Huge Ancient Methane Seeps Discovered in the Canadian High Arctic


Boulder, Colo., USA: Cretaceous climate warming led to a significant methane release from the seafloor, indicating potential for similar destabilization of gas hydrates under modern global warming. A field campaign on the remote Ellef Ringnes Island, Canadian High Arctic, discovered an astounding number of methane seep mounds in Cretaceous age sediments.

This is the first methane mound, Canadian High Arctic. Credit: Stephen Grasby and Geological Society of America Bulletin

Seep mounds are carbonate deposits, often hosting unique fauna, which form at sites of methane leakage into the seafloor. Over 130 were found covering over 10,000 square kilometers of the Cretaceous sea floor. They occurred over a very short time interval immediately following onset of Cretaceous global warming, suggesting that the warming destabilized gas hydrates and released a large burb of methane. Given that methane has 20 times the impact of CO2 as a greenhouse gas, such a release could have accelerated global warming at that time. This discovery supports concerns of potential destabilization of modern methane hydrates.

A field campaign was run during 2009-2011 to map the geology of Ellef Ringnes Island. Around the same size as Jamaica, this is one of the most remote and difficult to access islands in the Canadian High Arctic, and as such not much was known about the geology. A remote helicopter supported field camp was established in 2009, with a peak of 30 geoscientists working from the camp in 2010 as part of the Geological Survey of Canada’s GEM Program. The island, and its neighbor Amund Ringnes Island, were named after brothers who founded Norway’s Ringnes Brewery that funded the exploration of the region conducted by Otto Sverdrup in the early 1900s

As part of this work, Krista Williscroft, Stephen Grasby, and colleagues intended to reinvestigate strange spaghetti-like rock that was noticed, but the origin not understood, during the first geologic mapping of the island in the 1970s. Years later, a geologist saw a sample of this feature sitting on his colleague’s desk and was intrigued by its spaghetti like nature. Chemical analyses revealed that this was a carbonate rock formed by the oxidation of methane, and the spaghetti texture was formed by fossil tube worms. This was shortly after the first discovery of methane cold seeps in the modern oceans and became the first recognition of such features in the geologic record. In this case, it was known to have formed during the Cretaceous, the time of the dinosaurs roamed the earth, around 110 million years ago. Sadly, these original samples were lost, and given the remoteness of the location, it was not possible to gain more, limiting any further work.

Methane Cold Seeps
Methane cold seeps are similar to the more famous black smokers in that they form isolated ecosystems as oasis in the deep ocean, but are lower temperatures and form away from mid-ocean ridges. They forms at sites were natural methane gas leaks into seawater. Microbes oxidase this methane as a source of energy and produce carbonate deposits as a by-product. In the modern world, these sites are characterized by an unusual abundance of tube worms, bivalves (clams), molluscs, and other animals that survive on the microbial mats that grow there. In the rock record, they stand out as very unusual features that have this strange spaghetti-like appearance related to fossil tube worms and an abundance of other fossils. As they form in deep water they also stand out as resistant carbonate mounds in rock that is otherwise easily eroded shale.

New Discovery
In 2010 the intention was to revisit the site first discovered in the 1970s. It stood out as a small mound on the otherwise rolling landscape of arctic tundra. From this site another mound could be seen in the distance, which raised the tantalizing possibility of a second site. Some hard walking through thick mud paid off when it was reached, revealing another fossil methane seep. From there a further mound could be seen, and on and on. This lead to more than four weeks of trudging from mound to mound through muddy tundra, and the discovery of over 130 methane seep mounds in the rock record. This is now one of the most extensive sites of these features known anywhere in the world, covering more than 10,000 square kilometers.

A key feature of this discovery is recognition that all the seep mounds formed during a very narrow range of geologic time. Because they form by leakage of methane into seawater it implies that something at that time caused a large release of methane into the ocean. The timing is coincident with a period of global warming, and Williscroft and colleagues suggest that it was this warming that released methane frozen as methane hydrates in the sea floor, as a relatively sudden methane “burp.” If correct, this has important implications for modern warming of the Arctic Ocean. Similar frozen methane hydrates occur throughout the same arctic region as they did in the past, and warming of the ocean and release of this methane is of key concern as methane is 20x the impact of CO2 as a greenhouse gas. Release of methane hydrates has previously been suggested as a mechanism to drive runaway greenhouse events, as warming oceans releases trapped methane that causes further warming and releases more methane. The extensive methane seep mounds across the remote arctic island of Ellef Ringnes may be a caution from the past regarding potential impacts of modern warming of the Arctic Ocean.


Extensive Cretaceous methane seepage, Ellef Ringnes Island, Canadian High Arctic
Krista Williscroft, Stephen E. Grasby, Benoit Beauchamp, Crispin T.S. Little, Keith Dewing, Daniel Birgel, Terry Poulton, and Krzysztof Hryniewicz;
Contact: Steve Grasby, A higher-resolution version of each image is available from Steven Grasby.


146 thoughts on “Huge Ancient Methane Seeps Discovered in the Canadian High Arctic

    • “this warming that released methane frozen as methane hydrates in the sea floor”
      Just asking questions of you smart guys for my information:
      How and why are there frozen methane hydrates in the sea floor to begin with? What is their freezing point? Why aren’t they all unfrozen below the sea floor if they would be unfrozen in the sea water – why would it be significantly colder below the bottom of the ocean than the water temperature for very long periods of time? If there were areas of significant temperature difference, I would think it would be warmer due to vulcanism. If they were unfrozen in the past, what is the source of new frozen methane hydrates below the ocean?

      Also, do we know where these concentrations of methane hydrates are? If so, perhaps they would be usable at some point, as co2islife smilingly advises.

      • Golly, they must really be getting desperate to have gone back to the well one more time with this one, though, huh?
        Had almost thought even THEY had gotten sick of trotting this old chestnut back out for another breathless gander.
        But…when ya gots nothin’, ya gots nothin’ I suppose.
        To be a truly dedicated warmista, you need several mental deficits, educational gaps, and personality traits… and right up near the top of the list, nearabouts to “Complete Ignorance of, or inattention to, Earth History” and “Willful Abandonment of, or Inability to, Observe and Adhere to Basic Principles of Logic” is that most prized quality of Warmista Enlightenment Culture: “Improbably High Degree of Selective Attention to Relevant Facts and Principles”.
        Yessirree boy…gotta have that strong ability towards Laser Beam focus on selected details, as well as that Zen-like ability to mask the other relevant details from one’s mind.
        Or, at the very least, a willingness to pretend to do so.

      • Thanks very much for the links, richardscourtney and ACK. I’ve read through them. Seems like it forms whenever methane molecules go through the seawater under fairly common conditions. Definitely a lot of methane which could give a lot of energy if it could be harvested.

      • ACK’s link is telling because it is in Colorado in the Cretaceous inland sea at a depth of 300 meters. Same venting process, but at a similar latitude to today at a depth and likely temperature not suitable to methane calthrate. Calthrates can form at the pressure of 300m only near 0 C. Not likely in a shallow inland sea at 40N.

        Methane, besides being produced biotically by archea, is also produced abiotically in serpentinization. The serpentinization reaction is highly exothermic, leading to “mud volcanos” and similar venting.

        The Cretaceous was extremely tectonically active with rapid seafloor spreading rates. Those vents in the “High Arctic” may well be cousins of the ones in Colorado, with the current calthrates forming later from residual when the ocean cooled.

      • SocietalNorm
        In attempting determining the value of any piece of scientific analysis it is good to establish if the assumptions that the authors’ made are valid. In this case at appears that the primary assumption is that the methane was stored in marine shales as methane hydrate prior to being released and expelled from these sediments as a mobile gas.
        Our first test of this assumption is to establish the stability of methane hydrates at the expected temperature and pressure of the sediments on the seabed of this basin during the early Cretaceous. In the case of the Cretaceous the temperature of deep marine basins of the present world is not the key to the past, it is likely that the abyssal temperature of the then world ocean was 16C and not the modern world’s ice age induced abyssal temperature of 4C. So the first question can be answered by following the link to the phase stability diagram that Richard Courtney supplied.

        From this the minimum water depth for stable methane hydrate on the seabed at 16C appears to be >1000 metres, but note that this diagram is not for salt water and so this minimum depth is an underestimate. So was this a temperature rise, or indeed pressure fall, induced release of methane gas from hydrate in seabed sediments in a basin with a kilometre of sea water? I have my doubts that the methane was stored as hydrates to any great extent if at all.
        Then we have the problem of the worms. What were they eating? Perhaps it was biological detritus in the sediments? Certainly organic rich source rocks were deposited in this basin in the early Cretaceous, but this requires anoxic bottom water and the worms require oxygen. Then there is the issue of the carbonates in the sediments, oxidised carbon, and not reduced carbon, so we can deduce that the abyssal seabed sediments were oxygenated at this time.
        Here is an alternative hypotheses:- The basin had previously undergone a phase of anoxic sedimentation leading to the formation of organic rich shales. The organic sediments in these buried shales then underwent biological degradation by methanogens, anaerobic bacteria that form methane. This gas then moved to the surface at a time when the basin was no longer anoxic. The methane was used as a resource by methanotroph bacteria in the surface muds. These bacteria were food for the worms and the oxidised methane remained in the sediments as carbonate minerals.
        And so how much methane escaped into the atmosphere and what proportion remained in the seabed muds? Well that depends on how effective the biochemical process of converting methane gas to carbonate mineral actually was. It seemed to keep the worms fed.

    • Wow, thanks guys. The WUWT article on blog posts being better than peer review is correct. You have been able to explain things to the uninformed and presented substantial alternate theories on the paper.

  1. They are still looking for that “warming trigger” that once pulled, means climageddon. Methane seems like a likely culprit. But it is wishful thinking on their part.

    • We are clearly dealing with unscientific fools when they say ” methane is of key concern as methane is 20x the impact of CO2 as a greenhouse gas”. Because methane is approx 200x less common in the atmosphere that CO2, that “impact” is actually 20/200 or one-tenth that of CO2

      And because we know the CO2 effect on temperature is essentially zero*, then methane’s effect is approx one-tenth of zero.

      As a career geologist, I’m deeply saddened this kind of intellectual tripe is published in the Geological Society of America Bulletin, but then the GSA Board went down the “AGW” rat-hole long ago.

      Not the membership, but certainly the Board – – – true of most professional/scientific organizations, all taken over by eco-warriors and environ-MENTAL-ists

      *approx one-third of all man-caused CO2 releases to the atmosphere have occurred in the last 20 years, all the while satellite-measured atmospheric temperatures have remained essentially unchanged

      • wrong.

        [for somebody who demands constantly “show your code and work” of others, you surely can be an arrogant SOB in your own assertions, and without even explaining why. It’s almost Mann-like. This is why people are starting to tune you out- Anthony]

      • Close enough, gross effect assuming known concentrations and claimed relative impact, [CH4] is approximately 1.8 ppm, hence 20*1.8/400=0.09, i.e. less than one-tenth.

      • GeologyJim,
        What was founded in 1948 as the American Geological Institute has changed its name to American Geosciences Institute. Their journal, formerly known as Geotimes, has been replaced by Earth. It seems that most of the articles that Earth is publishing lately is biological in nature. That is, the biosphere with an environmental emphasis has replaced the former topics of geology, geophysics, and mineralogy. Also, I think that that quality of the articles has tanked. It is a sad state of affairs when formerly prestigious organizations get hijacked by political activists. Geotimes has been ‘ScientificAmericanized!’

      • Steven Mosher April 14, 2017 at 2:47 pm

        Well exactly why is it wrong Mosher? Methane has three absorption peaks, two of which completely overlap water vapour, and the third is tiny. Yes methane can mix into the high atmosphere where water vapour is less abundant, but it also oxidizes like mad so it isn’t around for very long, and what it adds to CO2 and H2O in the atmosphere is so small in comparison to what is already there that it is a rounding error. I see the 20X claim all the time, and no matter how many times I ask how that claim is justified, nobody answers. So try again Mosher, after “wrong” type “because” and keep going.

      • Tuned out of the mosh looooong ago! Same everywhere he comments. The hubris mulm has caused a blockage in my ears and might need a surgical response.

      • “This is why people are starting to tune you out”

        And why others of us have long since finished doing so.
        One reason anyway…he gives us plenty of them.

      • The point of the article is that if the hydrates all melted, they would not be a small fraction of the atmosphere, at least for a short period of time.

      • Geology Jim, The board being alarmed and the membership not! Seems to be a common thing, the physics, meteorological, chemical, Royal Society, etc professional associations. Just like NGOs, UN, Enviro orgs, It is well known that when the Iron curtain came down, freedom rushed in, but араяатснicks poured out with the idea of (patiently) taking over heads of such orgs. Also the social science departments at universities. Guys like you Jim, find boards boring but you and others like you had better start campaigning for spots on them. Changing the venerable term geology to vague and more “humanities like “earth science” was the kind of subtle metamorphosis that was put over you (and me). I cancelled all my subscriptions to journals when they became unreadable with a revolution in rock type renaming from mineral based names to, what?, ‘generic(?) names. So much slush.

      • Geology Jim, you are correct about the effect of CO2 (one should look at the work of the late Prof Hoyt Hottel which he included in chapters on heat transfer in Perry’s Chemical Engineering Handbook and Mark’s Mechanical engineering handbook). However, you are wrong about methane which has very much lower heat absorption as shown in the diagram below in David Hoffer’s post. In Prof Hoyt’s chapters in the two handbooks you will find statements that methane is insignificant as a heat absorber and there are comparison of absorptivity with other gases such as CO and NH3
        However, David H below is absolutely wrong about the oxidation of methane in the air. It needs a temperature of about 650C (ignition point to burn or oxidise) There would be no methane in the air if it did oxidise. It can be oxidised at a slow rate at the outer edge of the atmosphere were there is ozone zone.
        It is a pity there are commentators on this site like Mosher who have no qualification in heat transfer, chemistry, fluid dynamics , reaction kinetics and little knowledge of mathematics along with no practical experience in any of these subjects. They just attempt to misinform for their own political reasons.

      • Doesn’t methane have a half-life of only four years? So even if that climate trigger was pulled, it wouldn’t last long enough in the atmosphere to do any damage. Just like how they said CO2 would stay in the atmosphere forever when its half life was 4-11 years.

    • How is that these people’s interpretation of things is never “It has all happened before and the world survived perfectly well, so there’s nothing to worry about now”???
      And methane oxidises in just a few years into CO2 and H2O, so its effect on global climate is way less than anyone is calculating. [Apologies if I missed someone].

      • More of the same illogical mumbo-jumbo.Warming caused the methane release and the methane release caused the warming. They could use these articles as standard intelligence tests.They’re all the same formula- leave out important facts, disregard all logic and claim world ending consequences

    • With a half-life in the atmosphere of only about 5 years, methane seeps are meaningless, except for the grant money the government will give those who pretend its a threat to our world.

  2. Not to worry, we aren’t nearly as warm now as during the Cretaceous. We are not even as warm as 1934. Did we have a lot of methane seeps in 1934?

      • Mossshhher the Great and Powerful, what was the average daily minimum and maximum in what is now the Los Angeles area during the cretaceous period?

        Oh, and whereabouts exactly was it cooler in 1934 than it is now? And at what time of year?

        What ever happened to you?

      • “1934, wasnt particularly warm, cooler than now.
        and yes we are not as warm as the Cretaceous… Yet.”

        Mosher did you ever look at the all time highs for the 30. It blows any other decade for all time high records, of course the other side is the winter were cold also. Did you ever talk to you grand parents about the thirties. If you did you would know we don’t every want that type of weather pattern and climate change to happen again. Of course from you comment it looks to we you be best describer as to the type of person that Stalin referred to as useful idiots. In most cases Stalin was not talking about stupid people, just the one that drank his kool-aid. Also present this warming period is the coolest of the last four in the last 8000 years we can only hope it get warmer in this century since the overall trend is down, and you of all people know we are in a interglacial and it the next glacial period is going to happen regardless what us puny humans do.

      • OK , we are all agreed that we are not as warm as the Cretaceous. So , assuming that the quantity of methane locked up in hydrates is comparable to that found today , the quantity emitted then would be greater. The Cretaceous lasted 80 million years , give or take a million, but did not result during that time in climageddon . In fact some dinosaur species started to develop feathers so obviously not overwarm .
        You will probably argue that the Asteroid crash that ended the Cretaceous saved the planet from temperature runaway , but 80 million years is a long time for methane to work its evil way upon the planet .
        So the likelihood is that methane emission due to background global temperature rise had but a limited effect then and should not be a cause for hysterical panic now .
        Rational people would be more concerned about what is happening now off the Korean peninsula.

      • “1934, wasnt particularly warm, cooler than now.”

        Impossible to believe anyone who knows a single darn thing could believe this whopper.
        So that leaves purposeful lying.
        Rice-like ability and willingness to publically tell complete and obvious lies.
        Another valued trait I am sure.
        She has at least 35 millions reasons for her ability and willingness…wonder how many this yutz has?

      • Not global in nature?

        How do we know that, have you looked at how many temperature monitoring stations there were in Africa, Asia and South America at that period in time?

        The record is far from complete.

        It’s like getting rid of the Medieval Warm period based upon a handful of proxy data.

      • “1934, wasnt particularly warm”

        People who were actually around then thought differently. Read e. g. Fredrick Lewis Allen 1939 Since yesterday, ther 1930s in America”, particularly Ch VIII.
        I guess “
        The grapes of wrath” will ultimately be banned as denialist propaganda.

      • Moshe, TA should have said 1937. ’37 used to be warmer than now until Hansen’s GISS got rid of it in 2007,because he thought 1998 might be the last chance to get a record over 1937 – it still is the year to beat in all the states of US (and Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Scandinavia, Siberia, and as we learned later, Paraguay, Ecuador, and more recently South Africa) .

        The egregious cutting and realigning records done by you BEST folks is one of the puzzles that has to be reversed when objective science gets back.

        You know, the Pause did something to you, along with the Climate Blues sufferers of a few years ago. You were a champion for honesty and ethics in science when climategate burst on the scene and when Gleick did his dirt. Now you are an apologist for this kind of stuff.

    • Of course. And NYC survived 9-11.

      “the world” is not what people are concerned about. the world survived the plague, wwi, wwii,
      The concern is this

      1. We have a built a civilization (infrastructure) that assumes that Sea level wont go up
      too much, that certain land will still be farmable, that floods and droughts will stay about the same..
      In short we built a bunch of stuff assuming the future would kinda be like the near past.
      2. We’ve been adding c02 to the air. It warms the world.
      3. It will not warm the world to all-time pre historical records, but it will warm the world. Warming
      DOESNT have to be unprecedented to be concerning.
      4. However much it warms the world, the world will still be here.
      5. The questions are

      A) how much C02 will we put into the air going forward?
      B) how much warming will that cause?
      c) how will those un planned for changes impact our infrastructure?
      D) do we want to wait for the changes to actually happend before we act?
      E) do we want to mitigate or reduce the probability the those things will happen?
      F) Should we change our building practices and make our infrastructure more robust with respect
      to future possible changes? ie plan or more floods and droughts even if the evidence is
      “only models”

      so yes the world has been warmer. That fact has nothing to do with any one of the important questions.
      The world has been covered in ice and is still here, but none of us would wish that upon our sons and daughters

      • Except CO2 is not the prime forcer of long term climate trending. CO2 follows temperature, and because humans have added extra CO2 doesn’t mean logarithmic additional warming. Why aren’t you and the other climate doomsters registering this simple fact? At some point (and I believe we are way past that point) the warming doesn’t continue even though CO2 rises. So your story line is busted already.

        You may as well say that because we don’t sacrifice virgins to the climate gods anymore, is why you think we are in some sort of problem with present climate on earth. There is no problem with weather/climate and is why human kind has grown to 7.3 billion people. Major cooling on the other hand means instant major problems for the entire planet, all at once.

      • What is c02, C02? Do you mean CO2?

        Anyway, correlation of temperature with [CO2] has been very poor over short periods of 30 to 100 years. Whatever effect there is, is insignificant to natural variation.

      • Steven,
        You insist, almost as a given, that CO2 warms the world.
        This is what many people question. It is not a given, they say.
        There can be little progress into consequences until these opposite positions are reconciled.
        Given estimates like 30% of man made CO2 was put into the air since year 2000 or whatever the actual figures were, people are rightly asking where the global warming is.
        It is not immediately apparent warming. It’s existence now seems to depend largely on global temperature guesses made with adjustments depending on choice of sea surface temperatures, based on buckets of ship-sampled sea water versus engine intake temperatures.
        Hardly the standout, definitive demonstration that observers and analysts would prefer.
        Why do you think this alleged warming is due to man, not natural variation?
        Can you quote a paper with a method that quantitatively separates natural from man-made made?
        There is no point rushing in to advanced interpretations of consequences of CO2 change, until the basics are fully understood. So far, many assert, the basics are far from settled science.

      • It warms the world.

        Claimed by folks who believe that Stefan-Boltzmann is a valid theory of climate.

      • Geez Mossshhher the Great and Powerful, you really can’t argue your way out of a wet paper bag.

        Let’s start from the beginning shall we? Quote: “the world” is not what people are concerned about.

        So do tell, which “people” are these? When you premise your argument on a fallacy the argument fails completely. Remember?

        What ever happened to you?

      • Sea level has been rising no faster since we started adding more CO2 to the air than it did before.

        In the past, people and cities have adapted to sea level rise much greater than is liable to happen over the next century.

        There so far has been no correlation between more CO2 and greater warmth, let alone with MSL rise.

        Since WWII, while CO2 has risen, earth got a lot colder for 32 years, then slightly warmer for 20 and now has stayed about the same for 20. No rational basis for worry.

      • “What is c02, C02? Do you mean CO2?”
        What sort of literature major or climate scientist gets it wrong twice???????????????
        What a tw@t!

      • Mosh….the world, civilizations, infrastructure have all survived much worse
        If it does happen, it will happen so slowly no one will pay attention

        ..and stop the BS, no one is going to do anything about it anyway models or no models

        You act like we’re all some weak inbred parasite that can’t get out of it’s own way

      • Ron Williams When you said “You may as well say that because we don’t sacrifice virgins to the climate gods anymore, is why you think we are in some sort of problem with present climate on earth.” What you quote may have been in jest, the truth of the is Steven is willing to sacrifice million to early death on the CO2 alter, after all the demon CO2 must be controlled. If not we are all going to die, you and I know that just BS he does not. CO2 at best might increase temperature 1 to 2 C for each doubling making the problem moot, Steven is no willing to admit that he has to keep holding on his myth of positive forcings. Even though search as they may they cannot find any. Steven could just as well be trying to photograph Unicorns than think he going to find positive forcings.

      • Mosh – the answer to “F”
        F) Should we change our building practices and make our infrastructure more robust with respect
        to future possible changes? ie plan or more floods and droughts even if the evidence is
        “only models”

        is clearly NO. We have known for almost a century now that people want to build as close to water as they can, whether it be ocean, lake, river, or on a flood plain, in the path of past hurricanes, whatever and wherever they can, in increasing density, meaning increasing risk of natural disaster washing their property away. Has the financial risk stopped the development of all the oceanside resorts, suburban and urban residences and cityscapes? Not one damn bit.

        Infrastructure will get “more robust” all by itself, if necessary, and doesn’t need your input because of some unknowable and ultimately lost-in-the-noise minor cause that nobody will ever consider as a reason to NOT buy that dream house on the shore.

        Get over it.

      • I think Mr. Mosher’s list of questions puts the matter down for discussion quite well. I suspect when different answers to item C are listed, the answers to the rest follow. So after almost 40 years of study, do we have a clear and precise answer for item C? I keep reading that the simple Charney model in 1979 yields about the same range for sensitivity as currently claimed by the most recent IPCC report. I located them to try to see for myself, and I can’t falsify that [but don’t trust my own understanding too far either]. It does seem like the range of projections hasn’t narrowed much. And that just ain’t good enough. It reminds my of the story of when General Grove first met with the atomic scientists and asked them how much fissile material was needed for a bomb, and how much had been produced. He was told a few micrograms had been isolated and about 35 pounds was needed for a bomb. “About?” he said. “Yeah within an order of magnitude.” That answer did not go over well. [“I expected a reply of “within twenty ­five or fifty per cent,” and would not have been greatly surprised at an even greater percentage, but I was horrified when they quite blandly replied that they thought it was correct within a factor of ten.”] It seems to me that the sensitivity question is at about the same place, and has been since the science began. That level of precision is not fit for purpose.

      • Steven Mosher:

        I insert my responses in your points.

        The concern is this

        No. You say these are your concerns: most people have important concerns so don’t give your concerns much if any thought.

        1. We have a built a civilization (infrastructure) that assumes that Sea level wont go up
        too much, that certain land will still be farmable, that floods and droughts will stay about the same..
        In short we built a bunch of stuff assuming the future would kinda be like the near past.

        Yes, and the “near past” has eustatic rebound and plate tectonics – not ‘climate change’ – as the serious causes of local sea level changes; e.g. we have built the London Tidal Barrage to cope with London sinking as a continuing recovery from the last ice age and present climate change is irrelevant.

        There is increase to farming from increased atmospheric CO2.

        Local variations in droughts and floods etc. have always happened and there are no discernible changes to their recent frequencies and magnitudes.

        2. We’ve been adding c02 to the air. It warms the world.

        Atmospheric CO2 concentration would probably be the same if there were no emission of CO2 from human activities
        (ref. Rorsch A, Courtney RS & Thoenes D, ‘The Interaction of Climate Change and the Carbon Dioxide Cycle’ E&E v16no2 (2005).
        CO2 in the atmosphere “warms the world” but there is no evidence that emission of CO2 from human activities has or will provide discernible additional warming of the world.

        Empirical evidence indicates that net feedbacks in the climate system are negative and, therefore, any effect of increased CO2 will probably be too small to discern because natural climate variability is much, much larger. This concurs with the empirically determined values of low climate sensitivity.

        Empirical – n.b. not model-derived – determinations indicate climate sensitivity is less than 1.0°C for a doubling of atmospheric CO2 equivalent. This is indicated by the studies of
        Idso from surface measurements
        and Lindzen & Choi from ERBE satellite data
        and Gregory from balloon radiosonde data

        Indeed, because climate sensitivity is less than 1.0°C for a doubling of CO2 equivalent, it is physically impossible for the man-made global warming to be large enough to be detected. If something exists but is too small to be detected then it only has an abstract existence; it does not have a discernible existence that has effects (observation of the effects would be its detection).

        3. It will not warm the world to all-time pre historical records, but it will warm the world. Warming DOESNT have to be unprecedented to be concerning.

        If such improbable future problems are “concerning” you then seek medical attention. See my responses to your Point 2.

        4. However much it warms the world, the world will still be here.

        The world will very probably still be here but nothing is certain.

        5. The questions are

        No, you really are a worry-wart. YOUR questions are, and not THE questions are.

        A) how much C02 will we put into the air going forward?

        The future is not known and our trivially small addition of CO2 to natural CO2 emissions are of no consequence.

        B) how much warming will that cause?

        Not enough to be discernible; see my responses to your Point 2.

        c) how will those un planned for changes impact our infrastructure?

        No more than natural changes have always affected our infrastructure.

        D) do we want to wait for the changes to actually happend before we act?

        Only fools waste money on improbable changes prior to any evidenced that the changes are happening and are worth the cost.

        E) do we want to mitigate or reduce the probability the those things will happen?

        Only fools waste money on mitigation or reduction of improbable changes prior to any evidenced that the changes are happening and are worth the cost.

        F) Should we change our building practices and make our infrastructure more robust with respect to future possible changes? ie plan or more floods and droughts even if the evidence is “only models”

        NO! See my responses to your Points E and F.

        Keep calm and carry on.


      • I agree with Mosher. Clearly I’m a dreaded warmist?

        You folks who always attack when Mosh does a little more than ‘wrong’ or ‘not even wrong’ which are quite justified bursts here, could you consider commenting what Mosher actually says but not going into ranting on his typos or going after topic changes like is CO2 following temp or human emissions.

        Each topic tends to be complicated and to be fair, required a FAQ entry – though I’m not exactly sure we could come up with one.

      • 1. We have a built a civilization (infrastructure) that assumes that Sea level wont go up too much . . .

        False. Humans have been building things with no such assumptions for thousands of years. They have rightly been much more worried about disease and starvation and war to worry about an imperceptible 1-3 mm/yr of sea level rise (or fall depending on location).

        The century or less recapitalization age of most structures is sufficient to keep up with such a minimal pace, especially since coastal structures should be prudently designed for the exceptional case of severe storm surge, not the statistical case of average sea level. And according to satellite measurements, most of the apparent water rise is actually coastal subsidence, which is neither caused by nor cured by CO2 or methane.

        The alarmists narrative is further undermined by the fact that the Earth has net gained over 5,200 square miles of new coastal land over the past 30 years as continents themselves are rising faster than sea level in many places due to isostatic rebound and other phenomena (Donchyts et al. “Earth’s Surface Water Change over the Past 30 Years.” Nature Climate Change 6, no. 9 (September 2016): 810–13. doi:10.1038/nclimate3111. Sea level is actually falling in parts of the U.S. west coast and Alaska. If there are any realtors looking 100 years into the future, they should be investing in water-front property in most locations.

      • Hugs:

        Mosher asked a list of questions and I answered each of them. That is not an “attack”.

        It is not my fault that Mosher’s questions are daft.


      • One might ask if one believes 1-5 and A-F above, why has one never ever ever EVER called out a single one of the panic mongers, fear merchants, or prophets of doom among the warmista faithful or the MSM shill network?

      • No, the questions are :
        1) Is the world getting warmer?
        2) Is that a bad thing?
        3) If 1 and 2 are “yes”, is that warming caused by man?
        4) If 1, 2 and 3 are yes, what amount of that warming is man-made?
        5) Can we do anything about it?
        While most scientists seem to be arguing how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, we mere mortals are bewildered that some can measure temp to 1/100 of a degree with instruments accurate to 1/10 of that and claim to be able to predict temp in 2100 to 1/10th of a degree, when they can’t even agreed on the sensitivity of CO2, or the effects of all the feedbacks. In the meantime, I am more concerned about whether it will rain tomorrow. ( 50% chance of rain, 97% chance the sea level in Figi will be .735cm higher in 2047- yea god!).

      • “Has the financial risk stopped the development of all the oceanside resorts, suburban and urban residences and cityscapes? Not one damn bit. ”

        People continually build in places that everyone know darn well will be flooded long before the useful lifetime of the structure has passed. And such structures are rebuilt again and again and again in spite of being repeatedly destroyed by storm waters.
        Fluctuations due to storms and periodic normal variations have always been far more relevant and dangerous for anything built near water, and always will be over human timescales.
        Left unsaid in the raft of the above responses is perhaps the most important rebuttal…that there is zero reason to believe a warmer world is anything but good for human interests and life in general.
        As the sand that many coastal structures are built on proves an easily undermined, weak and ultimately unstable foundational substrate, so the entire line of reasoning of the warmista mythology is built on such ridiculous and flimsy foundations as we see partially described here.

        Oh, and BTW…best tell the panic mongers in the MSM and academia that “…’the world’ is not what people are concerned about…”
        And please get that message out to all the brainwashed young-uns too.
        They all seemed to have missed the memo about these new limits to Official Warmista Fearmongery.

      • Mosher,

        Why all the questions? The science is settled, therefore they’ve all been answered.

        FWIW Ringnes is very good beer, and, from what I could judge, the only beer Norwegians drink at home. I did what I could to assist.

      • Steven-You have a lot of us wondering if you are a fool or a liar. So just one question.What is your opinion of Michael Mann and his hockey stick?

      • When was the ”world” covered in ice ?all maps of the ice ages show the ice sheet extended (in the U.S.A )to a bit south of the great lakes ,in europe the south was not covered .see wiki: extent of ice,last glacial maximum .

  3. This Island was not in the Arctic in the Cretaceous. So reasoning about present Arctic clathrate ignores plate tectonics. And the then global warming could not have caused these formations as speculated in the paper, reasoning from knowledge of present ocean methane clathrate. The mound ‘spacing’ suggests a geological cause, perhaps a sea floor hot spot with multiple fissures/vents like geysers at Yellowstone. All present ocean methane hydrates (clathrates) are formed at low temperatures (~2C) and high pressures (typically indicating at least 300 meters depth) in either mud or sand. Most are biogenic rather than thermogenic. There is no way AGW could ever cause them to release methane. Too deep, too cold, ocean too big, warming too weak.Covered in essay Ice that Burns in ebook Blowing Smoke.

    What is amazing is that these unique carbonate features escaped destruction by glaciation. Too high in the Arctic, not enough snow?

    • I support this view Ristvan and you saved me some writing. The alternative explanation – that this was methane released from below (natural gas) is at least equally plausible. Any major impact could shake things up a bit.

      The location at the time rules over all forms of speculation. If the sae was not cold then it was likely to be natural gas seeps and why not? They occur all the time off the US East coast.

      The idea that methane clathrates somehow grouped together into pockets and melted to give spouts a few km apart is as likely to succeed as a cat herding expedition.

      In any case, the methane absorption band is saturated by water vapour which at the time was even higher than now.

      • And I support Ristvan and CiWbriP. :)

        I didn’t go looking up where things were in the Cretaceous, but had similar thoughts that things are now where they weren’t before. I think this is one of the many things that get lost when people discuss things in geologic time. Things move. Maybe not noticeably over years or decades, but 10 million years here and 10 million years there, and you’re starting to talk real time.

      • You are never alone Dr. Istvan.
        Very many of us hereabouts value your insight and give special attention to your posts, even if we do not always say so.

      • It also seems to me that 10,000 sq. kilometers is hardly indicative of the whole planet. I’m Canadian and I’never heard of the place. It’s about one-one thousandth of the country.

      • A few things struck me. First, we are told that these things were well separated “mounds”, and that there were 130 of them in 10,000 square kilometres. That puts them about 10km apart. The text calls them “small” and the picture shows one as very small relative to its surroundings. But then we were told that they “covered” 10,000 square kilometres. The *site* may cover 10,000 square km, but the *mounds* must cover a lot less, making them MUCH less scary.

        Second, it is extremely important to know about time. What span of time is represented by these 130 mounds? How many would have been active at the same time? Could it have been a very few sources moving over time? If we’re talking about a few thousand years, that would be a geological instant but a risibly slow “burp”.

        Third, my understanding of methane seeps is very limited, but I gather that they are places where method is released SLOWLY enough that living creatures move in and metabolise the stuff. What proportion is captured in the food web and released as something else (CO2 + carbonates + whatever)?

        I am ready to believe that the amount of method involved (pity there’s no actual number here) may have been “significant” (= detectable with confidence), but was it in any sense *important*?

    • The island was almost certainly in the Arctic in the Cretaceous ( ) and ( ). But it wasn’t the same Arctic that we know today. The Atlantic was narrower than today. And the Gulf Stream — if there was one — would presumably have flowed up North America’s inland sea directly into the Arctic as there was no place for it to turn East South of the Arctic Ocean.. It seems entirely possible that the Arctic circulation consisted of mild water flowing North through the center of North America then a West to East flow of water across what would become the Canadian Archipelago and exiting into the Atlantic? It is believed that the Arctic was pretty warm back then based on plant fossils.

      Frankly, so little is known about details of Cretaceous paleoclimate and its changes over time (if any) that I suspect the article except for the parts about the methane vents themselves is closer to science fiction than science. Perhaps much like Edgar Rice Burrough’s depictions of Mars and Venus albeit with less opportunity for thud and blunder fiction.

      I’ll now try to manually create links to the two images. We’ll see how that goes

      • DK, you may be right. I had a fascinating discussion with Dick Lindzen on this and other topics back in June 2012 in hismoffice weeks before he retired from MIT, and months before publishing The Arts of Truth. One consequence was a new footnote, 5, to the recognition chapter on wegener’s continental drift theory. Detailed Svalbard.

      • In the Cretaceous, the Gulf Stream most definitely flowed right up through the middle of North America straight to the Arctic. It did not go around Florida like today.

        The Ocean was 250 metres higher than today and the middle of a North America was only about 100 metres higher than the sea level is today. ie it was at least 150 metres below the sea level of the time. The uplift of the Rockies and the Colorado plateau did not happen until 20 million years or so later.

        38C Ocean water flowed straight to the Arctic and cooled off by 15C or so by the time it gets there.

        The reptile Mosasaurs dominated this inland sea at the time. 20 and 30 metre length ocean-going reptiles did not live there because it was above sea level like today and not because it was the same temp as today.

        iIt was a deep inland sea that was 20C or more warmer than expected by today’s temps in the region. The crocodiles made it all the way to the outlet of this inland sea into the Arctic Ocean for a short period of time around 94 Mya.

        Now this period only lasted for a certain period of time from about 120 Mya to 70 Mya. Then the uplifts happened and sea level fell as the Atlantic Ocean became more mature and deepened.

        But you know what it really left behind, oil and gas. The best oil and gas deposits from Texas to Alberta to Inuvik come from this period.

      • “North America’s inland sea directly into the Arctic”…

        ..and dumped a crapload of organics

      • What the Earth looked like at 94 Mya at the peak temperature and the peak sea level of the Cretaceous.

        The Ocean Gyres driven by the prevailing winds of east-to-west Trade Winds near the equator and west-to-east mid-latitude winds and the confining margins of continental shelf below 100 metres depth puts the Gulf Stream flowing right up through the centre of the North America. The small North Atlantic probably had no outlet into the Arctic at this point because Europe’s continental shelf and Greenland’s continental shelf were actually right together and did not split until 25 million years later (this diagram is probably not right for the far North Atlantic).

      • With the North Atlantic basin so much smaller and so cluttered and obstructed,(it may have been even worse that depicted here), can we really be sure of how warm the water was, or how quickly it flowed?

        There were shallow parts here and there.
        There were smaller landmasses scattered about, and these would have their own daily regimes of sea and land breezes.
        Such localized wind patterns and scattered landmasses may have been likely to inhibit the formation of the large cells of semi permanent high pressure that we see over the N. Atlantic today, which has multi thousands of miles of unobstructed water.
        All considered, it seems that the present day configuration that provides for the large scale atmospheric and oceanic gyres to form and be maintained was not present, and it seems the possibility exists that such gyres and the currents they induce may have been far less significant if not absent.

        Just sayin’.

    • From the article: “Implications
      A key feature of this discovery is recognition that all the seep mounds formed during a very narrow range of geologic time. Because they form by leakage of methane into seawater it implies that something at that time caused a large release of methane into the ocean. The timing is coincident with a period of global warming, and Williscroft and colleagues suggest that it was this warming that released methane frozen as methane hydrates in the sea floor, as a relatively sudden methane “burp.” If correct, this has important implications for modern warming of the Arctic Ocean.”

      The cause could also be as simple as the one Rud gives below, no Global Warming required:

      ristvan: “The mound ‘spacing’ suggests a geological cause, perhaps a sea floor hot spot with multiple fissures/vents like geysers at Yellowstone.”

  4. What was the latitude of the Ringnes Islands in the Cretaceous? I don’t recall seeing that northern Canada had rotated, but that is a long time to allow for movement.

    • Good question. Looked it up. Other papers on early Cretaceous formations/flora/fauna in whatbis now Canadian high Arctic estimate ~70 north, with coniferous forests on the land portions.

      • If I’m not mistaken there is another of those “mounds”, albeit broken up, sitting atop a feature on Mt. Athabasca called Parker’s Ridge on the eastern side of the Canadian Rocky mountains, about 2500-3000 km south of those islands. In the cretaceous those mountains were part of the sea-bed on the edge of the same inland sea that gave rise to the methane seeps documented on those islands. The site in the mountains, like that sit up on the islands, is also in the middle of a large expanse of broken shale. In the cretaceous

        I have pieces of that curious rock sitting downstairs…

        The white fossilized remains of tubeworms are captivating and very prominent. I found them along the trail that leads to the ridge, just below the very peak of that ridge. It is a – relatively – small patch of rock sitting in the middle of a veritable mountain of shale. Going by memory, perhaps a couple hundred meters across. Can’t say I thought to measure it when I was there.

        It would stand to reason that the same cause would account for both features. Detrius deposits in that inland sea would be the most likely – especially as this part of that inland sea would never have had anything like Arctic conditions at that time.

      • I would like to have all of these map reconstructions in globe form.
        The globe looks a lot different than a flat map.
        So much so that our perceptions give us many terribly wrong ideas about the world when we view them.
        This effect must be even more pronounced on a globe in which everything is altered dramatically from what we see today.
        As well, I am not so sure that the reconstructions are not missing key details about landforms and topography…such as how large and extensive various mountain ranges were then, the depth and extent of the offshore continental slopes, island arcs and other features that have by now glommed onto larger landmasses or been subsumed by subduction…etc.
        It was very different, that much is for sure, but how confident should we be that these reconstructed depictions, on flat maps, give us a very insightful view of the magnitude and extent of the differences?
        Speculations built on guesswork on top of suppositions and large uncertainties?
        It may be helpful to keep such in mind.
        It is easy enough to be wrong when we look at the world as it is today, directly and right up close, and about events in the very recent past.
        Again, just sayin’.

  5. Cretaceous, Arctic was ice free and about 25+C above current average Arctic temperatures. Yeah I guess that would be a big change! We should be good for quite awhile yet! I specialize in radical but high probability very long range forecasts: It will get brutally cold long before this hot forecast could come to pass and probably will have multi alternately cold and warm periods beforehand. 95% certainty. ETA for the hot period in the Arctic is ~150yrs. Disclaimer, no data was tortured or models twisted in the making of this forecast. No humans will be involved in the development of this distant future disaster. Indeed, this nature article expands natural variation by plus 25C.

      • Thanks for clarifying. I was wondering what you could possibly be thinking. One caveat. +25C may be about the best that can be done for a single number difference in polar temps between an warm and cool Earth. But it’s likely not that simple. Our planet is still tilted at 20+ degrees from its orbital plane no matter what climate regimes prevail. That suggests that (Ant)Arctic localites even on a warm Earth are probably going to have a four season climate with cold, maybe brutally cold, Winters and warm or hot Summers. Think Winnipeg, Montreal or Novosibirinsk. Nights 50, 100 or 150 days long will probably offer a lot of opportunity for radiational cooling.

  6. Is it “huge” based on something scientific or statistical or because it is exposed on the surface and you can walk up to it?

  7. Methane seeps exist all over the ocean floor right now, and have for a long, long time.
    They have nothing to do with a warming planet.

  8. What are the sources for methane seeps?
    Two common sources are vulcanism and geologic action releasing fossil fuels.

    • The sources for oceanic methane seeps are two plus an exception. 1. The small minority (e.g. Deep Gulf of Mexico) are of thermogenic origin. That is, natural gas from thermogenesis of kerogen rich marine shales that ‘leaks’ through the overlying caprock. These are typically deep and not diffuse. 2. The big majority are of biogenic origin. That is, sourced from the ‘rainfall’ of organic detritus from the surfce photic zone onto the seafloor, then digested by Archean microbial methanogens. These are typically not deep and diffuse. Essay Ice that Burns in ebook Blowing Smoke covers this in detail, with footnotes and illustrations. The exception is Siberian shallow methane seeps, which originate from inundated tundra as sea level rose as the last glaciation receded. Spectacular images for alarmist journalism, but mostly irrelevant otherwise since a quite transitory outlier from a specific limited geography.

  9. “The extensive methane seep mounds across the remote arctic island of Ellef Ringnes may be a caution from the past regarding potential impacts of modern warming of the Arctic Ocean.”

    Imagine having to disasterize every discovery into a portent of doom from CO2-Climate Change. Yes, imagine a Very Severe Government Funded Neurosis.

  10. This is proof that the methane explosion will provide the positive feedback that send the earhs climate into the death spiral

    Oops – the prior warming periods did not trigger the positive feedback death spiral

    – Ah ha – the methane has the inherent trigger mechanism to know that to only epxlode if the warming is cuased by man – this explains the inert behavior of the methane in prior warming periods.

    I should receive my PHD in AGW for demonstrating the emprical evidence of the positive feedback theory.

  11. I wonder to what extent seismic activity caused a kind of “liquefaction” of the sediment in which the methane hydrates resided and thus caused enough disturbance for even a small amount to change phase and outgas to the surface?

    • It does not seem to be all that unstable.
      It forms spontaneously under ocean bottom conditions when methane bubbles into and through water.
      Recall it kept clogging up the pipes of the containment hoods they used to try and contain the Macondo well blowout?
      I have seen a video of someone holding a lump and letting it burn in their hand.

      Cannot find the video of the someone holding it while it burns, but did find this:

  12. “A key feature of this discovery is recognition that all the seep mounds formed during a very narrow range of geologic time. Because they form by leakage of methane into seawater it implies that something at that time caused a large release of methane into the ocean. The timing is coincident with a period of global warming, and Williscroft and colleagues suggest that it was this warming that released methane frozen as methane hydrates in the sea floor , as a relatively sudden methane “burp.” If correct, this has important implications for modern warming of the Arctic Ocean.”

    Exactly HOW were methane hydrates “frozen” in the sea floor during the very long, very warm, very volcanic/tectonic era known as the crustaceous period?

  13. “This is the first methane mound, Canadian High Arctic.” The secret’s out; Americans have their First Lady; Canadians, their First Methane Mound. Two proud traditions.

  14. If it takes Cretaceous-level heat to melt the methane hydrates, then no worries. There is no way in the ice age which has gripped earth for the past 34 million years that the planet will get anywhere near the warmth and pole-to-pole equanimity of the Cretaceous, when the Arctic was as balmy as Florida.

    • Yup. The formation of the isthmus initiated NH ice sheet formation. It also led to a catastrophe for indigenous South American species. Although a few South American species managed to establish themselves in North America and diversify, northern invaders devastated the long-isolated southerners.

      It appears that a shallow seaway briefly reopened around 1.8 Ma, which is when the Pleistocene used to start, before the last age of the Pliocene was properly added to it.

  15. First I do not have any phd or science degree — but I can smell when science is lying to me.

    What is a science ?
    ‘Is science based on empirical evidence?’

    It should not be “science has shown” but “this experiment, this effect, has shown.” And you have as much right as anyone else, upon hearing about the experiments–but be patient and listen to all the evidence–to judge whether a sensible conclusion has been arrived at.

    It is imperative in science to doubt; it is absolutely necessary, for progress in science, to have uncertainty as a fundamental part of your inner nature. To make progress in understanding, we must remain modest and allow that we do not know. Nothing is certain or proved beyond all doubt.

    For several centuries, modern science was pretty much a free intellectual market populated by independent entrepreneurs who shared the goal of understanding how the world works. Nowadays it’s a corporate enterprise where patents, pay-offs, prestige, and power take priority over getting at the scientific truth, and the powers-that-be have established knowledge monopolies.
    The scientists all stuck their hands into the bottomless pit of governmental largesse, funded through coercive taxation,
    Of course, there’s always been resistance to change in science, as in other human activities. But this degree of suppression of minority views and the use of gutter language and character assassination makes it seem like a new phenomenon. At least it has seemed so to the people who have found themselves suddenly ejected from mainstream discourse and resources.

    But science nowadays IS like this: Disagree with the conventional contemporary scientific wisdom and you won’t get grants, won’t get published, will be compared to Holocaust deniers.

    earth is a complex system
    are computer models same as experiment
    what are you going to put in calculation and
    computer models, which data, how many..

    back to first question what is science what is pseudoscience?

  16. Given that methane has 20 times the impact of CO2 as a greenhouse gas

    I see they left out the “pound for pound” B.S. If they had included it, they could have bumped it up to 86 times the impact of CO2.

    The popular press is getting away with this non-sense. Various legislatures around the country and world I suppose are passing laws and regulations with regard to methane regulation. The press is using the 20 or 86 times the impact crap to hide the fact that a 100% increase in methane would only run the temperature up around two tenths of a degree, and at today’s rates it would take over 250 years.

    A 100% increase in methane would be 2 parts per million (PPM) and a similar mass of CO2 (the pound for pound B.S.) wouldn’t be 2 PPM, it would only be about 0.7 ppm, and since CO2 is in the air at 400 ppm, that amounts to an increase of about 0.2% and 2% of CO2’s absolute climate sensitivity of 1.2K multiplied by 86 comes to about 0.2K .

    That’s a round about way to get to the answer, but for ordinary mortals, the direct route of trying to find out what the climate sensitivity of methane is i.e., “How much will temperatures rise per doubling?” is pretty much a blind alley. The powers that run the show really don’t want you to know, they’d rather scare you with the 86 times the impact hobgoblin.

  17. Talk about not doing your homework . About 10 minutes surfing the internet is all that it takes to know that Ellef Ringnes Island is in the Sverdrup basin – a basin that has a discovered in place resource of 19.8 Trillion Cubic Feet and 1.9 Billion barrels of oil – a huge potential source of seafloor methane, as opposed to destabilized hydrate from global warming

    Reference :

    A breached trap or migration pathway to the seafloor would cause this same observed rock formations in the Cretaceous. This possibility has been directly quoted in the literature. Reference :

    See page 3 : “the old age of hydrocarbon generation means that most hydrocarbons have likely been lost due to leakage or degradation. Preservation in some traps may be possible where salt or anhydrite have acted as a seal.” Leakage would cause the same observed strata in the Cretaceous.

    Also, given the Cretaceous timing, there was a widespread volcanic event during this time. See page 2 of the above reference. Also a potential cause of trap breaches and of locally heating up source rocks, causing methane to seep to the seafloor.

    The fact that this is in a known hydrocarbon basin and no geologic processes were even mentioned as possible causes & the authors go straight for “global warming” says one of 2 things to me :
    1) they are horrible researchers and have no idea what they are doing
    2) The are culpable inactively ignoring these possibilities and trying to promote global waming alarmism.

    In either case …. massive FAIL on their part

  18. The elephant in the room, or one of the herd, is that our emissions have plateau-ed. But CO2 rise has not. Let’s all go home and figure out why. Nothing else matters now re CAGW.

    • North America has been a CO2 sink for decades, and our emissions have been declining for years. Not entirely due to the Great Recession 2.0, energy efficiency is often economically efficient. And then there is fracking, which is shifting fuel usage patterns in the US.

      Now, lets look at the reconstructed paleoclimatic temperature “record”.

      Gee, modern CO2 levels are abnormally low.

      • And so are temperatures.
        Very abnormally low.
        And yet these people speak as if a few degrees of warming could and likely will have all manner of awful implications because it is unprecedented.
        There have been warmer years in the past hundred years, warmer centuries in the past thousand years, warmer interglacials in the past million years…
        It is too cold, not too warm!
        And warmer is better and desirable, not a potential catastrophe to be feared.
        They sure made the lies big.
        Mystery is, how did so many come to buy them?

      • In fact over just the last billion years (beyond that is not relevant) both CO2 and Temperature have been significantly higher at least 90% of the time for CO2 and 95% of the time for Temperature.

  19. If global warming induced methane caused a climate tipping point then such would have happened during the previous interglacial period, the Eemian, which was warmer than the current interglacial period with more ice cap melting and higher sea levels. But such a tipping point was never encountered and the Eemian was followed by the last ice age. For at least the past 500 million years, the Earth’s climate has been stable enough for life to evolve. We are here.

  20. Hey. The Metane is already haunting us, but we have a helper in the ocean stratification. But when do this helper turn against us?
    Thank you for the link Richard Treadgold. “Methane may have less effect on the atmosphere than climate scientists fear. This research letter published in GRL last May”
    “”We are talking about 250 active methane seeps found at relatively shallow depths: 90 to 150 meters” says oceanographer Benedicte Ferré from CAGE.
    According to her, it is the sea itself that adds obstacles to methane emissions to the atmosphere in the summer. The weather is generally calm during summer, with little wind. This leads to stratification of the water column whereby layers of different density form, much like oil over water.
    This means there is no or low exchange of water masses between the surface layer and the layers below. A natural barrier occurs, acting as a ceiling, preventing the methane from reaching the surface.But this condition does not last forever: wind blowing over the ocean can mix these layers, causing this natural barrier to disappear. Thus the methane may break the surface and enter the atmosphere.”

  21. Faulty cause and effect. Clathrate dissociation is strongly favored by reduced pressures than increased temperatures. It was falling sea levels which caused the dissociation.

    The pressure stability makes for a negative feedback mechanism where continental glaciation drops sea level, releasing methane. Likewise, rising sea levels confer greater stability to clathrate deposits.

    • Yup.

      As I noted above, the epicontinental seas were receding in the Albian Age, last of the Early Cretaceous Epoch. Thus lower pressure is a reasonable hypothesis to explain the observations.

      It’s crazy that there is no Middle Cretaceous Epoch, since the ages in its middle are distinctive, and the Period is longer than the Triassic and Jurassic, both of which do have three epochs. Divvying up equally the 12 Cretaceous ages into three epochs of four ages each would actually work pretty well.

      There was an ocean anoxic event in the early Aptian Age, so it’s a prime candidate for first age of a Middle Cretaceous Epoch. Another one occurred during the Turonian, when ichthyosaurs died off, so it makes a natural break between Middle and Late Cretaceous Epochs.

      The mid-Cretaceous was even warmer than earlier and later in the period.

      • Not hypothetical. Cause and effect. Methane clathrate differs from ice in density in that void space is filled with methane so it is negatively buoyant. So it exists with thermocline protection. Furthermore, biogenic methane clathrate is formed beneath mud, reducing convective effects. Yes, it can drift but thermodynamics moves it to more stable regions. I’ve seen it creep down pipes, just keeping ahead of thermal dissociation regions and still obstructing flow. Methane clathrates are major concern in natural gas pipelines and as such, flow assurance has studied the properties extensively. The fastest solution to obstruction is reduction of pressure and chemical (alcohol and or glycol). Heat is worthless.

  22. From the GEOLOGICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA Boulder, Colo., USA: Cretaceous climate warming led to a significant methane release from the seafloor, indicating potential for similar destabilization of gas hydrates under modern global warming.


    “Gas Hydrate Breakdown Unlikely to Cause Massive Greenhouse Gas Release”

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

    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…

  23. As part of this work, Krista Williscroft, Stephen Grasby, and colleagues intended to reinvestigate strange spaghetti-like rock that was noticed, but the origin not understood, during the first geologic mapping of the island in the 1970s.

    What a co-incidence. The future history books editors will have ample of material to illustrate the modern anthropocentric era.

  24. In fiction, there’s John Barnes’ SF book “Mother of Storms”, about the effects when a man-made incident releases huge amounts of methane from Arctic clathrates. The result is a permanent hurricane that spins off ‘daughters’. I’m not sure just how improbable that is, but it’s a good read!

  25. And what about the massive amounts of Methane leaking into the atmosphere between Venezuela and the Caribbean where the thunderstorms cause spectacular fireworks above these leaks.

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