reservoirs are a particularly important source of methane, a greenhouse gas that is 34 times more potent than carbon dioxide over the course of a century. Reservoir methane production is comparable to rice paddies or biomass burning, both of which are included in emission estimates of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the leading international authority on the subject.

John Harrison, co-author and associate professor in the WSU Vancouver School of the Environment, last month attended a meeting in Minsk, Belarus, to discuss including reservoir emissions in a planned 2019 IPCC update of how countries report their greenhouse gas inventories.

Methane accounts for 80 percent

“We had a sense that methane might be pretty important but we were surprised that it was as important as it was,” said Bridget Deemer, WSU research associate and lead author. “It’s contributing right around 80 percent of the total global warming impact of all those gases from reservoirs. It’s a pretty important piece of the budget.”

The BioScience analysis, which drew on scores of other studies, is the largest and most comprehensive look to date at the link between reservoirs and greenhouse gases, Harrison said.

“Not only does it incorporate the largest number of studies,” he said. “It also looks at more types of greenhouse gases than past studies.”

Acre per acre, reservoirs emit 25 percent more methane than previously thought, he said.

The researchers acknowledge that reservoirs provide important services like electrical power, flood control, navigation and water. But reservoirs have also altered the dynamics of river ecosystems, impacting fish and other life forms. Only lately have researchers started to look at reservoirs’ impact on greenhouse gases.

“While reservoirs are often thought of as ‘green’ or carbon neutral sources of energy, a growing body of work has documented their role as greenhouse gas sources,” Deemer, Harrison and their colleagues write.

Gases from decomposing organic matter

Unlike natural water bodies, reservoirs tend to have flooded large amounts of organic matter that produce carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide as they decompose. Reservoirs also receive a lot of organic matter and “nutrients” like nitrogen and phosphorous from upstream rivers, which can further stimulate greenhouse gas production

In 2000, BioScience published one of the first papers to assert that reservoir greenhouse gases contribute substantially to global warming. Since then, there has been a nine-fold increase in studies of reservoirs and greenhouse gases. Where earlier studies tended to be confined to reservoirs behind power stations, the newer studies also looked at reservoirs used for flood control, water storage, navigation and irrigation.

The WSU researchers are the first to consider methane bubbling in models of reservoir greenhouse gas emissions. Also, while previous papers have found that young, tropical reservoirs emit more methane than older, more northern systems, this study finds that the total global warming effect of a reservoir is best predicted by how biologically productive it is, with more algae and nutrient rich systems producing more methane.

The authors also report higher per-area rates of methane emission from reservoirs than have been reported previously. This means that acre-for-acre the net effect of new reservoirs on atmospheric greenhouse gases will be greater than previously thought. Reservoir construction around the globe is expected to proceed rapidly in coming decades.

Largest study of reservoir greenhouse gas emissions

“There’s been a growing sense in the literature that methane bubbles are a really important component of the total emissions from lake and reservoir ecosystems,” said Deemer. “This study revisited the literature to try and synthesize what we know about the magnitude and control on methane emissions and other greenhouse gases—carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide.”

The result is that, in addition to being the largest study of reservoir greenhouse gas emissions to date, it is the first to comprehensively look at the flow of all three major greenhouse gases—carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide—from reservoirs to the atmosphere.

The work is in keeping with WSU’s Grand Challenges, a suite of research initiatives aimed at large societal issues. It is particularly relevant to the challenge of sustainable resources and its themes of supplying food, energy and water for future generations.

Funding sources include the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Climate Preparedness and Resilience Programs, the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. None of the funders had a role in the design of the research or the interpretation of its results.


All well and good, but I wonder, what would these researchers find if they performed the same study on natural lakes? It seems to me that natural lakes exhibit all of the same processes, but over longer time scales. They say in the PR

Unlike natural water bodies, reservoirs tend to have flooded large amounts of organic matter that produce carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide as they decompose. Reservoirs also receive a lot of organic matter and “nutrients” like nitrogen and phosphorous from upstream rivers, which can further stimulate greenhouse gas production.

That may be true, but many natural lakes have formed in the same way, rivers and streams do get blocked by natural events to produce natural lakes. Plus, there is a time limit, most reservoirs have been built in the last 100 years, and once the flooded biomass decays, the peaks they may observe disappear. And, there are scores of reports of natural lake producing methane seeps, such as this one documented by NASA in the Arctic.  https://earthdata.nasa.gov/user-resources/sensing-our-planet/leaking-lakes

And there are others. Mono Lake in California, a large, shallow saline soda lake in Mono County, California, formed at least 760,000 years ago as a terminal lake in an endorheic basin was shown in 1987 to have significant methane seeps:

http://www.monobasinresearch.org/research/arsenic/Mono.NatlGas.GCA.pdf

In a 2009 study of methane seeps in Qalluuraq Lake by the University of Alaska, where the lake produces so much methane that they considered harnessing it to power the village of Atqasuk, they note:

Recent work revealed that seeps may contribute as much as 50-70 million tones of atmospheric CH4 per year, or ~10% of global sources.

http://ine.uaf.edu/werc/werc-projects/methane-gas-seeps/

Now, I’m not sure who’s right. University of Alaska says by the above statement that total global sources of methane would be about 500-700 million tonnes, yet in this new WSU study fingering reservoirs, they says “…roughly 1 gigaton of carbon dioxide a year”.

Hmmm, somebody’s assessment is off.

For reference, here is a March 2016 graph of methane emissions:

Second only to enteric fermentation (digestion by ruminant animals), natural gas extraction and use accounts for the highest methane emissions across the world. (NASA Earth Observatory image by Joshua Stevens, using data from the EPA.)

Second only to enteric fermentation (digestion by ruminant animals), natural gas extraction and use accounts for the highest methane emissions across the world. (NASA Earth Observatory image by Joshua Stevens, using data from the EPA.)

And finally, I think these researchers are making some assumptions about how reservoirs are built that might not be true about the amount of flooded biomass. For example, note the treeline at Lake Oroville in California in this photo – they removed the trees prior to filling:

Lake Oroville, CA seen from the top of the dam. Image: Wikipedia

Lake Oroville, CA seen from the top of the dam. Image: Wikipedia

Oh well, it makes great AGW theater:

Advertisements

141 thoughts on “Claim: Reservoirs play substantial role in global warming

  1. Facepallm:

    To quote the Greenie Watch:
    “But in the atmosphere, water vapour absorbs the same solar wavelengths. And water vapour is many time more frequent than CH4. So there is little or nothing left for CH4 to absorb after water vapour has done its work. In real life its presence or absence in the air has virtually no effect at all”

    • ” Underappreciated “. Balderdash; we appreciate all of the sources of atmospheric CO2 that we can get !

      G

    • And don’t forget the beaver dams. Like this one, over 1/2 mile long. http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2010/05/04/enormous-beaver-dam-visible-space.html Obviously the beavers should be paying a carbon tax for their environmental insensitivity. No doubt further research will reveal that N. American beavers were responsible for the MWP, and that the Hudson Bay Company triggered the LIA by turning millions of those little outlaws into beaver skin hats for export to Europe.

    • We should probably check the validity of this climate claim first before we do that… How are we going to save the planet by killing all the species living in the lakes? That’s a complete double negative.

    • We should probably check the validity of this climate claim first… How are we going to save the planet if we’re just going to drain and kill all the species living in the lakes? Honestly, that’s a complete double negative.

  2. I believe that the EPA’s methane emissions from natural gas production were based projections from questionable studies on leakage from gas wells and production sites. Accepting the EPS’s premise of substantial leakage runs counter to logic. If you are producing natural gas for sale, why would you allow a significant amount of your profits to leak away into the atmosphere?

  3. The conventional theory (Callendar Revelle Hansen Lacis) frames the AGW problem in terms of “extraneous carbon” external to the surface-atmosphere carbon cycle and climate system brought up by man from deep under the ground where such carbon had been sequestered from the surface-atmosphere system for millions of years. The essence of this theory is that the injection of “extraneous carbon” into the delicately balanced surface-atmosphere system in the large quantities involved is not natural but an unnatural and dangerous perturbation of nature that will upset the surface-atmosphere climate system with potentially catastrophic results.

    emissions of carbon from surface sources such as forest fires, the use of wood fuel, the use of dried cow dung as fuel (in india) and the carbon exhaled from any aperture by animals and by man represent the conversion of surface carbon from one form into another and therefore does not constitute the injection of extraneous previously sequestered carbon into the surface-atmosphere system. This is why, for example, the use of wood pellets as fuel in power plants is “green”. The carbon in wood pellets is surface carbon not extraneous carbon.

    Therefore:
    1. carbon emissions in the form of methane due to enteric fermentation and rice cultivation are surface phenomena and therefore green.
    2. carbon emissions in the form of methane and carbon dioxide from reservoirs derive from vegetation and other carbon life forms that were flooded when the reservoir was created. this carbon is also surface carbon and therefore green.

    i could cite more examples but these two examples should suffice to point out that AGW theorists appear to have forgotten AGW theory and are now counting all carbon without regard to whether the “emission” is part of the surface system or whether it is a perturbation of the surface system by previously sequestered carbon brought up by man from deep under the ground in the form of fossil fuels.

    sincerely
    @chaamjamal
    ssrn.com/author=2220942

    • From the study: “Unlike natural water bodies, reservoirs tend to have flooded large amounts of organic matter that produce carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide as they decompose. Reservoirs also receive a lot of organic matter and “nutrients” like nitrogen and phosphorous from upstream rivers, which can further stimulate greenhouse gas production”

      So per the study, “flooding the large amounts of organic matter” artificially creates decomposing organics that wouldn’t have decomposed without the flooding? Is it magical organical material?

      And the fact the runoff, that is already laden with organic matter (that would decompose somewhere else) is then concentrated at the reservoir, and is assumed to stimulates greenhouse gas production???

      WRT Co2, the worst case is that the reservoir area is removed from the cycle … allowing other areas to green faster.

      WRT methane, I don’t know … but I would guess that the overall & long term methane production would be be reduced.

      • And apparently all those ‘natural’ lakes are sterile on the bottom and have no biomass that dies and becomes decomposed.

  4. I’ll ponder that while I’m fishing at Toledo bend , running my gas burning outboard. On second thought …. nope!!!

    • Or we all can ponder this. When one of my daughters was 4 years old she got really upset when we didn’t bring back a stringer of this colorful species

    • Row, row, row your boat…wait, I bet they will say that rowing boats pollutes the air with CO2 due to the rower exhaling very strenuously.

      • No, no, the CO2 comes from the open beer(s) the rower(s) are consuming in order to maintain their moral.

  5. Lakes and Reservoirs act as cooling bodies — lake & Reservoir breeze just like sea breeze. This helps transport of energy. It always counter act the warming. Also, the use of reservoir & Lake water keeps the dry areas under greenery for longer period of a year. Essentially they are cooling the rural environment to a large extent causing rural-cold-island effect to counter urban-heat-island effect.

    Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

    • A reservoir is a big change in land use. For years Pielke Sr. has asserted that land use has a big effect on regional climate. link

      • That’s all well and good, cBob, but the Envirostalinists/profiteers are touting this stuff to claim that methane will cause global warming. Even adding all the tiny (relative to the globe, which is over 70% ocean) regional effects together doesn’t add up to GLOBAL warming (or “change” or whatever).

        They want to limit our freedom for: nothing.

      • “From Washington State University and “the EPA and ecos now have another new tool to prevent new reservoirs in California” department…”

        This is the absurd aspect Anthony is referencing.

        Desalination is California’s future. Yet, eco loons like the tinfoil hats from the SurfRiders management inhibit logical progress. The irony, members of the SurfRiders aren’t aware of the foolishness. They just joined to get updates for great waves.

        Desalination doesn’t require storage if engineered correctly – it simply needs to meet demand ; )

      • This comment is lost on deaf ears but may be of sme muse to one who now enjoys every sound.

        I recently moved from SoCal to the Bay Area.

        Before we left SoCal we enjoyed a trip to Catalina Island. Great food and great fun yet the island’s water supply is rain water. The damn island is surrounded water!

        California was once known for insight? …are you?

      • I presented details under ecological changes chapter in my book “Climate Change: Myths & Realities” online in 2008.

        Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

    • In a majority of cases I agree yet some lakes sit on top of volcanoes.

      There’s currently a statewide alert related to earthquakes in or near the Salton Sea in Southern California. The “sea” is actually a lake on top of a 15 mile wide magma chamber located on the San Andres fault.

      Activity and exhaust from this Lake are normal for volcanic ares and the surrounding area is largely undeveloped.

      So, all lakes and reservoirs are not cooling bodies.

      • All lakes and Reservoirs are cooling bodies. The natural disasters — earthquakes, volcanoes, tidal/cyclonic fury, etc — related issues are not part of this as they destroy the eco-system based on the intensity of the system.

        Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

      • Dr. Reddy – please post a link to your book. Looking forward to a good read!

        I completely disagree with the notion “all lakes” are cooling bodies. You’re presenting additive logic without regard for subtractive.

  6. Swamps create swamp gases. Lakes…not so much, hardly any, actually. None of this stopped any Ice Age from happening. Over and over again, Ice Ages happened and then suddenly ended. And it wasn’t due to any ‘gasses’ for either event.

    • Great point, emsnews. You hit this nonsense with a game winning body block. For YEARS, now, the Envirostalinists/true believers/”sustainability” cult members have been wailing about “killing off all the wetlands….. where are the frogs????”

      World Wetlands Day is celebrated every year on 2 February. This day marks the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands on 2 February 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar on the shores of the Caspian Sea. Since 1997, the Ramsar Secretariat provides outreach materials to help raise public awareness about the importance and value of wetlands.

      (Source: http://www.ramsar.org/activity/world-wetlands-day-2016 )

      They can’t have it both ways.

      ******************************

      Also, related to a powerful point made above (and below, too, no doubt), METHANE IS JUST A tiny effect greenhouse gas (in the climate system called “earth”). WATER is the key (and reservoirs’ puny little water vapor contribution is spit compared to the OCEANS)

      … 0.00017 percent … is { } the percentage of methane in Earth’s atmosphere. That’s a trivial amount, you say: 1.7 parts per million. There’s three times more helium and 230 times more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. …

      (Source: https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/04/13/methane-mendacity-and-madness/ )

      The Pacific Ocean is Earth’s largest surface feature, covering one-third of the globe and large enough to contain all of Earth’s land masses with area remaining. Oceans have 250 times the mass of the atmosphere and can hold over 1,000 times the heat energy. Oceans have a powerful, yet little understood effect on Earth’s climate.

      Even the greenhouse effect itself is dominated by water. Between 75 percent and 90 percent of Earth’s greenhouse effect is caused by water vapor and clouds.

      (Source: https://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/10/07/climate-change-is-dominated-by-the-water-cycle-not-carbon-dioxide/ )

  7. Quoting this common propaganda style of claim,

    “Writing [this] week’s journal BioScience, the WSU researchers say reservoirs are a particularly important source of methane, a greenhouse gas that is 34 times more potent than carbon dioxide over the course of a century.”

    They go all over the map with claims of potency,which has ranged from 12 to 40 times,which is highly misleading as CH4 has a very small IR absorption range,far from the main terrestrial outflow bands. Plus its residence time in the atmosphere is waaaay less than 100 years anyway,which is really around 3 years?

    They need to stop with this propaganda bullcrap!

  8. I own a considerable stand of forest in the New England mountains and cut wood periodically there. My forest is so very happy, it is growing like crazy and the wildlife living there is quite happy, too. But no ecologist is happy, if they came to my mountain they would be pissed off that I live there too, in my house.

  9. You got it. Droughts and floods are caused by man made carbon emissions. So, humans figure out that they can reduce the harm from floods and droughts by building dams and reservoirs. But, that is bad also because reservoirs release methane, which causes floods and droughts. The solution is to eliminate humans or, at a minimum, prosperous humans who live long. healthy lives.

  10. Two points:

    “…methane, a greenhouse gas that is 34 times more potent than carbon dioxide over the course of a century”

    That is 9 higher than the last published bid of 25 times more potent. It is worse than we thought.

    Trees emit about 4% of the CO2 they take in as methane due to the inefficiency of their converting it to wood. That means for every 96 CO2 molecules they convert, the emit 4 x 34 = 132 CO2-equivalent GHG gas molecules of methane. Clearly, we are going backwards by planting trees.

    And that is ‘over the course of a century’ which just goes to show that the people who alarmed that it was for only 20 years, are wrong. It is 80 years more pollution than we thought!

    The inevitable conclusion is that trees, and in fact all living biomass, are net-warming when they grow, and worse if you burn them. I sure hope there is some sort of self-governing feedback at play like cloud cover from excess humidity or we are doomed by the forest.

    Next: If they drown all the biomass in the world in reservoirs and rot it to methane, it would make a heck of a lot less GHG gases than allowing those filthy trees and shrubs (shrubs, can you imagine? And flowers!!) to continue spewing methane into the atmosphere – the direct result of their inefficient, polluting solar energy conversion process. And after 100 years those trees would still be living on, continuing to pollute our pristine environment with that wretched methane gas.

    There oughta be a law! Of course in California there very well might be.

    • There is such a law, but it exempts tana leaves. Jerry Brown will still be able to get his supply.

  11. I can’t help but wonder what, if any, thought went into the EPA graph of March 2016 methane emissions. A rational approach to such a graph would be to put the sources in order of increasing total contributions, or alternatively, in order of increasing rate of contribution. They aren’t even in alphabetic order. It would seem that someone just randomly put the data on the graph. Does that instill much confidence that they gave much thought to the collection, validation, and analysis of the raw data?

    • “what, if any, thought went into the EPA graph of March 2016”

      “Thought” and “EPA” in the same sentence – wow.

      DoesnotcomputeDoesnotcomputeDoesnotcompute. . . .

    • On the contrary, mixing up data like that hides any conflicting information that data might contain. I expect a lot of thought went into how the data was arranged.

  12. “The BioScience analysis, which drew on scores of other studies…” Another computer study perhaps? And how many of these “other studies” report measured methane emissions from water bodies, and, of course, the land areas surrounding them for comparison? How do water bodies in arid areas compare with those in treed areas.? And what was found and to what accuracy?

    A few facts might help understanding.

  13. Internally inconsistent. Says the equivalent of 1Gt CO2. Then says equivalent to rice paddy. Rice paddy is per EPA less than 0.5Gt. And both are rounding error compared to natural gas leaks and ruminant digestion. How to make a scary number–80% of water reservoir emissions. 80% of a small deminimus number is a smaller deminimus number.

    How to solve methane based global warming: Eliminate rice from diet. Eliminate meat from diet. Eliminate reservoir water from diet. Eliminate flood control. Eliminate natural gas as a fossil fuel (no leaks, no combustion CO2, a twofer). After billions die in Asia, Australia, the western US, and elsewhere from floods and winter cold, methane mitigation will have made a real dent in global warming. Even more effective AGW mitigation than intermittent renewables.

    • ristvan,

      You beat me to it.

      We had a sense that methane might be pretty important but we were surprised that it was as important as it was,” said Bridget Deemer, WSU research associate and lead author. “It’s contributing right around 80 percent of the total global warming impact of all those gases from reservoirs. It’s a pretty important piece of the budget.

      80 percent of the

      1.3 percent of all greenhouse gases produced by humans.

      is one heck of a molehill to make a mountain out of.

      • Almost Phil R:

        80% of the ‘total global warming impact’
        of all those gases from reservoir’s.

        With her statement, Bridget Deemer, has contributed a terrific example of Climate Change baffle gab. String together important sounding words and hope no body in the audience is listening.

        All of which comes from:

        “…The WSU researchers are the first to consider methane bubbling in models of reservoir greenhouse gas emissions…”

        They developed their own freaking models!!
        Then to make it sound ‘really’ dangerous, Ms. Deemer had to enclose the money statement in nearly unintelligible bad sentences.

        Just how much more gases do reservoirs actually emit than did the previous stream/drainage and surrounding plant litter and small creatures?
        But that is not what is ‘studied’.

        Then they calculate their idea for total GHG impact of the gases emitted from modeled reservoirs.
        And 80% of that is allegedly caused by methane.
        Methane, a very short lived atmospheric gas. Somehow, I doubt that methane’s short life is accounted for.

  14. Apparently no offsetting credit will be added for all of the biomass that is grown with the water used for irrigation.

    So what happens to the organic matter that falls into the rivers? Most of it likely moves with the water until it eventually settles out in stagnant water somewhere along the river or final delta at the mouth of the river. Once it accumulates, the aerobic bacteria will use up the oxygen (while releasing CO2) and the decay will proceed under anaerobic conditions and generate methane. So how much difference does a reservoir make?

  15. So, no reservoirs, no transportation, no food production, no air-conditioning, can’t use heat, no pesticides, can’t have kids, dogs, livestock.

    I’m noticing a trend here.

    Frankly, if simply living here and surviving on the planet contributes to climate change, I say ‘so be it.’

    No footprint means we might as well not be here at all.

  16. Excerpted from above commentary:

    Unlike natural water bodies, reservoirs tend to have flooded large amounts of organic matter that produce carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide as they decompose. Reservoirs also receive a lot of organic matter and “nutrients” like nitrogen and phosphorous from upstream rivers, which can further stimulate greenhouse gas production

    It matters not a twit where that dead biomass (organic matter) is deposited, …… be it on the ground where it is subject to moisture, in creek channels, in river channels, in human constructed ponds, lakes or reservoirs, in tidal zones or in natural lakes, ….. microbial decomposition of said dead biomass will occur.

    And ps, there is far, far, far, far, FAR more surface acreage of rivers and natural lakes than there could ever possibly be for human constructed water impoundment areas …… and thus it is asinine and utterly idiotic for the study authors to publish their silly conjecture…

  17. Oh, the inanity!
    On the bright side, using their own “logic”, this newfound and “surprising” source of warming would then take some of the heat off of fossil fuels. Own goal.

  18. The stuff that collects in the reservoirs would else be washed out in the oceans, and who knows how much methane it produces there. Have they measured the amount of methane the oceans release?
    By the way, most lakes have an inlet as well as an outlet, so they must produce like a dam.
    I feel they put a magnifying glass to a limited area, and then cry the alarm for whatever they discover without setting it in context.

  19. But…but…but these reservoirs were built to generate “green” energy! If we drain them how will we replace all that hydroelectric power. Burning coal, natural gas, and building nuclear plants comes immediately to mind.

    Do these people ever read and think about what they are saying and the consequences of same?

  20. After stumbling across this just yesterday.
    http://www.ecowatch.com/hydropower-methane-climate-change-2024731803.html
    I searched WUWT to see if this scurrilous effort to discount hydropower as renewal had been discussed here.
    This claim in the additional linked piece from that…
    http://www.ecowatch.com/dams-cause-climate-change-they-are-not-clean-energy-1881943019.html

    “Organic material—vegetation, sediment and soil—flows from rivers into reservoirs and decomposes emitting methane and carbon dioxide into the water and then the air throughout the hydro-electric generation cycle. ”

    What about the rivers themselves? The Columbia river for instance?
    The organic material in reservoirs is not created by the dams. It would be rotting in the river anyway.

    This is no more than a continued effort to further disqualify renewable hydropower as being renewable in order to create a false, elevated need for wind and solar renewable with subsidies.
    Some years ago the lying Sierra Club successfully lobbied greasy politicians in California, Oregon and Washington to remove their hydro from renewable category in order to concoct the tall tale for wind and solar subsidies.
    The entire arena and agenda is a rotting stench of corruption.

    • Steve Oregon, The truth is by the methodology employed in these studies the common beaver, nutria, and musk rat need to be considered dangerous rodents in need of careful monitoring and inhibited from extending their ranges. More jobs for uselessly miseducated youth.

      • You are correct, fossilage, ……the wetlands created by Beaver dams are little more than rotting biomass cesspools that are outgassing copious amounts of CO2 and CH4.

        “HA”, it’s a good thing that the fur traders/trappers killed millions of Beavers during the 18th and 19th Centuries, ….. otherwise the atmospheric CO2 would surely be around 600 ppm now days.

  21. According to the emissions graph shown above, the fastest rate of growth appears to have been between 2000 and 2005. This is interesting (or simply nonsense). Atmospheric methane showed zero growth during this period. Further, AFAIK there is no accepted explanation for the growth in atmospheric methane which re-started in 2006/2007, other than it not being consistent with fossil fuels. The incremental methane in the atmosphere since then has a δ13C value that is, at least on average, lower than the current atmospheric level of -47.4 per mil. A back-of-the-envelope calculation gives a value for the incremental methane of -55 per mil. This is by no means definitive, but does imply a greater influence from biogenic sources than from thermogenic sources. Indeed, that was the conclusion of a new paper referenced here:

    http://www.science20.com/news_articles/wetlands_and_agriculture_not_fossil_fuels_behind_the_global_rise_in_methane-180488

    What we don’t have is any explanation for the growth restarting.

    A useful source of methane data can be found here: http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/dv/iadv/graph.php?code=BRW&program=ccgg&type=ts

  22. Note the picture of Lake Oroville. When it was first flooded about 47 years ago, there was considerable vegetation left on the hillsides. Today, as is typical with at least most California reservoirs, the lowering water has exposed denuded shorelines. While some of that vegetation may have become waterlogged and sunk into deeper, colder waters, the picture doesn’t make a strong case for actively decomposing organic material. Anyone who has swum in the lake knows that in the Summer there is often a strong thermocline a couple meters below the surface that betrays the cold bottom temperatures. The cold inhibits bacterial decomposition. Something that should be explored is whether the annual algae blooms are contributing to the claimed methane releases.

  23. I am really surprised that no one has attempted to study the CO2 output at all the sports stadiums around the world this weekend, or any weekend for that matter. I wonder what they would find.

  24. They’re missing the one obvious solution. Reduce the number of humans breathing CO2 out into the atmosphere. Maybe they could come up with a table that would allow us to determine how many people we would have to ‘eliminate’ from an area to counter the effect of the proposed reservoir? Or, in the case of California, a table to equate the effect of cows & reservoirs so any municipality that has cows & wants a reservoir can determine how many cows they’ll have to slaughter to ‘balance’ things out. Hey, wait, maybe Cali should pass legislation requiring ALL residents to be vegetarian or vegan — no meat allowed.

  25. Regarding “Now, I’m not sure who’s right. University of Alaska says by the above statement that total global sources of methane would be about 500-700 million tonnes, yet in this new WSU study fingering reservoirs, they says “…roughly 1 gigaton of carbon dioxide a year”:

    Using the figure of methane being 34 times as potent as CO2, that gigaton of CO2 (equivalent) is about 30 million tonnes of methane.

    • And since, 34 x negligible (overwhelmed by the supervening proximate cause of water vapor) = negligible,

      the impact of methane is:

      virtually nothing.

      That you “think” or “believe” methane causes any change in the climate of the earth is not science. It is pure speculation.

  26. “Funding sources include the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Climate Preparedness and Resilience Programs, the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. None of the funders had a role in the design of the research or the interpretation of its results.”

    C’mon. Does anybody, anywhere, seriously believe that the Obama administration’s US Army’s ‘Climate Preparedness and Resilience Program’ (scare quote emphasis mine); or the (we the NSF members better get with the Obama administration’s program) NSF; or the Obama administration’s EPA had any role whatsoever in this research, or its design, or its interpretation? I call bull on that, especially since they came right out and made that claim. Otherwise, why even bring it up? Those high living public servants are poking us right in the eye.

  27. Avid sport fishermen can tell you that newly created reservoirs are fishing hotspots, for the first few years after being filled with water. After that, the fishing action slows down to a relative steady state. Why? Because initially, there is indeed a wealth of newly submerged biomass within and on the soil of the lake bed which contributes to the food chain, but it is sequestered, or used up and depleted after a few years. Nutrient replenishment from runoff and erosion never again reaches initial conditions.

  28. If only you’d put this phrase in the introduction:
    “…methane bubbling in models of reservoir greenhouse …”
    Then I would have known that this ‘study’ is just more made up excrement-in, excrement-out computer games and stopped reading.
    Do climastrologists ever get off their fundamental orifii and go outside to actually measure anything anymore?

  29. The National Hydropower Association released a statement to counter these claims. There was a news article about it that I am sharing a link with, as I thought the whole article was too long to copy and paste here.

    http://tinyurl.com/jjwuust

  30. What a tragedy that these people wasted so much of their lives on this trivial “study!” At best, they are rearranging the whoopie cushions on the deck chairs of the Titanic.

    • And, I’m pretty sure, Mr. Kafkazar is saying that AGW/CAGW is “The Titanic” (not the earth).

      Ha! No “planetary emerrrrgenceeeeeee!” — just the SS AGW sinking due to the water that rushed through all the holes in it (rats clinging to whatever they can find to keep afloat)!

      BLAM! BLAM!

      ((((BLAM!)))

      The Science Big Guns of WUWT won the battle**!

      *
      *
      *

      **Yes, yes, the War for Truth will go on until time is no more, but the BATTLE is won — just the pesky, pernicious, mopping up operations which, yes, will take years, but

      AGW
      is
      over.

      • The war is not over. And WUWT may have won the battle but, that doesn’t mean WUWT has won the war. Heck, WUWT can win every battle and still lose the CAGW war.

        The CAGW war won’t be won until the body is cold, dead and buried. And even then, I’d view the grave with a dose of skepticism.

      • As we speak, the POTUS is making stuff up to excuse his draconian (and probably illegal) actions to control “carbon.”

  31. With these methane emissions higher than previously thought, they can upload the new data into the climate models and be even more out of whack with reality.

  32. Washington State University researchers say the world’s reservoirs are an underappreciated source of greenhouse gases, producing the equivalent of roughly 1 gigaton of carbon dioxide a year, or 1.3 percent of all greenhouse gases produced by humans.

    That’s more greenhouse gas production than all of Canada.

    If there are any young people reading this, there are a couple of basic things you may not know about reservoirs and dams.

    Dams across rivers perform any one or all of these 8 uses:
    1. Dams provide reliable and inexpensive electricity to the state and to neighboring states
    2. Dams provide irrigation to the surrounding valleys and hills, which are then planted with vinyards, orchards, and cereal crops
    3. Dams control flooding, when not mismanaged
    4. Dams provide drinking water for communities
    5. Dams make rivers which are too shallow for part of the year navigable
    6. Dams provide reserves for fish and birds
    7. Dams reduce the soil erosion on the banks by reducing the river’s current
    8. Dams provide a place to go and boat, hike, or fish

    And so when environmentalists who are hawking Anthropocene Age Science tell people that reservoirs emit gases which cause global climate problems, you need to be able to understand what they are asking you to throw away.

    It is like a man who becomes convinced that various bricks in his home have no use, until he has torn down his own house with his own hands. Or, it is like the person who begins to delete all the programs on his computer that he does not recognize and does not think he needs. When he is done, he has cleaned his computer in his own mind. But in fact he has removed essential services and is going to have a brick.

    Good luck, and I hope you can understand a little better what has been done by previous generations, which we have inherited, and which they engineered for many good reasons.

    • Before I respond to your post, I would like you to know that I am not an environmentalist, right-wing, left-wing, democratic or republican or any other label/stereotype one might attach to another based on that others opinion.
      1.”Dams provide reliable and inexpensive electricity to the state and to neighboring states”

      That’s false and vague at best. Canada is building more and more dams every year and the cost of power is going up always. Not to mention how much power is sold to the NE Atlantic states from Quebec.

      2.”Dams provide irrigation to the surrounding valleys and hills, which are then planted with vineyards, orchards, and cereal crops”

      True, but not to the extant one might think. Vineyards and cereal crops don not require that much water anyway, and most grain farmers already have climates that provide more than enough water for their wheat etc.

      3.”Dams control flooding, when not mismanaged”

      Its not that easy, especially during 3-4″ rainfalls when a thunderstorm just unloads- theres only so much they can hold back upstream. So flooding an area manages flooding in another???? that’s a weak argument to make in favor of dams.
      4.”Dams provide drinking water for communities”

      True, but really only to subdivisions and cities, but to most out in the country side…… aren’t wells there main source? Regardless that’s not a bad example, so I agree there with you.

      5.”Dams make rivers which are too shallow for part of the year navigable”

      Really dude? I can go off on this one, but I won’t. I don’t want to be here all night.

      6.”Dams provide reserves for fish and birds”

      False! they actually harm river fish and most need to move up and down rivers freely for various reasons. And as for birds, they prefer the shallow waters of swamps and ponds and not these large… deep dead lakes.
      7.” Dams reduce the soil erosion on the banks by reducing the river’s current”

      Only downstream and not at times after torrential pours.

      8.”Dams provide a place to go and boat, hike, or fish”

      Again, just like 6, its a deep dead lake. What about all the hiking that people used to do along the river terrace for miles and miles that can no longer take place because an area the size of Manhattan has now been flooded out???

      Hydro dams are not “green energy”. Do you people have any idea how much concrete is needed for a dam? All the truck loads back and forth huh???

      What about flooding the surrounding area, what about all the people displaced because of these dams?
      What about the 1000’s of miles of forest destroyed and logged just to build the lines across vast tracks of wilderness??
      Come here to Canada and go visit western Quebec and tell me what man in his right mind would approve of such a thing?

      Almost every wild river across northern Canada has either been dammed once or multiple times or is being studied for a dam…. and for what? Not for me or you and your home, but for industry. Industry takes mans birthright, rapes it, sells it back to you and pollutes it in the process.

      And lets not forget the minor earthquakes that are now caused by some of the worlds largest reservoirs. Here in Canada the government is well aware of this and has openly admitted that it is happening.

      How dare they take these arteries and pinch them the way they do…. how dare they.

      Screw the EPA, screw those for it, screw Agenda 21. Agenda 21 and the rewilding project is the major reason that dams are being taken out or no longer being approved, but my resistance to dams has nothing to do with agenda 21.

      I just think that dams are a terrible destructive thing to do to the earth, along with the production of radioactive waste.

      • @ kenin – October 3, 2016 at 6:44 pm

        I just think that dams are a terrible destructive thing to do to the earth, along with the production of radioactive waste.

        And I assume you have the same exact opinion about the construction of all the railroads and highways in North America in that you also believe they were/are “terrible destructive things to do to the earth ”, ………. RIGHT?

      • @ Samuel

        Some industry is much less harmful than others. You can build railways and roads without having to reroute water and log 1000 miles of forest. And are you really making the comparison between roads/railways and radio active waste. Tell Samuel: what do they do with radioactive waste?

  33. “It’s [methane] contributing right around 80 percent of the total global warming impact of all those gases from reservoirs.”

    I wonder if they bothered to include water vapor evaporating from the reservoirs in that analysis?

  34. Reservoirs are for flood control, hydro, irrigation, recreation, even environmental remediation, or some combination of such.

    Reservoirs that drain annually are going to behave differently than those that don’t drain or change significantly with respect to elevation. Methane production in reservoirs that drain 90% of their volume (I made that up) is 75% (made this up to) less than recreational reservoirs that do not drain. As such recreational reservoirs are the main culprit in reservoir contribution to our eventual demise.

    Since the subject study did not differentiate between types of reservoirs that were sampled, more study will be needed … please send money.

    • DonM, there are quite a few Army Corps dams that were built specifically for “flood control” but also provide tremendous recreational value all year round, ……. even during the late Fall, Winter and early Spring when the water-level behind the dam has been reduced by at least 75%.

      Iffen it’s a flood control dam ……. it can’t function as such iffen it is filled to the brim with water when or if the seasonal flooding occurs.

      There are three (3) Army Corps “flood control” dams within 23 miles of where I live. 1 to the North, 1 to the South and 1 that is 2 1/2 miles up-river.

      • That’s my point (I’m not real good at making it clear at times). Reservoirs operate differently; since they operate differently throughout the year, it is not reasonable to lump them all together and assume that the C02 and methane outputs are the same across the board.

        My guess is that flood control facilities (with annual significant drawdown) produce methane or CO2 as a small fraction of year-round stable/static facilities.

        (Cottage Grove, Dorena, & Lowell?)

  35. “Funding sources include the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Climate Preparedness and Resilience Programs, the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. None of the funders had a role in the design of the research or the interpretation of its results.”

    While our Military are underfunded and have reduced training, poor maintenance, and massive cuts in readiness, it is unconscionable that we are squandering their budget on such foolish activities at the orders of the Commander. I guess this is in addition to the annual $20+ budgeted for climate change, also squandered.

  36. Dams are not for you nor was that ever the intention of big industry. Dams were and have always been for industry.

    The major energy hogs are all commercial in nature. The common man and his home need very little in the way of electricity.
    Go independent, produce your own and divest from these goons.

    • kenin: The “common man” works for and is kept fed and clothed and sheltered by “big industry.” His home may not need much electricity, but his dentist’s office and hospital, do. Ahem.

      GO, “BIG INDUSTRY!” :)

      • At Janice

        First of all, I’m not against all industry, some industry should and can be done within reason.
        Also, our poor way of life and decisions-especially the past few decades have just raised our level of dependency on industry.
        Do you really think we need diamond mines?- is that a necessity?
        Do we really need mining for uranium, just we can hide the radioactive waste 2km below the earths crust.?
        What about asbestos?

        get my drift?

        I can justify proper logging practices and proper mining practices for things that we need and last. But some other crap is far to destructive, invasive or far too large.

        What I can’t justify is you and others avoiding all the points I raised in my post, not too mention Fossilsage who resorts to insults and nothing of substance. I’m not an anarchist eco-loon you troll.

        Hydro dams are garbage and my 1o years of research clearly shows that. Both of you go ask the people of Chile and China who lost their homes and themselves after large corporations FORCED them off their land in the name of electricity.

        Canada’s pension plan has a lot of money invested in those dams out in Chile, if you guys only knew.

    • The “common man,” as you put it, Kenin, buys food, autos, electronics, housing, furniture, clothing, carpeting, water, and dozens of other things that are shipped and/or manufactured using energy, much of it electrical. That’s on my planet; I don’t know what it’s like on your planet.

    • That won’t work for anyone living in a city, with regulations, particularly with rental property – particularly in blue states where property rights are becoming virtually non-existent.

  37. As farm ponds age, the oxygen content of the pond decreases, and, the methane produced from aerobic vegetation decomposition becomes a factor in fish survival.

    Now, there is aeration of ponds, lakes, and reservoirs that proved oxygen to pond/lake/reservoir lower levels that mitigate methane production and provide an environment for fish survival. Hmm, provide oxygen in oxygen starved regions of bodies of water, and voila, fruitful benefits. A surface oxygenator, maybe using photo electronic power.

    I guess it all depends upon what is important and what an environmental group wants to support:: continued vociferous objections or a little fresh air into the system?

  38. it is the first to comprehensively look at the flow of all three major greenhouse gases— carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide—from reservoirs to the atmosphere.

    OMG they forgot about water vapour. Imagine, all those reservoirs pumping out water vapour into the atmosphere. Gasp – not only is it Worse Than We Thought, it’s even Worse Than We’re Capable of Thinking.

    Perhaps they’re saving the water vapour for their next blockbuster publication. That must be it. Why squander all your doom-and-gloom in a single paper?

    To get serious for a minute; this study would have real meaning if they had compared the emissions from reservoirs with emissions from the same geographic area before it was flooded (nearby similar terrain would do quite well as a proxy in a real study). It would also have studied changes in emissions from a freshly flooded area as it evolved into a mature reservoir and used up all the land vegetation that originally was present. It would also have considered what might have happened to all the upstream organic debris that settles in a reservoir and rots, if the reservoir had not been there. Do they imagine that it just vanishes?

    I’ve commented before on the exponential growth in the number of universities and the inevitable consequent decline in the quality of research they generate. You could hardly find a better example of what happens to research when it’s performed by people who probably wouldn’t recognise a piece of critical reasoning if it jumped up and bit them in the nuts.

  39. So what. Carbon dioxide is not now or in the past caused any global warming or climate change. This follows from a comparison of the Keeling curve and global temperature history. Global temperature goes up and down with time and may even go down for thirty years as it did from 1880 to 1910. Keeling curve has no corresponding fluctuations and is just absolutely smooth. If any global temperature fluctuations we know of are caused by the greenhouse effect of carbon dioxide they can be detected by a change of atmospheric carbon dioxide, as recorded by the Keeling curve. And no such increases of carbon dioxide can be found on the Keeling curve, checking back as far as 1850.. This absence of CO2 increases in step with temperature increases tells us that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere could not have created any of the warmings shown on the global temperature curve. It follows that the anthropogenic greenhouse effect touted by IPCC simply does not exist.This makes mitigation and decarbonation worthless. All such projects, especially those emanating from Copenhagen or Paris, ought to be closed down and the money returned to the donors who were cheated out of it.

    • “…reservoirs are an underappreciated source of greenhouse gases, producing the equivalent of roughly 1 gigaton of carbon dioxide a year, or 1.3 percent of all greenhouse gases produced by humans.”

      Negligible, forget it. With CO2 lacking teeth (see above) the “CO2 equivalent” of those other gases is not a problem. As far as the action of greenhouse gases goes, none of the ones you mention matter because water vapor is the only one that counts. It makes up 95 percent of all greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. On that same scale carbon dioxide comes in at 3.6 percent.

  40. “…reservoirs are an underappreciated source of greenhouse gases, producing the equivalent of roughly 1 gigaton of carbon dioxide a year, or 1.3 percent of all greenhouse gases produced by humans.”

    Negligible, forget it. With CO2 lacking teeth (see above) the “CO2 equivalent” of those other gases is not a problem. As far as the action of greenhouse gases goes, none of the ones you mention matter because water vapor is the only one that counts. It makes up 95 percent of all greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. On that same scale carbon dioxide comes in at 3.6 percent.

  41. I’ve been trying to save the Planet for 40 years…by using mainly wood for residential heating and for making hot water via a thermosyphon system wherein only 2 lengths of regular old larger gauge water pipe is run through a cook stove’s firebox, and the heated water is stored in an adjacent hot water tank.

    But I refuse to stop passing gas because it’s “natural”, and not passing gas might train one’s colon to become constipated instead of properly moving things along. The back pressure might also balloon out some diverticuli upstream and they could explode! And just where does all that pent up gas go anyway?!

    But maybe that’s why I haven’t gotten any carbon credits yet. Otherwise I’d be hoping to double down on my retirement and move to where the Girls Gone Wild really are, because they certainly haven’t made it up here to 45 degrees North as promised by The Science! And I really doubt that discovering more methane gas sources to report on will help me out or even lift my hopes..

    Although the Scientists seem quite titillated by their discovery that Reservoir Gas is gonna kill the Planet and it’s all our fault, and I’m sure their target audience is too, I am not amused!

  42. As chaamjamal pointed out : October 3, 2016 at 9:30 am
    This is not additional release since the “carbon” is already part of annual carbon cycle, so it does not change anything.

    The only thing could be regarded as additional is the biota that are lost when creating a new dam. Add the GHG to “carbon footprint” of building the dam. That’s all.

    Plus this study is based on their own model and they don’t seem to have any experimental data .

  43. It is important to lambast hydro which is stupidly NOT counted as “renewable” in the US, because if they did count it they would already have fulfilled the promises to generate a certain percentage of electricity from “renewables” and could stop “decarbonising” and would not need to shut coal power stations.

  44. Anybody remember W. F. Ruddiman? Published a book about 10 years ago called Plows, Plagues and Petroleum in which he called methane from agricultural standing water–ponds, irrigation ditches, etc.– the most important greenhouse gas?

  45. This development in the ‘study’ of the many contributing causes of climate change reminded me of the multitude of studies into the dangers of passive smoking that were all the vogue some 25 years ago. If you amalgamated all the dangers of passive smoking into one package, it was clear that to avoid the dangers of passive smoking, it was safer to be an active smoker.
    If we added up all the percentages that these various factors contribute, I am sure that the sum of these is now well over unity.

    • ASP,

      Both the “anti-CO2 causing AGW“ …… and the “anti-cigarette smoking” societal re-education movements …. are by far the greater “Cash Cow” flim-flam scams ever perpetrated upon the gullible American populace.

  46. Methane? There is more methane being created from organic matter in the soil then from Man made bodies of fresh water. The real problem is not methane but DHMO. All fresh water bodies need to be drained and their contests destroyed so that no related greenhouse gases can enter the atmosphere ever again. To solve the methane problem, all organic matter needs to be banned from this planet and destroyed in such a manner so that no related greenhouse gases are allowed to enter the atmosphere.

    In the town where I live, the primary greenhouse gas has at times become so concentrated that it condenses our of the air as a liquid. The city knows about this problem and has provided a network of underground pipes to collect the liquid greenhouse gas and dump it just our side of city limits. The pool of liquid greenhouse gas has become enormous and nothing has been done to stop the liquid greenhouse gas from evaporating and reentering the atmosphere. The EPA needs to come along and force the city to get rid of the pool of liquid greenhouse gas they have created in such a manner that no greenhouse gas is allowed to enter the atmosphere at any time.

    Then there are the two gasses that are primarily responsible for keeping the Earth’s surface as warm as it has been. These are two gasses that according to AGW theory do not lose energy by radiating to space the way that the so called greenhouse gases do. These gases and all materials that can create them need to be banned from the Earth. The gas in our atmosphere with the greatest climate sensitivity is not a molecule with carbon in it but rather N2. Roughly speaking, the IPCC attributes a climate sensitivity to CO2 of between 1 and 4 degrees C but the climate sensitivity of N2 is more like 30 degrees C. Despite its much higher climate sensitivity, nothing is being done to rid our atmosphere of N2.

    • Yes, spot on Mary.

      I gave a link above, but obviously no interest in the actual data.

      I think d13C both in CO2 and CH4 is enormously important but far be it from me to question the dogma.

  47. After my last post, I take it that most people are on this blog just to satisfy their own egos and find satisfaction in posting some quick witted vague comment that doesn’t address every point made by other bloggers or the blog host.
    Too many trolls, too many un-willing to open their eyes get out of academia.
    When people respond to other bloggers, it would only make sense that you try and rebut, refute or agree with every point that’s being made, otherwise you’re nothing but a troll.

Comments are closed.